I met Jennifer Roberts, the mayor of Charlotte. I shook hands with the mayor of Charlotte. I conversed with the mayor of Charlotte. Juvenile, I know, but given the current political and social environment that is in Charlotte and the United States, it was definitely the highlight of my Halloween. And I’d only had one glass of wine, believe it or not. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s rewind.
My Halloween weekend in the Queen City was a bust. Not a bust in the sense that I secluded myself in the corner of my bed for the entire weekend, but in the sense that I didn’t decorate, dress up or really even celebrate one of my favorite holidays of the year.
If you’ve followed my column since the beginning, you may remember I’ve had some pretty epic Halloween adventures in Charlotte. Two years ago, a pretty large crew and I hit up Rich and Bennett’s 14th Annual Halloween Pub Crawl. Decked out in everything from Rosie the Riveter to The Addams Family, the day and night were filled with too much adventure — and drinks — to recount.
The year after that my parents joined in the on the festivities and they actually dressed up — makeup and all. They finally got to experience what it was like to party with their only daughter, and after Ubering home early, I think they would co-sign that they had a great time.
This year, however, nada. Don’t get me wrong, I still partied. I drank my fair share after a long day of work on Friday. Saturday, I went out with friends to celebrate one of my boyfriend’s friends’ birthdays. And on Sunday, I was uplifted at the Living No Lye Tour in Concord — an interactive series of workshops on all things healthy hair — on behalf of Revolution Ego.
Nevertheless, on Monday, after working eight hours behind a desk and a “spooky potluck” with co-workers, I felt unfulfilled. All weekend I’d talked to friends about rumors of “The Great Elizabeth Pumpkin Wall.”
Apparently, it’s a popular tradition for volunteers in the area to build a wooden wall and decorate it with pumpkins carved by members of the community. Over the years, it’s captivating beauty and political messages have drawn Charlotteans time and time again. (And even sparked controversy from what I hear. Enough so that the wall was allegedly set afire according to a volunteer I overheard chatting with visitors.) Politics and pumpkins? I had to see it.
Even though I was bummed that a few of my friends had already witnessed the beauty of the wall — as well as every person following one of the many highly popular Charlotte Instagram pages — I forced myself to make the trek on my own. And boy was it a trek.
After taking a wrong turn, walking almost a mile in the wrong direction and straining a calf muscle, I decided to take an Uber. Four minutes later, I was standing in front of a beautifully-lit wall of pumpkins featuring the word, “Evolve.” It was so breathtaking, and I was so tired, that I decided to sit and take it all in.
A few minutes later, I heard the same volunteer — who seemed to have a large hand in the creation of the wall — announce, “The Mayor, everybody!” I’d already missed out on an opportunity to chat with the knowledgeable spokesman as he scurried off to open the street back up, so I wasn’t going to miss out on this.
After contemplating what I would say to her, I decided to just walk up, shake her hand and introduce myself. I bet you’re wondering if I asked her about the upcoming election? Her thoughts on social issues and tensions in Charlotte? The most important issues for us to tackle in the Queen City? Nope. I know, I know, an amateur writer’s faux pas right?
I thought to myself, “If I were her, at a beautiful pumpkin wall, with my husband on Halloween, would I want to talk politics?” Hell no. So I kept it simple, I told her I write for Creative Loafing. Then, we chatted about her receiving the Best of Charlotte award for “Best Member of Government” and I told her about my blunder on my way to check out the wall.
The big question I asked? “In the spirit of Halloween, if you were a candy, what candy would you be?” She laughed and responded, “Well, it would have to be healthy...some kind of fruit...or maybe, dark chocolate covered coffee beans.” Not my first or second choice, Jenn (can I call you Jenn?), but, I loved that you were willing to play along and chat with me in such a casual way. We’ll talk about politics and social issues next time.
So there’s that. Now I’m home, eating leftover purple potluck spaghetti, streaming Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
on Netflix, while Hocus Pocus
is in the DVD player. Talk about a great end to a Halloween weekend!