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The scene in front of a home in Alameda, Calif., seen Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

Instead of the rambling presentation typically offered in this column space -- sentences detoured by dashes, interrupted with ellipses and packed with parenthetical asides (wordy wanderings to which my editor has often referred as "Byzantine" in their complexity), this time, well ... where was I? Ah yes, this time things will be different. Let's get right down to business.

I'm running a Halloween photo contest. (That was probably my shortest, most direct sentence ever!) Send in your pics of past -- or present, if you have your decorations up already -- delightfully devilish outdoor displays, your freakishly frightful front-porch phenoms, your ghoulishly gruesome garden-gnome graveyards. All for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to win absolutely nothing at all except the opportunity to get your photo in print or, at the very least, in an online slideshow accompanying my column at www.insidebayarea.com on Oct. 28.

Things that go bump

All entries will also be posted on the Pinterest board I'm going to set up as soon as I get done writing this and I figure out how to set up a Pinterest board. Pinterest, for those, like me, who don't really know, is an online refrigerator door of sorts where people stick up cool shots of all sorts of things they like and everybody can, well, look at them. My Halloween board will be at www.pinterest.com/giveemhill.

Even though glamorous "Price is Right" prizes like new cars or trips to the Bahamas are not in the cards or my budget -- let's just say you won't win enough to buy the farm -- I think it will be fun anyway. At least for me.

As many of you may know, my husband and I are major Halloween fiends, and we always do a huge horrific display on our front lawn. You'll get the idea from the accompanying photo. This automatically qualifies me as an expert. Therefore, by virtue of having a closet full of medical-grade skeletons, flocks of rubber vampire bats and enough pingpong eyeballs to play eyeball pingpong for a good long time, I am the self-appointed photo contest judge.

Vital statistics

Please email your images to ahill@bayareanewsgroup.com. If you can't, snail mail a hard copy to me, attention Angela Hill, Oakland Tribune, 1970 Broadway, Oakland, 94621. We'll scan it into our image desk.

Also, please provide the following info:

  • Epitaph: Your full name and city where you live. No need for specific addresses. I don't want to be responsible for someone coming by and egging your 20-foot, rooftop, inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (this year's trendy prop at Party City).

  • Obit: A short description of your display. Anything is fine -- things like how you came up with your theme, if you made some of your props, why you love Halloween, why you love to scar small children for life.

  • Deadline: This is a really quick, short-lived, not-long-for-this-world contest, so the extremely dead-as-a-doornail, daisy-pushing, bucket-kicking cutoff date for submissions is Oct. 18.

    So scare up your stuff and send it my way. There's always room for one more.

    You can contact Angela Hill at ahill@bayareanewsgroup.com.