Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Haunt Theory: Leaves

It's amazing the amount of time throughout the year I spend worrying about leaves. The weeks before Halloween are particularly stressful. Studying the trees and whining about how they aren't dropping their leaves quick enough. Or worrying about those giant wind/rain storms in the Fall that seem to make leaves magically disappear all at once.

In the years I lived in an apartment, I'd actually resort to stealing bags of leaves left at the curb of homes with leafy properties. I'm sure the homeowners wouldn't mind, but it always felt wrong and I always ended up taking them after the sun had gone down. Last year I troubled a coworker for her leaves - showing up at her house on a Saturday to rake up delightfully-huge leaves from massive elm trees in her backyard. I joked that I'd return them after Halloween (and I totally should have done that).

Initially used just to cover the bases of my groundbreakers, the leaves would eventually blow across the path leading up to the porch. The atmosphere achieved was pretty remarkable. Not only did it look neat and creepy, but the sound of the crunching leaves was as important as any prop or pumpkin. Since then, I cover the walkway entirely with leaves. There are moments when a scared child hesitates at the end of the walk looking up into the darkness at a motionless Michael Myers. They pause and then slowly approach me for their candy. They shuffle through the leaves. That old parchment scraping sound is pretty fantastic.

Hardly any leaves remain in this shot taken at the end of a long night.

9 comments:

Grim said...

Cool post, they do add a lot to the atmosphere. My yard doesn't get many leaves in it since we don't have any trees in the front, and the leaves that fall in the back yard usually blow back into the woods. I had often thought about "importing" some leaves myself, but haven't gotten around to doing that yet.

Rot said...

Every year I pretend I forgot to rake up the leaves and my old man ends up doing it after I leave for home. This past Halloween he TOLD me to do it myself. : )

Crusty old man.

Bones said...

It really does add to the atmosphere. I can't wait to have a house with a lawn for me not to rake.

That and to tell kids to stay off of it.

Shellhawk said...

My leaves stayed on the tree for far too long this year, and when they did fall, they were too damp. I'll have to get some from the nature area and dry them out. My husband will give me THAT LOOK over that, I'm sure!

JHMDF said...

Hehehe, I had a feeling you went in stole leaves. That makes it even better! I use Spanish moss down hear in Florida....I hang it from all the bushes and trees, put a little on the graves....just to give it a more aged look. Luckily my parents house has 2 trees that are covered in it so I just grab what I need!

jay's shadow said...

i have three maple trees in my back yard(plus the neighbors trees) if anybody would like to come and rake and take my leaves, be my guest!!

The Captain said...

I've been scoping out some trees where my wife works for next year, fall comes late in Florida but these trees had dropped before Halloween in 08.

Crusty old man. LOL!

Otaku said...

I don't have any large leafy trees in my yard, so I get maple leaves from a friend each year. I now have about 15 bags that I re-use each year - they last a long time. I spread them out on the yard and driveway and sweep them up after the festivities are over. It's kind of a pain, but worth every crunchy footstep.

Jo said...

I live in an apt. bldg. and fortunately have a park right across the street for leaves but '08 was the 1st time I thought of using them. I too totally should have taken them back and will next year!