The weekend weather was mild. It allowed for plenty of outdoor work to get done. Our foliage is at the peak of color and leaves are beginning to fall rapidly. Scarecrows and pumpkins dot the landscape these days in all parts of town. Remember to avoid confusion — please be mindful that at two o’clock next Sunday morning, Nov. 4, we will return to Eastern Standard Time and the days will grow dramatically shorter.

On Wednesday night we celebrate Halloween. Its origin dates back at least 2,000 years to an ancient Celtic festival. The American tradition of trick or treat dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. Poor people would beg for food and were given pastries called soul cakes. By the 1920s Halloween had become a community holiday with parades and town-wide parties. Today we spend an estimated $6.9 billion on the holiday annually, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.

The annual Halloween party sponsored by the West Tisbury parks and recreation committee will be held Wednesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at the agricultural hall. There will be lots of refreshments, games, a costume parade and spooky hayrides. For further information, please call 508-696-0147. Also, the library’s annual Halloween party (please come in costume) is on Oct. 31 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. It will be held at the Grange Hall this year because they are about to commence a year-long remodeling project with the current library building.

The annual fall scarecrow festival is here and scarecrows have sprung up all over the Island! In return for making a donation to the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, Island businesses get a scarecrow erected in front of their stores. Over 75 scarecrows can be seen around the Island through Oct. 31. Take a tour by downloading a full list from the school’s website at

Tara Whiting, town clerk, reports that the absentee ballot requests have kept her busy and early voting has been brisk. So be sure to vote at the town hall if you are not going to be available on Nov. 6. You can call her during normal business hours at the town hall.

Sig Van Rann of Music street reports that he and his wife, Susan Dickler, are traveling back and forth to the apartment in New York city. Sig’s daughter Sofia is now in Thailand teaching at a private school. His son Jackson is back in school in California and is recovering from a serious eye infection. Sig recently flew out to visit with him. Susan has been elected chairperson of an international women’s reproductive health organization called Provide.

Tara Whiting reports that the Martha’s Vineyard Horse Council will be holding their Hunter Pace competition in the state forest tomorrow. If you have any questions, contact

Lynn Ditchfield of Adult and Community Education (ACE MV) reports that on Tuesday, Oct. 30 there is a bird identification class with Robert Culbert at 6:30 p.m. at the high school in room 514, as well as a three-class seminar on healthcare reform with Grace C. Sullivan, D.N.Sc.

David Farber reports that the annual Minnesingers Auction and Mini-Concert at Farm Neck Café will be held tonight. The silent auction begins at 6:30 p.m. and the concert and live auction begin at 8 p.m. There will be hors d’oeuvres, dessert and cash bar. Cost is $25. Also, something new this year is the ability to preview and bid on selected auction items online at

When you are in or near the woods these days remember that the archery season for deer is into its second week. John Varconda, manager of the Manuel Correllus State Forest, would like to remind people who enter the forest to wear brightly-colored clothing to be on the safe side. Be extra careful when driving, as deer are apt to cross the road day or night at one of their favorite crossings. As Halloween is nearly upon us, let me remind you of the biggest spoof accidentally played on the public. It was the famous 1938 radio broadcast of Orson Welles’ dramatization of the H.G. Wells tale War of the Worlds. Anyone who was listening to the program Mercury Theatre of the Air on CBS radio that evening was horrified and genuinely scared by the news of an invasion from Mars. Covered by live reports, the latest technology, this dovetailed with the fact that we were also increasingly concerned about the growing crisis in Europe covered by the nightly transatlantic radio reports from CBS correspondents Edward R. Murrow in London and William L. Shirer in Berlin. The headline on page one of the New York Times the following morning read: Radio Listeners in Panic Taking War Drama as Fact. If, however, that Sunday evening you were listening to the program that was broadcast over the NBC radio network, you knew nothing about “the invasion” and enjoyed their weekly program.

So what was the name of that comedy show that featured a wooden man and was sponsored by Chase and Sanborn coffee? In his diary, Frank Adams listed it as one of his favorites. Toni Kurash, down in New York city, and Diane Smith, in Boston, knew the answer immediately. They also included the time of the weekly broadcast and sent it to me via computer, since they receive an early copy of my column.

Happy birthday to Sid Counsell, Sarah Bergeron, Glenn Hearn and Maureen Fisher today; to Barbara Child and Crystal Parrot tomorrow; to Brian Alwardt on Sunday; to Fran Finnegan, Oceana Rames and Joe Capobianco on Monday; to John Bugbee, John Adams, and Lisa Epstein on Tuesday; to Adam Church and Laura Entner on Wednesday; and to George French, Hermine Hull, Coco Brown and Laurie Larson on Thursday. Belated birthday greetings to Stephanie Fesko, Sandy Hill and Hunter Moorman.

Well, that is all of the social news for this week’s column. If you have any news, please call or email me. Happy Halloween, everyone!