I always seem to miss San Francisco a little more during Halloween. We lived there for seven plus years, and once we had kids who were old enough to waddle, we got involved in the city’s fall festivities with a vengeance.
Now, most think of San Francisco and Halloween as another excuse for the bear cubs and leather daddies of the Castro District to don their wares and strut their stuff in yet another Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are Gay Pride Parade.
That’s true, btw, but that’s not the Halloween I remember. Mine had a lot less fairies and pixie dust, but a hell of a lot more magic.
We moved around a bit within the city, but spent the majority of our years in the Richmond District, and the best thing I could say about that neighborhood is the rents were ‘reasonable’ and the flats were huge – two characteristics which usually don’t happen in San Francisco. Other than that, it was fairly blasé…but everything in the city is so close, it never mattered much to us. What was pretty cool was that my relatively nondescript neighborhood bordered Seacliff – a neighborhood perched right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean directly overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Views worth killing over. With a price tag to match…Danny Glover and Robin Williams live there, to give you an idea of the kind of money it would take to get into that small enclave of cosmic heaven.
Anyway, the Seacliff kids used to have Halloween all to themselves until word got out that their lil’ slice of heaven gave out the BIG candy bars and glow-in-the-dark thingys. Just an FYI: Robin Williams always gave out the best stuff. Not him directly, of course, but two huge body guards named Thor or something like that.
So we would wander from house to house, all decorated to the hilt, with these twinkly lights hanging everywhere. And you’d look out onto the ocean and see the Golden Gate Bridge all lit up. It would take my breath away, it was so gorgeous. I wish I had a picture to show you what I saw, but nothing I found on the internet does it justice.
I felt completely at home in San Francisco and it were moments like that I would thank the Universe quietly to myself for giving me the opportunity to live there. I miss it, I do. But I also know that so much of what I loved about San Fran was an illusion, or at least out of reach for us…it was just too expensive, too cumbersome for daily family life with two kids. I used to say you couldn’t leave your house without some how, some way spending at least $100. Whether it was for food or another goddamn parking ticket or something or another. It wore you down after a while.
But Halloween in San Francisco, at least, was always free. And that I’ll always remember fondly.