October 20, 2019: A Perfect Autumn Moment

I think Lindsey and I did something today that we’ve never been able to do in our entire history of Halloween together…make it back to a site twice in the same season.

That’s not a very crisp opener, but lemme explain. Every year we go somewhere early in the season, realize it would be a fantastic site to revisit after the leaves change, promise ourselves to do just that, and then never return. Octobers are busy, you know?

On September 14, we found ourselves in Chester Village Cemetery in Chester, New Hampshire, and thought to ourselves, this site would be fantastic to revisit after the leaves changed, so we promised ourselves to do just that, and then…returned. It’s an October miracle.

The cemetery is a 18th century plotpatch full of fascinating grave carvings and gnarly old trees. We decided to make an outing of it with some friends, so we all took off and the, en route, started noticing, like, a lot of scarecrows. And, like, not in fields. Tied to people’s mailboxes and sitting in front of business, all of them dressed differently, but sporting the same face. Turns out, it was one of those town scarecrow activities.

Read the sign!

Different towns do them different ways. This one was called Auburn People, after the name of the town we were passing through to get to Chester. Basically, you pay money for the face and sticks (which goes to the local historical preservation group), and then you customize a scarecrow out of them, stick it outside, and you look like you’re a unified, fun-loving town.

I see more and more of these as the years go on, and it’s such a great thing to be randomly driving around and then suddenly the world is populated by scarecrows or pumpkin people or what have you.

We saw a scarecrow vampire outside of a dentist office, a scarecrow policeman complete with radar gun, a scarecrow Marilyn Monroe with a little fan blowing her skirt up, a squat scarecrow tom hanks with a perm beside a Zoltar machine. By the time we got to Chester, the scarecrow people hadn’t disappeared at all, but instead had become somewhat Revolutionary. I saw a little drummer boy, various founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin flying a kite made out of 100 dollar bills.

As we drove those backroads, Lindsey made an observation that hit me between the skull sockets. She said, we always drive far up north or deep into Massachusetts looking for this New England, and really it’s just minutes from our home. And she’s right. And we’re fortunate.

Once we got to Chester, we didn’t have eyes for scarecrows anymore, as we were looking nervously for that cemetery. See, we weren’t 100% sure the foliage in the cemetery had turned, and since we’d brought friends, we were under added pressure to show them a good afternoon. But as soon as we got to the intersection, it was undeniable. That graveyard was burning under yellow fire—a full autumn bloom. It was perfect.

In fact, what we had was a perfect autumn moment—Perfect weather, perfect foliage, perfect old gravestones with skulls on them, a perfect bright white New England church across the street, perfect scarecrows everywhere. It couldn’t get more October than that moment.

That is, until we walked to the cemetery gates…and saw an Edgar Allan Poe scarecrow. A Scare-Poe, as somebody on the OTIS Facebook Page corrected me after I’d immediately posted a shot. And this wasn’t any half-assed, kids-craft Poe. Whoever had made that had done an amazing job. He looked like he was just casually hanging out at the gates, waiting to give a tour of the cemetery or maybe he was waiting for the cover of night so that he could dug up somebody for their teeth, I don’t know.

But it made that perfect autumn moment even more perfect. Somehow.

We finally tore ourselves away from the Scare-Poe to wander the cemetery, taking photos that we will treasure for the rest of our lives, hanging out, and living in the moment. The type of moment where you can say, October can go now. We did it.


Here's a full post on the cemetery itself since we took tons of photos. But here’s hoping that you get your perfect autumn moment. You only need one.

And here are a few other times from other OTIS Halloween Seasons where we've found ourselves surrounded by the October folk:

Hay People...Hey People (Jaffrey, New Hampshire)

Return of the Pumpkin People (Jackson, New Hampshire)