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« Behold The Nominee | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 202 -- George Bush Cares About Black People. »

Houston Halloween.


Today is Halloween, of course, and it's a holiday that takes on special meaning for many folks in this neck of the woods. Not because it is a day off from work (it isn't), not because it has any kind of spiritual meaning (it doesn't), and not because of all the fun and decorations and candy.

No, in Houston, Texas Halloween is a psychological marker for cooler weather. While much of the rest of the country has experienced cool, crisp temperatures for several weeks now, here in Houston, summer usually lingers long into October. You can't really call it Fall until Halloween rolls around. Sure, sometimes climate relief comes a week or two early, as it did this year, but October 31 is a day people who enjoy going outside for more than a few minutes at a time look forward to.

weatherhouston.gif Just look at that wonderfully cool weather, those delightful Fall temperatures. They're definitely still warmer than most of the country, but those temps are a welcome relief from the mid-to-high-90s that lingered until just a couple of weeks ago.

While Houston weather is oppressive from about late May until early October, with heat and humidity and mosquitoes galore, Halloween is the time to celebrate the beginning of several months of mostly beautiful weather. And this pattern goes for more than just Houston, extending into Austin and elsewhere in and around Texas.

But the cooler weather has other benefits. First, Halloween marks an end of $300, $400, $500, or even higher monthly electric bills. The air conditioner does not have to blast all day and all night just to keep the inside temperature under 80 degrees. Moreover, in Houston, most people run the heater for only a dozen or so days all winter long.


Next, for football fans (and most Texans are), Halloween marks the official beginning of bearable tailgating weather. Day games are no longer superhuman feats of endurance, requiring frequent electrolyte hydration, even just while sitting there in the stands. Think I am kidding? I just hope that Ohio State's fans visiting Austin, Texas on September 9, 2006 are ready to endure the scorching temperatures. And I hope the Austin paramedics and hospitals are ready to treat scores of these Northerners for heat exhaustion and worse.

I am not exaggerating.

Which is why Halloween is such an awesome day, a true reason for celebration around these parts. It means that this upcoming Saturday, when I attend the Baylor - UT football game in Waco, Texas, the weather will be perfect (as long as it doesn't rain). Long sleeves are even a possibility.

LONG sleeves!

Sometimes people visiting Austin or Houston during the summer look around and observe that Texans are far too casual. Even executives often wear short sleeves to work during the summer-- and certainly no sport coat or jacket. But this isn't some sort of manifestation of hippie human relations nonsense, where employees are supposed to feel more relaxed and comfortable and thus establish a better rapport with co-workers, all because they don't have to wear a tie and a wool suit. It's not a gimmick to get people to work better, or harder. This casual attitude toward dress in the workplace certainly doesn't emanate from the politics in Texas.

No, it's just a necessity.

Which, again, is why it's so great when the weather offers us a bit of relief. Wearing that wool suit is no longer the act of one who has lost his mind. It's just another wardrobe option.

Even more, even just buying groceries becomes a less stressful experience after Halloween. No longer does one have to worry about the milk boiling in the back seat, or the "break and bake" cookie dough becoming full-fledged cookies by the time the car pulls into the garage.

Still think I am exaggerating? I am positive that perishable foods bought at Houston grocery stores last at least a few days longer after Halloween than before.

Perhaps more than anything, Halloween is a great marker for those of us who enjoy spending time outside-- you know-- being active. It's an odd and counter-intuitive thing for much of the rest of the country, but I am pretty sure I gain a few pounds each summer, just because the heat and humidity outside can be so unbearable. Even inside during the summer, I often feel absolutely drained from the heat. Around this time of year, however, spending time outside, running around, riding around, throwing things around, kicking and hitting things around, all become reasonable activities again.

There are an inordinate number of benefits to the cooler weather that may sound trivial, but Houstonians become noticeably less grumpy-- and more relaxed-- about this time of year for a reason. For many reasons, actually.

So, three cheers for Halloween, not for the kids and candy, nor for the evil pagan rituals that apparently happen this day.

No, three cheers, because Halloween has brought us decent weather. These are the months that make living in Houston worthwhile.

Posted by Will Franklin · 31 October 2005 11:38 AM


Woo hoo! I am all ready - I have my pillow case ready to fill with LOOT!

Heh, actually if I were going trick or treating this year, I would go as a pirate . . . .

ARRRR ye scurvy dogs . . .

Posted by: Ken McCracken at October 31, 2005 11:46 AM

I'd go as Dan Rather.

Posted by: Will Franklin at October 31, 2005 11:51 AM

Tonight I plan to escort Batman and Bob the Builder out to the church to fill up on sugar so that the spouse cna have her pre-thanksgiving nervous breakdaown on time.

Everything you said about the cool weather is so very true. I love to see the effectso of the heat on the first college games of the year when someone like Wisconson visits TCU. You can see the linemen's shoulders actually drop when they come out of the tunnel. "Yeah boys, it IS going to be a long game."

Posted by: Rob B. at October 31, 2005 12:17 PM


I understand your pain RE: the weather. It just got cool here last week.

Posted by: WunderKraut at October 31, 2005 12:41 PM


We've been enjoying fall-like weather in Dallas/Fort Worth for a few weeks now. The first thing I've done when I've come home at night is open up as many windows as I can to let the cool, crisp air into my house.

Posted by: Brandon at October 31, 2005 03:16 PM

Then again, northeast of me at Sugarloaf, in Maine, they just got about 40 inches of snow.

Still none on the ground in southern NH, though. (He says, keeping his fingers crossed.)

I don't know how you Houstonians put up with your summer heat.

Posted by: Giacomo at October 31, 2005 05:15 PM