The best month of the year has finally arrived.
There are several reasons why I've always loved October. And no, it's not because my birthday is at the end of the month.
Though, if you are looking for gift ideas, I'd love a copy of America's favorite board game - "Government Shutdown: Home Edition." It's the only game where opponents don't actually play each other, but rather leave the board game sitting in the den while they lock themselves in separate rooms and send out snide tweets about each other all day.
There are several aspects of October that make it a great month. Fall is starting to creep in, which in South Carolina typically means it's 85 degrees during the day, rather than 90. But, it is cooler in the morning and at night. I love those first few days after fall arrives, when you step outside in the morning and are enveloped by the crisp autumn air.
For sports fans, October is one of the absolute best times of year. The college football and NFL seasons are starting to get serious, with the men separating themselves from the boys.
Meanwhile, the baseball playoffs are in full swing and - in a Southern tradition as tried and true as sweet tea and dirty politicians - my beloved Atlanta Braves seem to be trying their damnedest to come up with new and creative ways to squander an otherwise great season.
(Game 3 of the National League Division Series between the Braves and Dodgers shifts to Los Angeles tonight. Beat L.A.)
Of course, we all know what really makes October a great month: Halloween. Wonderful, spooky, cheesy, bone-chilling, horror movie-watching, costume-wearing, candy-filled Halloween.
I know there are those who don't like Halloween, for religious or other reasons. That's perfectly fine and I accept and respect that. However, if you fall in that category, you might want to go ahead and turn the page or click away, because I'm going to spend the rest of this column on Halloween. Maybe flip over to the Accent section, where I've got a piece on an up-and-coming band, Bless Yer Heart.
WHILE DECORATIONS ARE AN important part of any Halloween, putting them out requires me to participate in one of life's great hassles: Going up to the attic to get them.
I'm a natural klutz, so going up in the attic presents a number of potential pitfalls. Whenever I'm in the attic I have "Final Destination" type visions of bumping my head on a crossbeam, stumbling face first into a cobweb, stepping in the wrong spot and putting my foot through the living room ceiling and eventually falling head first through the attic door and crashing into the hallway below.
Plus, everything's spookier once it's been sitting in the attic for a while. Even things that have no business being spooky. Like baby dolls. Or mirrors. Seriously, a box of old baseball cards gathering dust in the attic is scarier than "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
Early last week I was able to navigate the attic and bring down the various boxes and cartons containing our Halloween decorations, then went to work putting them out.
I'm kind of the Clark Griswold of our neighborhood when it comes to Halloween. I string orange lights in the bushes, lights around the front door, put a hay bale scene in the yard and so on. And that's just in the month leading up to Oct. 31. On Halloween proper I like to goose it up with more hay bales, fog machines, music, strobe lights and, yes, chainsaws (with the chain taken out, of course).
Basically, I'm that neighbor you probably hate.
My across-the-street neighbor, Pat Langley, sent me a message on Facebook last week saying she loved the Halloween lights, but added she "may need sunglasses" throughout the month.
I live next door to Episcopal minister Nicholas Beasley. I think the first few years we were neighbors he actually moved his family to a house across town for the entire month of October. I guess he learned to live with it eventually, and now his sons like to come over and check out the decorations. They even played a Halloween prank on me last year.
As noted, there are those who don't like the Halloween season. Nothing wrong with that. Personally, I love it.
I love the cool nights and the scary movies and the decorations and the costumes and the candy. (If you are like me you pluck all of the chocolate out of the bowl and leave the cheap stuff.)
In fact, I've already got my costume together. I'm going as a Washington politician. It's easy. You just wear a suit, stuff your pockets with Monopoly money and say "no" to everything.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.