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Throngs of One Kind or Another

By Staff | Nov 4, 2010

In just two short days we went from the frivolity of Halloween to the seriousness of Election Day. I participated in both events and it was interesting to watch two uniquely American traditions unfold before me.

On Sunday night, our boys donned their Halloween costumes-Alex was the exterminator Dale Gribble from “King of the Hill” and Jacob was a furry little monkey-and we toted them about town to trick-or-treat at the homes of friends and neighbors. The weather was perfect for a late autumn evening–no wind, no rain, and comfortably cool. What more could you ask for?

While driving north up Superior Street, we ran into a literal traffic jam. Mini vans and SUVs lined both sides of the street, and throngs of costumed kids poured out of them, marching from house to house begging for candy. There were kids of all ages everywhere! In my life, I had never seen so many trick-or-treaters in one place. It made me wish that I were a child on the hunt for candy again-almost.

Another kind of throng was witnessed outside the Auditor’s Office at the Palo Alto Courthouse on Tuesday evening, Election Night. As the results from each precinct’s voting came in, County Auditor Gary Leonard would come into the hallway to post the printouts on the wall. Each time Gary approached the wall with a fresh copy of the results, he would be descended upon by a mass of eager information gatherers.

I heard someone mention that watching the public clamor for poll results was like observing hyenas fall upon a tasty carcass. OK, it wasn’t that graphic, but it was entertaining to watch.

Now, if we could somehow combine Election Day with Halloween. I envision a mob of costumed zombies, princesses, and tigers gathering en masse at the courthouse. Wouldn’t that be something to see, and report on?