Monday, October 31, 2011

PGH's Best Night of the Year: The Bloomfield Halloween Parade

Let me tell you about the best night of the year. It's the Thursday before Halloween. It's a parade that takes place AT NIGHT along Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield. It's a Halloween parade, and it is the best thing. Best thing. You can drink on the street. You can chant. You can cheer. You can have all the fun.

Because I'm writing this on Sunday night at 10:45 p.m., don't expect much from me in terms of thrilling summaries of the festivities. I do offer up some shoddy photos of some of the best moments from the parade. Enjoy!

The beginning of the parade: Scottish bagpipers.

Neighborhood children walking the parade.

This was undoubtedly one of the most amazing moments of the night. A karate group marched down the street and one of the kids BROKE THIS BOARD BY DOING A FLYING KARATE KICK. Amazing.

Old people playing the Steelers Polka down the street.

FROWNIE (The saddest excuse for a mascot costume ever.)

This - everything about this - was just odd.

Tiny truck! Tiny truck!

Ummm. Everything about this is Wrong. Capital "W" - Wrong.

Some nice cultural dancing!

The Pirate Parrot, shortly before this was taken he flashed us and then gyrated suggestively.

Cousin Mike with McGruff the Crime Dog.

Awesome yinzer lady saluting the Civil War re-enactors after they fired their very loud and smoky guns.

Me & Cousin Mike (It was his first time at the parade!)

The Steel City Angels. No further explanation needed.

The North Allegheny marching band KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. They played the Halloween (movie) theme and danced around like crazy. Loved this band.

At the end of the night, Mike and I were walking toward Angelo's to pick up pizzas and Steeley McBeam was walking in front of us. We asked him for a picture and then asked the drunkest yinzer lady on Liberty to take it for us. After a couple minutes of her not being able to figure out the camera on my phone and of Steeley leaning over and whispering funny things about the drunk yinzer lady, our friend Carrie came along and took the picture for us.

And now, we wait. We wait another 365 days for 2012's Bloomfield Halloween Parade. Sigh.

Halloween 2011 was a grand success. Thanks to all who were involved!

Night Creatures Calling, the Dead Start to Walk in their Masquerade: Pittsburgh Halloween 2011, Vol. 5

The final set of Pittsburgh Halloween decorations. Already so sad this holiday is coming to a close.

Not sure I'm OK with this, but it's Bloomfield - a.k.a. the land where anything goes.

At least this hanging creature is obviously not a real body. Good work, Lawrenceville.

Another tactfully decorated front porch in Lawrenceville.

I think this person was using their Halloween decorations as a makeshift gate? Either way, good collection of creepy stuff here. Again, in Lawrenceville.

That's it for Halloween decorations, but check back around 3 p.m. today when I recap the city's best yearly event:


Little Dead are Out in Droves: Pittsburgh Halloween 2011, Vol. 4


The best day of the year. Have you recovered from the weekend's festivities? I'm writing this on the Tuesday before Halloween, but I expect I am a few things: tired, exhausted, and sad that after today there is a whole year before NEXT Halloween.

Today is another barrage of Halloween in Pittsburgh posts.
Coming up at 3 p.m. I will recap the madness and awesomeness that is the Bloomfield Halloween Parade (i.e., the best annual event in Pittsburgh). Until then, enjoy some more pictures of decorations.

Above and below: terrifying porches in Lawrenceville.

A+++++ to whoever put these creeeeeepy hanging disgusting clowns in this tree on a street in Lawrenceville.

Great window decorations in Lawrenceville.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Ghouls All Came from their Humble Abodes: Pittsburgh Halloween 2011, Vol. 3

Today's final installment of Halloween in Pittsburgh!

A classic cemetery shot is necessary during Halloween. So many reasons to love living near the Allegheny Cemetery.

Someone who hates fun, and someone who loves fun in Bloomfield.

I went to Lou's on Liberty in Bloomfield for the first time and it was COVERED in Halloween goodness. This may have skyrocketed to the top of my favorite bars list in Pittsburgh. I intend to make it a standard spot. The photo above and those below were all taken in Lou's.


If You've Had a Dose of a Freaky Ghost: Pittsburgh Halloween 2011, Vol. 2

More Pittsburgh Halloween decorations for your enjoyment!

