When a family tradition may end soon, it's time to go all out while the fun still lasts.
Kathy Showalter of Geneva feels that way about the Halloween decorations adorning her front lawn and home at 10 N. Northhampton Drive.
"We have been doing the yard since the kids were in elementary school at Fourth Street School, and my kids are now 38, 37 and 35," Showalter said of the family's fondness for Halloween fun.
"This is the first time I had the boys involved in helping put up the decorations," she said.
And it's good that they did. A little muscle power came in handy for the creation of a pirate ship made out of wooden pallets. From there, Kathy did much of the rest.
"I always put the skeletons and other characters together, and this year it is pretty awesome with the ship and all of the pirates in the yard," Showalter said.
So far, the display has been a showstopper, with several people stopping to take pictures or having their children or grandkids pose near the pirate ship.
"Last year, I did a Republican theme and had Trump out there in the yard, and that got a lot of traffic," Showalter added. "But this year seems to really be popular."
And it means something for Kathy and her husband Dean to have an exciting display this year, considering they cut their teeth in the "scary business" years ago by volunteering to be in charge of the haunted house at school fun fairs. Plus, the yard display's days may be numbered.
"I think next year may be my last year of doing it," Showalter said. "I am getting older now, and my girlfriend and I decided that maybe we would do a Golden Girls theme next year and call it a retirement party."
In the meantime, the display's location, which is near St. Peter school and church, brings a lot of traffic.
"We get a ton of trick-or-treaters each year, just a ton of them," Showalter said. "It's hard work setting up the display, but it is a lot of fun."
And she's a stickler for detail. Because her first career was as a hairdresser, Showalter has some "human-hair mannequins" as part of the display.
"They sort of wilt in the rain sometimes, so I have to go out there and fix them up," she said.
The Showalters have been in the house since 1982, never missing out on a chance to show off its Halloween glory.
"When it's all done, we take them apart, wash all of the clothes, fold up everything and put it in the attic," Showalter said of her routine. "This year's display is so good, we lit it up at night, and that makes it really fun."
And what better way to begin to phase out of the Halloween house decorating routine?
Those spooky sites:
On the topic of cool Halloween decorations, the Tri-Cities area is full of them. But one strip we enjoy each year is walking north along the Fox River trail from the Batavia Depot pond.
Along that walk, you'll spot great backyard decorations at a few homes that get you in the Halloween spirit with a few laughs.
Where else would you spot skeletons in a kayak, or on bikes or scooters?
Plus, there's a public service message of "Don't Text and Fly" with a witch on a broom suffering a face-plant on the side of a tree. But with her cellphone still in hand.
History shop makeover:
The St. Charles History Museum last week had a ribbon cutting and get together for its new gift shop -- The Curious Fox.
It's a great name for a gift shop in a museum, considering curiosity is at a peak when glancing over exhibits at a place that keeps a city's history front-of-mind.
The Curious Fox also introduces a new logo and products to the museum's St. Charles-branded merchandise. The shop will have pillows, blankets, T-shirts and other garments, as well as locally produced honey and salsa products.
The gift shop has long been known for its St. Charles ornaments, glasses, crocks, postcards and other items.
All of proceeds from gift shop sales support the museum, 215 E. Main St.
Some divine intervention:
The concept of praying that those in all branches of our government and public safety work for the common good and display trust and cooperation certainly has some merit these days.
With that in mind, the timing for the eighth annual Red Mass at St. Peter Catholic Church in Geneva couldn't be better.
The Mass, held each year to seek some divine intervention and guidance for public officials, lawyers, judges and others, will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct, 24, at the church on Kaneville Road.
People of all faiths are invited to attend.
Geneva, Cougars make grade:
An outfit called SmartAsset's, which does polling on various financial and lifestyle topics, is saying that Geneva ranks fifth in the country among minor league baseball towns.
Those of us who have been to Kane County Cougars' games since 1991 and have watched the team, stadium complex and fan entertainment improve and expand over the years are not the least bit surprised by such a lofty status.
But baseball is not the only metric in these surveys. They take into account the quality of life in the region, the employment and crime rates, and household incomes.
Geneva did well on all accounts.