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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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Wave Your Antennae in the Air!
All through out the World Fantasy Convention, people kept asking me: why are you leaving so early on Sunday?

And I said: because my island does Halloween like crazy, and I've never gotten to go.

And they were like whatever, because it didn't sound particularly awesome when set next to a convention of cool kids.

To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect, but I knew I had to be there. One couple does a super-elaborate themed house every year and everyone talks about it. The theme is always secret until the day of, and much speculation buzzes over it. This year it was common wisdom that they could never outdo last year, which featured candy vs. teeth--a bloody dentist chair, a full "holy molar" gospel choir, pro-candy protesters...we could not miss this year.

We raced home and jumped into costumes as soon as we could, running down to the Lions' Club first, which also does a haunted house. It was dark, and that was when I first realized things were...different here.

Because in every other town I've been in in the last many years, kids are no longer allowed to trick or treat after dark. The cities have municipal trick or treating hours, and everyone has to be inside by full dark. For their safety, obviously.

But here, it was pitch black and starry and windy and all the kids were out. In the most amazing costumes--there was a trio of 12 year old girls dressed as WWI soldiers, and an 8 year old Athena in full battle gear. Every shop had their doors open and candy out (and flashing electric necklaces, which will be important later). At the Lions' Club, there was a pumpkin path leading to the haunted house--which was actually scary. No toning it down for kids. Arms and legs and lobsters in a boiling pot, a dead miner predicting our deaths, an old woman guarding a withered skeleton who would not let us leave until we paid her tribute. And the kids? Went back again and again, thrilled and excited, like you're supposed to be on Halloween.

And then we walked up the hill to the House in Question. We heard music, and for a moment I thought: aw, man, they've done a dumb disco theme. Sigh.

And then we saw it. A HUGE lighted disco floor, yes--with an enormous sign over it that read ROBO A GO GO.

The lawn was covered with giant robots.

One reached out a clamp-hand to me with candy in it and said in a digital voice-converter tone: YOUR LIGHTS ARE VERY ATTRACTIVE PLEASE TAKE CANDY. (Remember the flashing electric necklace?)

There was an Elvis-bot, a broken-heart bot, a ROBOT MONKEY DJ, a robot with a digital readout on his chest that said HEY BABY, dry ice and disco balls and even a dog dressed as a robot...so many robots! All in incredibly elaborate high-tech costumes, all dancing like mad to robot-themed music. There were robot pumpkins with orange lights in their mouths, silver arms waving in the air, and the priceless sight of a tiny fairy princess reaching up worriedly to touch a giant robo-hand. I have seriously never seen anything like this, how loud and bright and awesome, how much joy and crazy commitment to a holiday.

To understand what this really meant to us you have to know that sometimes we feel a little at sea on the island. As much as we love it and are happy here, there are not so many geeks or people of our particular interests around. We make weird jokes sometimes and have this whole SF culture we're part of that most everyone we know here is not. And to come up over a hill and see a throng of robots beeping and bumping and grinding and being just so gorgeous--it made my heart sing. What extraordinary chance that this was the theme on our first year at home for Halloween.

It was real Halloween. Like it never seems to be anymore. Scary and dark and balls-out and crazy. (Some of the kids were definitely alarmed by the pretty damn realistic robots) I would have killed to dance with robots as a kid on Halloween. And this year, I got to. My sleepy little island can rock the fuck out when it wants to. It is really the best place ever.

And that's why I had to leave early.

A couple of pics under the cut. A little dark, but what can you do.

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Nope. Especially west coast and midwest, I've found.

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