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When I was a kid in elementary school, Halloween was one of the most fun times of year. If the holiday fell on a week day, all the students would wear their costumes to school. Most of my teachers had Halloween parties of some kind, so you would spend most of the day playing games and eating candy.

Our school had a small media center, but it contained a wide variety of really unique storytelling LP's (vinyl records- yes, I'm old enough to remember those things). On Halloween, the students always wanted to hear a particular "ghost story" record. I don't remember the exact name of the lady featured on the album- I think her name was Jackie Laurence, or Jackie Taurence, or something similar. Anyway, those ghost stories scared us to death, but we had a lot of fun laughing at each other.

All day at school, I was really excited. You see, our whole family had big parties on Halloween night. There was an old workshop on the farm that Dad used when repairing/servicing our tractors. On Halloween, he would put away all the tools while mom swept the floor & put-up the decorations. When sunset came, that old shop was filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and friends. We would bob for apples, roast hot dogs, toast marshmallows, play games, tell ghost stories, and all kinds of stuff.

Of course, the highlight of the evening was the hayride. Dad would load up the ton truck with hay, and all of the kids would pile-up in the back. And away we went into the dark, for adventures unknown. Some years, the ride was really chilly. Some years, it was really warm. But it was always fun.

October is an odd month for weather in North Carolina. For starters, it's one of the driest months of the year around here. We usually only average a little over 3 inches of rain in Wilmington. Yet, October just happens to be the only month we ever officially recorded a Category 4 hurricane ("Hazel", 1954). October is usually cool, with an average high of 74 degrees. But there have been several years with highs in the 90's. We usually think of deep blue skies in October, but there have been instances of significant tornadoes as far back as the 1950's.

Remember- October is the beginning of a transitional period. The atmosphere is in the process of shifting from the heat of the summer to the cold of winter. The jet stream becomes more active, and storm system are constantly on the move. This gives us a constantly changing landscape of weather all across the country. And if you think October's weather is odd, just hang-on. November can be just as unpredictable.


By: Jerry Jackson