Halloween is the national holiday of Austin

Austin, the nonesuch of Texas, is a virtual realm unto itself, and Halloween is its pre-eminent festival, observed by those of all ages. The parties have already begun; costumes have been seen on the streets in daylight; Electric Ladyland and Lucy in Disguise on South Congress are doing their best business of the year. Downtown is the locus of the extravagant displays and public parades of costumes, and revelers come from all over Texas to play, but Halloween has its more small-town aspects as well. The Parks Department hosts many events each year for the public at large, and neighborhoods use their own parks for small festivities. In Stacy Park, for example, there will be a potluck supper and a judged parade of costumes beginning at 4:30 on the day itself. Preliminary festivities include the small harvest festival on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Travis Heights Elementary School, complete with games, a raffle, food from the neighbors, and a costume contest. The neighborhood pumpkin patch brightens East Monroe just off South Congress right up to the day itself. It seems never to be without children and their attendant photographers, selecting the best backdrop among the heaps of potential jack-o’-lanterns. Fall decor may be cheaper at the supermarket, but acquiring pumpkins, gourds, and dried corn here supports the charitable efforts of this small congregation and also the Navajo agricultural enterprise that grows the pumpkins. Scary-oke, a cakewalk, and pets and humans of all ages in full costume will draw many South Austin neighbors to Jo’s Hot Coffee on Halloween from 6 to 9 p.m. What a holiday! What a town!

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