Growing pains are a good thing

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

You can't please all of the people all of the time, and the sooner everyone realizes this, the more they'll have to complain about. Fact of life. Put a Ten Commandments in the judicial building, and someone will be displeased. Take it out, and, oh, boy, will somebody be displeased. Try to make positive changes within an established organization, and someone will be displeased. Try to set up your own similar organization when your attempts to reform the old one are thwarted, and you may find yourself on a Diet of Worms. (Sorry - a bit of Lutheran humor there, in honor of Reformation Sunday.)

The Halloween festivities on the Square are an excellent example of this. This is a relatively young event, with new things added every year, changes changing more, alterations being altered. It's like getting a new puppy. What

great idea - but what about when she chews on the slippers or barks all day? It's simple, really, You make the changes to try and stop the behavior, but you also give that new puppy, or new idea, a little time to get acclimated, to grow into its potential.

I can't speak for other parents, but comparing this year's Halloween on the Square to last year's, I saw definite improvements. Yes, there were some long lines and some waits, but when you put thousands of people in one place, that's going to happen. I was kind of glad for the slow lines - my 4-year-old didn't tire out as quickly and he was easily entertained by the carnival atmosphere of costumes, glow-necklaces and music. (Which was fantastic, by the way.)

Maybe it's because last year, I didn't have my husband and my oldest son to help corral Ben and Buzz, but I didn't get as exhausted. Of course, they may because Terry did all the costuming and corralling himself while I played Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter with the camera. But still, it seemed to me the event progressed much more smoothly. It will never be as fun as creeping through the shadows to ring the doorbell, wondering if that scarecrow propped on the bench is real, or if there's a scary human hiding underneath the mask, but it is much safer and livelier. I saw some pretty tired kids at the end of the evening, but few who looked unhappy. (Parents, on the other hand…. )

One complaint was made about the scope of the festival - there needs to be more space to handle the crowd. Complaint or not, that's a good sign! How many other town festivals have that problem? And, for those who share that concern, know that it is in the planing stages. In a recent interview with Duke Smith, the assistant department head who coordinates the event, he mentioned the fact that he would like to see it expand all the way from Covington County Bank to Regions Bank. I myself would like to see

Pear Street fixed up to safety standards and used as a haunted alley for the older kids and grownups.

Spreading the festival out and dividing it up could solve another problem - age appropriate locations. Some of the costumes Thursday were startling, if not downright terrifying - to the smaller crowd. (I might be willing to pay money to make sure the one with the pop-out eyes and two-foot long tongue never appears again.)

But on the whole, I thought the evening went very well and I never cease to be astounded by the originality of the costumes and the stamina of children.