Arnie.103113

by Pete Mazzaccaro

Halloween honors

Northwest Philadelphia has won quite a few awards that recognize the quality of life residents of Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy have enjoyed for decades. From best residential neighborhood nods to shopping destination superlatives, Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy continue to be heralded as the best spots to live in Philadelphia.

All of those accolades pale in comparison to a ranking that really measures a neighborhood: Trick or Treat destination. Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill won first- and second-place nods from Zillow, the real estate website. Philadelphia was named 10 of 20 top cities in which children can roam and gather candy.

A close look reveals that the rankings were determined mathematically. Zillow used a calculation of four neighborhood and city scores: median home value, walkability, population density and crime. I think a survey of neighborhood children would have been better, but the statistical score will have to do.

So be sure to have a healthy supply of candy ready, Hillers. You have a reputation to maintain.

Last days of baseball

Most Philadelphia sports fans are likely throwing in the towel. The Eagles have sunk to historic lows, losing 10 straight home games and marking the season mid point with a measly 3-5 record. The Flyers are off to a 3-7 start in a season that began with the firing of their manager. The Sixers are about to begin a season of rebuilding in which wins will likely be few and far between, and the Phillies have an enormous amount of work to do to correct a season that was a huge disappointment.

It’s remarkable to think of that Phillies season, which seems to have ended so long ago as the World Series turns to game six in Boston. This was a team that had become so beloved during its 2008 World Series run and subsequent division titles. Part of that is baseball, a sport of long games in a long season that requires much more than a passing interest to follow.

The good news for the Phillies is that Boston is a win away from transitioning from the worst team in baseball one year ago to the sports’ best. A lot of work went into making that transition (including the signing of former Phillie fan favorite Shane Victorino), but it should show fans that smart hires and good management can save what appears to be a sinking ship.

And the Holidays are coming even earlier

Finally, It’s apparent to me that we are only a few years away from the holiday shopping season starting in September.

On a trip to Lowes last week, more than 10 days before Halloween, several aisles had already been converted to holiday lighting. 7-foot-tall Santa and reindeer inflatables, cases of blinking lights, “North Pole” directional signs and everything the casual homeowner could want to transform a simple house into a winter wonderland.

I expect that we’ll begin to see holiday shopping guides in circulation any day now. Perhaps Black Friday will move from the day after Thanksgiving, which is one month from now, to the first Friday after Halloween.

I’m not sure what it is. Are we that eager to get autumn over with and get right to “the good stuff” of the Holidays? Maybe we all share a collective phobia of raking leaves. That’s understandable.

What I can’t understand is why we’d want to rush what is really the best time of the year. Let’s save the Holiday decorating and shopping for December.