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A Whimsical Wonderland

Festival of Trees 2017

We’ve cultivated a bit of an annual family tradition taking in the Berkshires’ Festival of Trees. Every year, there’s a theme – this year’s was Whimsical, Wonderful and the entire exhibit was augmented by an accompanying fine art show of Morgan Bulkeley’s 1-,2-, and 3-D art.

Ten different rooms were filled with trees decorated by various area organizations and businesses. Some of the favorites are below, including Interprint’s tiny universe-in-a-tree-trunk, the tree-sized Grinch, a nod to the Berkshire’s literary history by Arrowhead (which includes Ilvermorny atop Mount Greylock), and a diorama of the solar system called Cosmos, made out of ball ornaments and sponsored by Berkshire County ARC and Zip N’ Sort.

Juli’s favorite was ‘the blue one–‘ actually a mermaid tree complete with tails poking out of the branches. We also played a little ‘I Spy,’ finding hidden objects in each tree as listed on our programs for the first time this year, like ‘a whisk’ or ‘a girl on a swing.’ There were both simple and harder objects to find, to cater to kids of all ages.

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Five Movies I Watch Every Halloween

There are a few seasonal films that end up on my proverbial airwaves every year around this time; not to mention around Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. But we’ll get there.

While it’s not a list that necessarily represents all of my favorite Halloween-themed or horror films — The Exorcist doesn’t really warrant a yearly viewing, for example, bi-annual is just fine — they’re all well-suited to come a-knockin’ every 365 days.

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The Amityville Horror

I’ve always considered this one of the classics, though not one without its flaws. It seems I’m more forgiving than most; Rotten Tomatoes has a 30% rating and Roger Ebert 1.5/4. I always liked the story, and maybe the fact that it’s been largely debunked is affecting the reception.

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Friday the 13th, part III

It may seem random, but the third installment of the Chronicles of Jason Voorhees is the best representation of the franchise. Spoiler alert: Jason’s not even the killer in the first film (or the fifth, for that matter), and the direct sequel has him running around in a burlap sack.

I will totally watch any of the other sequels, but number three — when the mask finally shows up, the punks get their come-uppance, and an outhouse becomes the stage for death? That’s the OG in 3-D.

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Halloween

A little on-the-nose, maybe, but the perfect day-of watch for the holiday. It’s well-viewed along with the sequel, and the Rob Zombie remakes are fine, too – just stay away from the abomination that is Halloween III. 

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Young Frankenstein

The perfect antidote for too many disturbing slashers and a great annual revisit any time of year, the Gene Wilder classic stays on topic without adding to the scare factor.

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Carrie

The grandmother of movies featuring misunderstood teens, the plot still holds up and the effects still aren’t half bad. There’ve been a few fairly solid remakes over the years, all worth a rainy night deep-dive, if you’re so inclined.