Autumn in Chi-Town

…Sorry, I meant Fall.

Life is fast in this city and there’s not a lot of time for sitting and writing about it. Mostly it’s been work, weekend shenanigans (and the hangovers that follow) and the odd trip downtown to look at pretty buildings. I’ll find time to write about that eventually. For now, though I want to share with you one of my favourite things so far about Chicago so far. Autumn vibes.

There were pumpkins out in the grocery stores from just about as soon as I arrived in late September, and people started decorating their front stoops no more than a week after that. Suffice to say, Halloween is a big deal here!

It’s now October 24th, and in my month here I’ve been taking  some pictures of the festive displays the good people of Chicago are putting out in front of their houses. The leaves are turning too, and the abundance of maple trees all going yellow, orange and red just adds to the good old autumn fall feelings you get walking around this place. SOMEONE GET ME A PUMPKIN SPICE CHAI TEA LATTE, QUICK!

And it’s not just the people that decorate their private outdoor spaces, either. A quick jaunt to the Loop and you’ll see that, for the sake of civic virtue, the generous City has provided a cornucopia of seasonal ornamentation. They also play music from the flowerbeds.

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As I was taking this picture, a street comedian was doing a show for a small crowd of people, and he stopped his show mid-flow, stared at me for a few seconds, and then said “this girl has never seen a pumpkin before”… Much to the entertainment of his audience. Not even accurate. I’ve seen plenty of pumpkins. Just not so gloriously displayed.

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This is the sight you are greeted with upon entering my local grocery store. Big pumpkins, small pumpkins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cupcakes…

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The rest of the photos have been taken on my 20-minute commute to work. I suppose I should set the scene and show you where I actually live. This is my apartment. It’s the top one with the triangle windows. That’s right, the penthouse. And we have our very own maple tree! Yes my downstairs neighbour on the right has a giant blue spider on her balcony.

My DIGS

The rest of my street is very architecturally varied, there is some lovely old Victorian townhouses (below) , and some shabby  subsidised living apartments too, and the mid-range modern builds like mine. It’s apparently undergoing rapid gentrification, and I’m told just 10 years ago it was as dodgy as it gets.

Victorian Houses

Now for the pumpkins! I’m not sure what the top one is supposed to be, but somebody obviously put a lot of effort into the owl one below.

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These folks have done a good job spreading them out. Why should the stairs have all the fun? And good job getting the leaves on that plant just the right shade of orange.

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These people even added a plastic one into the mix. And a deceased mini-scarecrow. Too bad their anti-squirrel defences were not sufficient to save the poor third-step pumpkin.

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I hope somebody has a good leaf blower. Actually, I hope their leaf blower is shit. I hope it short-circuits, blows a fuse and runs out of petrol so the leaves have to stay like this for ever and ever.

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Whoever lives here has gone all-out on the seasonal vegetation front. Only found time to carve the one pumpkin though… Still, they are forgiven as their effort obviously took a lot of strategic planning.

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Ah. Glorious. I can think of no better use for such an appropriately placed porch-ledge.

many many pumpz

And that’s all the pumpkins so far. Still a week to go till Halloween, so I might add some more if I see any good’uns. To continue the theme of orange, I shall leave you with a photo of my favourite maple tree.

Orange Tree

And thanks Chicago, for turning a season I was pretty nonchalant about into something I can get excited over. Job well done.

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