October 28 2020 Edition
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By the Way
On a fall night a few years ago the Clark Art Institute celebrated Halloween with flashlight tag. Imagine running up Stone Hill in the dark ... it brings back memories of raw evenings after school, stretching the twilight outdoors and knowing someone would call you in to dinner in a few minutes.

In an ordinary year, Halloween renews that kind of silliness. A glow runs through this season. People dress up in horns and wings and glitter and get stuck to caramel apples.

When I was a child, Halloween meant a night walk with my dad, my brother and my sister, while my mom handed out candy. My dad would come home early. We swished knee-deep through leaves under the street lights, and when the street ran uphill into the woods, we walked in the dark.

And it was the only night in the year when we could walk up to any house on the block and knock on the door and know it would open, and someone would be there, expecting us.

That's what I remember now. Everyone's hall and kitchen and wooden
stairs looked different from ours. The night I dressed as Charlie Chaplan in the pouring rain, every time I bent over a candy bowl water cascaded from the brim of my plastic bowler hat, and no one minded. The Bishops always served hot cider, and once someone gave us popcorn balls. We walked at night in complete confidence. Candles shone on dark steps.

Two years ago I sat on another porch with my neighbor's neice, in the one sunny day in October, and we bounced around sogn ideas for her growing monster playlist while we handed out candy to a crowd of families streaming by, and I have never seen the streets so full before or since.

So where can we find a touch of that spirit this year? When I look into it, Halloween has old roots — Samhein, the changing of the year, the night ghosts walk, when goblin faces carved in turnips kept malicious spirits out of the house.

The holiday has changed this year. But we haven't lost it yet. Candle-lit carved pumpkins lining a path through the woods at night are wild and beautiful on their own, without any goblins and cobwebs ... all I'd ask is a cup of mulled cider at the end. By the Way Berkshires


The full moon rises over Tamarack Hollow and the Hoosac mountain range.

Joyce Kilmer's Berkshire rambles bring ghosts home

Joyce Kilmer has just introduced me to two of my own ghosts. Earlier this month, I stumbled on a story Kilmer wrote in the New York Times in 1916 — when free verse was a dangerous new invention. Alfred Joyce Kilmer is the man who wrote the poem lovely as a tree. And he died in World War I, two …

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Jack o'lanterns glow n the dusk. Creative Commons Courtesy Photo.

Why we still carve jack-o-lanterns ...

We walk across grass as flat as straw after the frost. The air is damp enough for jean jackets, and it smells of leaves, wood smoke, water and damp hay ... and we are peering with care at the pumpkins.

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A historical re-enactor performs in a celebration of women's suffrage. Creative Commons Courtesy Photo

The Trial of Susan B. Anthony

Through November 8 (virtual)

Berkshire Opera Festival presents The Trial of Susan B. Anthony, a song cycle starring Adriana Zabala in an online performance.

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Jack-o-lanterns glow in the annual pumpkin walk at Naumkeag.

The annual Naumkeag Pumpkin Show

October 29 to 31 from 4 to 8 p.m.

The Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show is back with more pumpkins and an expanded run, Thursday to Sunday afternoons and evenings through October.

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The Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series presents Brian Brooks Moving Company: Immersive Technology. Press photo courtesy of Guggenheim Works & Process and Jacob's Pillow

Brian Brooks / Moving Company

October 29 at 7 p.m.

Inside the Pillow Lab presents Brian Brooks / Moving Company in a short film of work in their fall on-site residency at Jacob's Pillow.

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Annette Miller appears in Martha Mitchell Calling at Shakespeare & Company.

Martha Mitchell Calling

October 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. (online)

Shakespeare & Company presents a virtual performance of Martha Mitchell Calling by Jodi Rothe, the story of the woman who played the pivotal role in the downfall of Nixon’s Presidency.

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Tasha Lawrence appears in Typhoid Mary at Barrington Stage Company. Press photo courtesy of the theater.

Typhoid Mary at Barrington Stage

October 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. (online)

Barrington Stage presents a virtual performnce of the true and turbulent story of Mary Mallon, known better as Typhoid Mary, in a contemporary play by Mark St. Germain.

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Hancock Shaker Village wears fall colors.

Haunted Hancock: Shaker Halloween tours

October 31 at 7 p.m.

Hancock Shaker Village presents Haunted Hancock, an after-hours evening of ghosts and mystery, walking the dark paths of the village by lantern light.

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