I can’t believe I went so many years without realizing that Carson’s hot happening hotspot for Halloween was right here, a few blocks away from my office. We first found out about it last year, and we had so much fun that I think it’s going to be our Halloween tradition every year until we move out of the area.
I’m talking about spending Halloween night trick-or-treating on the west side of Carson, on the few blocks surrounding the Governor’s Mansion. Everyone in this neighborhood gets into a festive mood, and as you walk down the street you find that house after house has decorated their yards. The great thing about this neighborhood is that it’s not just one or two houses that put up decorations. All along Mountain Street and down Robinson, just about every house has done something. Most of them have set up graveyards along the front walk. Some of them have costumed characters running around. Some of them are brightly lit and colorful. Some are dark and spooky, with fog blowing around the trees. One house was completely bathed in an eerie green light, with lumbering monsters pacing back and forth across the yard while recorded creaks and moans played on the speakers. I noticed that only the bravest kids were making the trek up to the porch to get their candy. Many others were gathered in a semicircle out in the street, trying to build up the courage to approach.
The crown jewel on Halloween, of course, is the Governor’s Mansion. The mansion has the most elaborate decorations, and attracts the biggest crowds. It blares music across the neighborhood and has dancers along the sidewalk doing the polka and the two-step. And each year the governor himself stands on the front steps of the mansion, handing out candy and posing for photos with the kids. It may not sound like the most thrilling way to spend Halloween, but there is always a line several hundred people deep snaking around the driveway. Last year we braved the line, and it took us nearly an hour to finally get to the front steps. Check out the article I wrote last year about that experience. Once was enough, so we skipped the mansion this year.
But it’s not all about the Governor. The mansion sets a festive mood and brings in hundreds of families, and that holiday spirit has spread to the streets and houses surrounding the mansion. Right across the street, at the Bliss Mansion, the entire house is decorated. Ghouls hang from the porch, skeletons golf on the lawn, and Beelzebub himself tries to burst out of the flower garden. One of the goblins in the graveyard even looks suspiciously like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Further down Robinson Street there are two more houses that get into the Halloween spirit. One house transformed itself into “Mt. Cyanide Hospital”, with a “Life-O-Suction” station, “Beast Augmentation Department”, a Blood Bank, and Nurse Hatchet on staff. I have pictures of all that below. And of course there’s a lively graveyard on the side of the house, complete with little goblins that hide behind the fence and jump out at unsuspecting children. And right next door, the Governor Jones house is similarly decorated, with bats, skeletons, ghouls and goblins. Most of the figures on the grounds are just statues, but every now and then one of them comes to life and tries to grab you.
The whole atmosphere of this neighborhood on Halloween is just perfect. There are kids and families running around everywhere. There is always one more house a little bit further down the street with some decorations that catch your eye and make you want to keep going. Everyone is sitting out on their porch, handing out candy. Even at the houses that aren’t decorated. And the best part is that it was kind of warm for Halloween this year, so we didn’t have to fight the frigid cold to go out there.
I don’t think we’re ever going to go trick-or-treating anywhere else. After we were done, we drove through a few other neighborhoods on our way home. And they were all so cold and uninviting. No decorations, nobody on the porch, just a few kids wandering around and having to approach houses with closed doors and a single porch light. How depressing.
The thing about Halloween decorations is that it’s awesome to actually be there, in person, and see them all lit up in spooky living color. But they don’t photograph well. Especially with my cheap little digicam. So that’s why I took a pre-Halloween tour of the neighborhood and snapped some daytime photos of the decorations. Let’s dive in.
Here’s some home video I took that night of the houses and the trick-or-treaters. It starts out at the Governor’s Mansion, then goes to the Bliss Mansion and some of the other houses in the neighborhood.