Saturday morning the Gabber hosted our first-ever Halloweendows, a Halloween art painting contest for kids. If you stroll downtown between now and Monday, November 2, you’ll see artwork adorning some local shops.
This event, suggested by my brimming-with-ideas mom, who took me to a similar sort of thing some (coughs) years ago in Port Chester, New York, offered something free for kids to do – and something that let them express their creativity. Because of COVID-19, we placed kids from different family groups at different windows, but other than that, Halloweendows looked like it could have happened in non-pandemic times (and, hopefully, what it will look like next year.)
We didn’t know what we’d get in terms of young artists, but I can tell you this: Every one of our participants painted something better than I could have. Every kid did a great job. One of my favorites? Four-year-old Jamie Spoth’s abstraction on the Florida panther. When I asked his mom how it tied into Halloween, she didn’t miss a beat: “What happened to the Florida panther is pretty scary.” I applaud – and second – his angst.
Speaking of angst… In the coming days, we’ll move from socially distanced trick-or-treating and dressing our dachshunds in mermaid costumes (apologies in advance to Calypso), to election night. Or, most probably, a month of election angst. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I know this, though: Whether you’re Team Trump or Team Biden, you’re scared. You’re angry. You’re exhausted. You feel like everything you love about America and your way of life hangs in the balance of this election.
I feel all those things. We’ve become tribal in our positions, but I believe we can take comfort in our community. Gulfport Votes 100% has a ComeUnity nonpartisan election celebration in the Village Courtyard on Election night, and the Gulfport Merchants Chamber has a First Friday Art Walk a few days later. You’ll have plenty of chances after the election to feel good about something. On Wednesday morning, the lawn signs and flags will come down, and we’ll turn our thoughts to happier things. Your neighbor will still be your neighbor, our sunsets will still blow you away, and we’re still the sort of place where small businesses let kids paint pumpkins and panthers on their windows.