It's October, which means it's time for another battle in the ongoing war between The Community and The Haunted Garden. For those unfamiliar with the The Haunted Garden, it's a Halloween event which has been held each year since 2010 in the yard of a house at the corner of Worth and Hamilton Avenues in Silver Spring. Since the beginning, The Community has sought to shut down the Garden, claiming that it is a commercial enterprise in disguise that creates traffic and parking headaches throughout the surrounding neighborhood.
This year The Community was prepared, launching a preemptive strike by proxy in the form a restraining order from the County requiring that the event be cancelled immediately. The event is now in limbo until a hearing scheduled for October 15th. Though it affects a fairly small number of households in Silver Spring, this is clearly a divisive issue, as evidenced by the number of comments on this Washington Post story.
As someone who lives fairly close by, I agree that it does bring a lot of cars into the neighborhood, and on a few occasions I have returned home to find all the spots in front of my house occupied. While somewhat annoying, it's only for a few days a year, and to their credit the organizers implemented significantly improved traffic management last year. And while there may or may not be some advertising benefit to the organizers, ultimately it's, you know, for kids. I took my one-year-old last fall, and while some of the scarier areas might have been a bit too much for him, they did have activities and treats available for little ones. I was looking forward to taking him this year, but who knows if I'll be able to. We drive by it twice a day on my commute and I've been pointing out to him the giant mushrooms they've constructed on the front lawn. Now I may have to tell him he can't go. (Of course, The Community feeds on baby tears to maintain their eternal youth, so they will be delighted.)
One has to wonder if all this could ultimately result in a kind of Streisand Effect, where the publicity resulting from opposition to the Garden could attract even more visitors to the event, should it be allowed to proceed. It's already made the Post (again) and the local newscasts. If The Community is successful in keeping the Garden closed, this will be the kind of Big Win they've been looking for after their defeat over the Chelsea School townhouses.