Halloween in the Outer Banks

Back in the land of everlasting wind.

From Virginia Beach we drifted south, making the short drive down to Oregon Inlet in the Outer Banks. Our plan was to spend a couple of weeks there, visit friends, get some time at the beach, and then head to Ocracoke for Thanksgiving. It was pretty good plan, but it didn’t work out that way. So it goes.

We arrived on a nearly perfect day at the end of October — sunshine, clear skies, hardly any wind.

The first week we were there the days were in the 70s, the nights cooling off to the low 50s, which is perfect temps for living on grid in the bus. Although there are some electric sites at Oregon Inlet, we’ve never felt the need for them. There’s plenty of sunshine for our solar (no trees) and we prefer to the non-electric sites backed up against the dunes, a short walk from the bus to the shore.

We got plenty of time in at the beach that first week. We went seining again with our friend Val (the main reason we came back here was to see friends we made on our last trip), and went bird watching around Pea Island.

It wasn’t long after we arrived in the Outer Banks before Halloween rolled around. In our family Halloween has always been a big holiday. This year Elliott spent hours designing and then building out his own green demon costume. I would take no outside assistance.

But something has changed about Halloween. The Halloween vibe has shifted from the kind of playful, mock-scary decorations of the past, to an overabundance of plastic horror movie stage props. I read somewhere that ticket sales of horror movies correlate closely with several economic indexes — as the economy gets worse, horror movies get more popular.

I’m no economist, but this makes sense to me. As the world gets genuinely scary, our fantasy worlds have to up the “scary” tropes to continue to offer an escape. I think this plays out in Halloween decorations too. The change in the Halloween vibe has really accelerated over the last two years as the economy has cratered. Neighborhoods decorated with dismembered body parts says a lot about the quality of life in them I fear.

Whatever the case, our kids are not fans of the horror movie vibe, so we decided to head the Elizabethan Gardens, which had a Halloween festival and trick or treating setup the weekend before the holiday.

Halloween at the Elizabethian Gardens photographed by luxagraf
I have no idea why this picture ended up like this, but it’s kind of fun.
Halloween at the Elizabethan Gardens photographed by luxagraf

It was one of many local events we’ve ended up at over the years where after about half an hour we realize we’re the only ones there that don’t know everyone. I rather like it when we parachute into someone else’s world for a few hours, and everyone was very kind and welcoming. Although I did have to explain to the kids there was no way they were going to win the costume contest, which was decided by popular vote. Outsiders don’t win popular votes. They had fun though, and loaded up on candy, which, let’s face it, is the important part of Halloween.

Corrinne was complaining to another friend about the whole horror movie Halloween thing, and she told us to come to her neighborhood, which was suitably old school and not into the horror movie thing. This turned out to be true, so the kids got to go trick or treating in peace after all. It really was an old school neighborhood, pretty much just like being back in 1984 . Val joined us and we all wandered around for a few hours, gathering candy from strangers, as you do on Halloween.


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