Harrison, 11, Decorates His Family’s Porch for Halloween

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ERICA REPORTING — Harrison is 11, and this is his front porch. He was not there when I stopped by. He was off running around in the neighborhood. But his mom, Julia, was there. She was putting the finishing touches on their Halloween-themed beauty.

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And just look at it! It’s magnificent! My 10-year old son and I were walking the dogs late this afternoon and as we rounded the corner, we happily spied it, spiders and all. “Finally!” was my sons excited comment. For you see, this neighborhood waits for this porch to put on her Halloween costume all year long. And it’s October 11 already, so every day we keep staring at it, hoping it will have transformed between our last drive or walk by. Today, that secret wish came true, for “Hooray! It may be 89*F, but it is FALL!” Officially, it is really here.

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Quickly, I dropped off the dogs and my son back home and grabbed my camera and dashed over to introduce myself. Here is my reality, and perhaps yours: I didn’t know who lived here. Didn’t know anyone’s names, except Harrison, because Harrison knows everybody in this neighborhood. He is an organic part of it. In seven years, I had never been to this family’s home. Had never, to my knowledge, said hello to the adults, though I would often wave to Harrison as he and his friends walked to school. That is what happens in our modern world: busy, nice people often forget that we (and by this I mean “I” as well) can do more than just admire a fine porch. We can go over and introduce ourselves to our neighbor and say how much we admire and look forward to their pretty decorations each year.

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Julia is just great. We chatted for a good 20 minutes. She explaining how Harrison loved his front porch and especially wanted it decorated for Halloween and Christmas. For years, Harrison has had a say in the front porch holiday designs, and over time, it has grown into quite an amazing site. For the next several months, this thing of welcoming beauty, this front porch, will be admired by all who pass by. Julia brought me inside to see how the theme continues on the sideboard, and how they’ve tried, this family of four, to make their home a cozy space with bright, happy colors. It smells of warm wax and exotic flowers and has mellow wood throughout and unexpected nooks where people sit and gather and bond.

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I’m grateful for Harrison, and his mom, and big sister Allie Anne, who contributes to the artistry. Without his front porch, I probably would have never had the nerve to walk over and introduce myself. But it proved, over time, to be downright irresistible. And because it was there, I did walk up those front porch steps and a new friendship has begun.

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P.S. During the part of the year that is not Halloween season, the porch holds two comfy rocking chairs.

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