Halloween in Kent: ‘super scary’ night

Ben Wolford

Any other night he’d be out of place.

Turbaned, toga-ed and trumpet-bearing, this peculiar fellow took to the streets of downtown Kent Saturday night, eager to revive the lost art of the traveling minstrel.

Our 40-something troubadour set up to perform in front of a happy lot of chortlers who were costumed and rosy-cheeked, drinking outside on a bar patio.

He moved the trumpet to his yet unpracticed lips and blew an awkward warm-up pitch. But it was cut short by laughter, boos and a “you’re terrible” from somewhere in the back.

The medieval relic gathered his things and made some retort, inaudible to his hecklers, as he ambled away.

Down the road, a young man announced his Halloween celebration plans to the posse in tow and to everyone else within hearing distance. “My agenda tonight: Get drunk, get a blow job and … we’re good.”He either forgot the third agenda item or simply decided mid-sentence that two activities was satisfactory.

On the corner of South Water Street and East Main Street, a man in sunglasses and a baseball cap leaned on a light post.

His jeans and boots were dirty and his brown wool coat had patches of duct tape.

He carried a cardboard sign: “Homeless. Please help. Money. Food.”

No one believed the people in yellow jumpsuits and backpacks were really Ghostbusters, and no one believed the people carrying hockey sticks were really hockey players, so maybe no one believed the homeless man was really homeless.

In any case, no one heeded the sign.

Eventually, someone wearing Santa Claus’ trademark red suit and disguised by a monster mask approached our light post-leaner.

Santa said a few words, the homeless man silently tapped his sign and then Santa began to dance, motive unknown.

The homeless man moved to find another light post.

Riot police fell on the scene at 9:30.

“Are those real cops?” a woman asked.

You had to wonder. They might simply have been senior English majors looking for a bar.

But when they began speaking code words into their radios and attending to a man who was assaulted – that is, punched in the mouth – by a gorilla, you knew they weren’t English majors.

Sarah Palin count: one.

A band of Krishna-followers paraded up and down the sidewalks beating out the same tireless song for hours on drums, a trumpet and a public address speaker.

One man bearing a cross high above his head enjoyed following the musicians but didn’t seem to be associated with them. A fake, stuffed monkey hung crucified on the cross.

“He was put here for a purpose,” the man said in sarcastic loftiness to inquiring on-lookers.

Just then a lone journalist with a camera idled by, his photographer’s eye skillfully seeking the perfect frame, the essence of the evening: Truth.

Sarah Palin count: two.

On the sidewalk in front of Starbucks, a guitarist strummed. His guitar’s open case lay before him.

His solicitations were more successful than the homeless man’s. A gorilla (the same gorilla that assaulted a man?) dropped something in the case.

Back at the intersection of Water and Main, a dog with reindeer antlers followed a woman across the street. Halfway to the other side, the woman felt the leash pull taut.

“Do you see that?” one girl asks her friends. “There’s a dog taking a dump in the middle of the street.”

Indeed. It couldn’t wait.

Sarah Palin count: three.

Among the shuffling hordes, a little girl no more than five-years-old held her mother’s hand as someone in a mask walked by.

“Super scary,” the girl said. She must have discovered alliteration and liked it because she repeated the phrase to her giggling mother.

“Super scary. Super scary.”

Contact administration reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].