When I was a kid – yeah, I know, yadda, yadda, yadda. Seriously, though, once upon a time, Halloween was celebrated on Halloween night. Now it's a month or more long celebration involving floats, lights, sounds, costumes, and more. In other words, it's big business.

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Gone are the days when your mother stuffed your father's old flannel shirt with fallen leaves to make a scarecrow and kids carved pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns. Those old white socks in need of darning no longer hang from front yard trees, conjuring up images of ghosts in flight in the chill night air.

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Corn stalks creating eerie shadows in the evening dark give way to stores crammed full of inflatables and robotics to turn ordinary front yards into spook-filled Halloween extravaganzas. They attract visitors from far and wide to neighborhoods normally seeped in fall stillness and serenity once the sun goes down.

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Halloween lovers throughout Greater New Bedford meticulously plan and stage their haunted displays and then promote them on the internet to draw maximum crowds for viewing. They compete for likes and TikTok views and revel in the praise their hard work generates. To their credit, they deserve every bit of it.

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I live in one such neighborhood where from September until November, the ghouls lurk nightly, and the masses gather to witness the spectacle. All is good.

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Here are just some kind suggestions from those whose autumn rest might be disturbed evening in and evening out by an invasion from mere mortals from the outside world. When visiting a neighborhood, please be respectful of those who live nearby. Leave no trash behind. Cigarette butts, coffee cups, nip bottles, and such should leave when you do. Stay off of other people's lawns. Most importantly, be wary of people on the road.

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To the groovy ghoulies who brighten our neighborhoods with their hard work and devotion to Halloween, a quick policing of the area when everyone has gone home would go a long way towards keeping the peace and goodwill among the kindred souls.

Happy Halloween to one and all!

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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This Halloween, homeowners all over the SouthCoast have transformed their yards into must-see drive-by displays and walk-through haunts for members of the community to enjoy.