I have a picture I took thirty years ago of a white clapboard house partially obscured by brilliant, blazing leaves of autumn. The photo, which I framed and hung in my Upper West Side apartment, represented something beatific, something out of reach. I could only imagine what it would be like to live in a house like that.

I have always loved Halloween.

There are the visuals: monster movies, baskets of brightly colored candy bars, costumes that amaze, confuse, and seduce, a full moon that shines like a spotlight upon tiny towns with gothic spires and picket fences, scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns.