Visualizing the Wealth Gap: Halloween Edition

Every year, I look forward to the giant, inflatable dragon airing its wings in Beechview. It is the largest decoration in a small yard overflowing with inflatable ghosts and a giant spider, a witch on a broom, lights, pumpkins, and leaves. Many neighborhoods vie for the best and most prolific displays of Christmas lights. If there were a similar contest for Halloween, this modest-sized house with the dragon seems to me the cream of the crop in a neighborhood with a prolific smorgasbord of Halloween lights and decorations.

This year, I discovered a possible competitor for the title in Shadyside along Pittsburgh’s most intact millionaire’s row. On a lawn that is probably bigger than the footprint of the dragon house is an elaborate, customized ghost wedding. Across the street on a slightly smaller lawn, an 8-10 ft high, gleaming, ceramic clown holds court over a multitude of companions (minions?) of similar sinister and expensive cast.

On seeing these displays, my stomach sank. I felt a loss and a disappointment that this neighborhood may steal the crown for best Halloween decorations due to the unfair advantage of having more disposable wealth. I suppose it really comes down to what is the measure for determining the winning neighborhood: quantity, quality, per capita, density, creativity, or exuberance.