Trick-or-Treating at the Governor's Mansion
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It is hard to find a native of Carson City who cannot offer stories about trick-or-treating at the Governor's Mansion, either visiting the event as a child with the parents, or as a parent taking the own children to meet the governor, and most likely both. It is one of those traditions that make everybody just feel good; one that makes the concept of elected officials being of the people for the people almost tangible.

It is therefore quite surprising that not much, if anything at all, can be learned about the origin of this tradition. For once, the internet refuses an answer. All it offers for the query combination "Governor + Nevada + Halloween + Tradition" is the information that this year Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki will be sitting in for pelvis-broken Governor Jim Gibbons. Not a single word about who started it, why he started it, or when it was started.

Not knowing the answers to those questions doesn't make the event any less enjoyable, though. The decorations alone are a treat - eye candy, if you will - and fan the fire of anticipation for a few weeks prior to Halloween. They inspire many neighborhood households to become creative and adorn home and yard with creepy creatures, bare bones, wicked witches, pesky pirates, scary skeletons, malicious monsters, horrifying headstones and many other paraphernalia that may trigger a criminal investigation under normal circumstances, thus transforming the usually docile historic district into one of the most attractive destinations in northern Nevada.


The trick-or-treating is one of the best organized ones of it's kind, anywhere. The long line of transmogrified candy seekers is entertained by a puppeteer whose string-controlled dolls come alive to the tunes of the famous entertainers they resemble. A riveting show that makes many a monster briefly forget what business it traveled here for. Fortunately, candy doesn't get stale.

The transaction of the goodies itself goes way beyond the ordinary "my... how scary you are... here's your candy... say hello to the neighbors for me." A tap dancing troupe in the most colorful costumes ever stitched by mortal hands complements the offerings with tipping toes and stomping heels onto the mansion's driveway to the tunes of Transylvanian ditties. And once the candy is safely sacked, Big Bird is available for a photo opportunity.

And just as the mansion's decorations inspire most of the historic district to dress up too, so does its trick-or-treating encourage candy distribution throughout the neighborhood. Which draws crowds so numerous that part of Mountain Street is closed to vehicles for the duration, by smiling deputies and troopers.

Which allows the assumption that this tradition was started to demonstrate how much power large numbers of children in scary costumes have over the legislative and executive branches of government.

It's a treat to watch.

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