Treat or treat

Contributed by
Oct 30, 2007

So tomorrow is Halloween, and that means the usual tradition at the BA household:

  • Panicky buying whatever candy is left at the local store, usually inedible waxy chocolate coins and Mary Janes;
  • Panicky carving of pumpkins, panicky dumping of elaborate plans this year of really carving the Face of Boe and instead hoping to just get triangular eyes and a mouth where the teeth don't break off;
  • Panicky last-minute selection of a costume for The Little Astronomer as well as for me when I give out candy, which means a panicky rummaging-through of the closet and coming up empty;
  • Decidedly non-panicky decision to haul out the ol' 'scope and show the kids the sky.

That last one is my favorite Halloween tradition. I still give out candy, but I do it from my driveway, where I have the telescope set up. Some years are better than others; when Jupiter or Saturn is up you're gold. But this year, we have, of course, Comet Holmes, which showed up right on time to make this the splashiest Halloween treat we've had in a long, long time.

If you have a telescope -- or even binoculars you can mount on a tripod -- then why not give the kids coming around something they'll remember for years to come? Show them an erupting comet!

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