Storefront window on Liberty in Bloomfield. (Two hundred thumbs up!)

Above and below: Halloween lights in Lawrenceville.

A festive window in Bloomfield.
(I took this picture with a flash accidentally and worried that the owners were going to come out of their house screaming at me. Thanks for being cool, homeowners, and not freaking out that someone was peeping in your windows!)

Pumpkins Scream in the Dead of the Night: Pittsburgh Halloween 2011, Vol. 1

Things you should know about me:
1. I love Pittsburgh.
2. I love Phil Collins.

Since I was a wee lil yinzer tot growing up in the South Hills, I have always loved Halloween. All other holidays took a back seat to the one night where dressing up as something ridiculous, going door to door around the neighborhood, and receiving FREE candy was accepted and expected. My brother and I would always try to last as long as we could walking up and down the streets of our neighborhood. But as our bags weighed us down with all the FREE candy, we would get tired and inevitably make our way back home to trade candies. (He always got my Snickers bars; I got his Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.) I trick-or-treated until I was well into college, only having given it up when I moved to Boston.

In the weeks leading up to October 31, nothing pleases me more than to walk around and see the gruesome (or just plain awesome) things people decorate their porches, doors, windows, and yards with. It makes me long for a front porch and a yard of my own one day. I will make a Halloween spectacle for the neighborhood to enjoy (or despise) and it will be wonderful.

Until then, I will wander the streets and take pictures of Halloween decorations of all shapes, sizes and arrangements. Be prepared for a barrage of these posts today and on Monday, Halloween proper.

There is a great story that accompanies the picture above. A few weekends ago, I left my phone at Winghart's after having too many beers with my dad and brother. Luckily, they found it and held it for me, but that meant I was phoneless the rest of the weekend and when I went to pick it up Monday at lunch it was dead dead dead. A coworker and I went and ate our lunches in the little park by the Grille on Seventh, which is right across the street from Tambellini's. Halfway through lunch I realized that Tambellini's was COVERED in Halloween decorations in a quite impressive display. But, a dead phone meant no pictures. The next day - THE VERY NEXT DAY - I was having lunch with my friend Andy and I asked him if we could walk past Tambellini's so I could take a picture of the decorations. When we got there, THE DECORATIONS WERE GONE. It looked like Tambellini's was boarded up for renovations and there was no trace of Halloween to be seen. Andy made fun of me; I got sad. Then as we were walking back, he pointed out that Blush had a Halloween decoration up, so above is what I had to settle for. Halloween bummer.

Bloomfield window pumpkins.

South Side Slopes skeleton wreath.

South Side Slopes skeleton fence and graves.

One of the most-decorated homes I came across in October, on the South Side.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Zombies Attack Market Square! Zombie Fest Pittsburgh 2011

When it comes to zombies, Pittsburgh is the authority on the subject. The master of the zombie film genre, George A. Romero went to Carnegie Mellon University and started his film career in Pittsburgh after graduation. If Wikipedia is to be believed, this is one of the best facts on the planet:
Romero attended Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating in 1960, he began his career shooting short films and commercials. One of his early commercial films, a segment for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in which Mr. Rogers underwent a tonsillectomy, inspired Romero to go into the horror film business.
My goodness. That is pure magic. (Another awesome Romero fact: he's got dual citizenship - United States AND Canada. Lucky bastard.)

Back to the point: Pittsburgh knows its zombies, and a few weekends ago Zombie Fest proved this to be true and accurate. The event was held in Market Square. It was a warm and bright fall day, so it was beyond strange and obviously awesome to watch the walking dead wander around downtown Pittsburgh. (In the days that followed, I would walk around during lunch and find blood splatters on the sidewalk - presumably from the zombies. At least, I hope from the zombies.) Some zombies had gone all-out and were particularly terrifying. I was only able to hang out around the undead for a little while, but I managed to snap some good shots of what a zombie apocalypse might resemble.

The zombies didn't freak me out, but this ridiculous-looking horse is going to give me nightmares for weeks.

As it happens, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, I'm ready. A few months ago I helped out my friend Eric by participating in a zombie self-defense course for a story he was writing. Check out the story here, and get yourself ready for the eventual onslaught of undead by looking into the services offered by Zomburgh.