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The nightmare before Christmas

Tannis Kowalchuk was on hand to greet Pumpkin Fest visitors at the tenth annual party in Barryville, NY.

October 11, 2012

It’s no secret that winter is on the horizon. I don’t know about city folk, but here in the Upper Delaware River valley, we see the telltale signs everywhere. There has already been frost on the pumpkins, and squirrels are madly foraging for the abundance of acorns dotting the landscape this year—a sure sign that we had all better prepare to hunker down. Knowing the answer, I still visited the “country bible” at, which did not allay my fears.

Having moved just two short months ago, I’m a bit frightened by my lack of preparation. With storm windows, shovels and still-missing scarves on my mind, I’m trying not to panic and to enjoy Halloween (my favorite holiday), autumn and all that precedes Jack Frost (and his girlfriend, Suzy Snowflake) knockin’ on the window sill. With harvest festivals giving way to haunted mansions, I’m scratching my (still hairless) head, determined to conjure up a good costume for the plethora of parties looming on the horizon. Last Saturday, Dharma and I spent the day celebrating with friends and neighbors at the 10th annual Pumpkin Fest in Barryville, NY (, where folks turned out to enjoy the music, food and contests.

Thankfully, Halloween is not just for kids, and although I wasn’t in costume, there were plenty of adults who were, parading about in fall finery and competing in separate categories for prizes with the adorable kids. Trophies were awarded for best doggy attire (a pig won!), Jack O’ Lanterns, decorated stalls and the requisite pie-eating frenzy (pumpkin, of course). Everyone had a ball and The River Reporter’s photo booth was a popular destination, where one could have a souvenir picture taken—a shot of one’s self on the front page. To view this photo album, visit where you can tag and share the pics with your pals.