When you're a Harvard professor, it's hard to get away from your work, even on Halloween.
Standing in the foyer of his Francis Ave. home, John Kenneth Galbraith, Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus, doled out candy corn, tootsie rolls, and economic forecasts to nighttime visitors.
"Since (Federal Reserve Board chairman) Paul Volcker told us all that we'd have to reduce our standard of living, we're only giving out one piece of candy this year," Galbraith explained. "With Kennedy, though, we'll be back to two," he added.
Elsewhere on the darkened streets of Cambridge, Crimson reporters conducting a random survey of Harvard Halloween habits found a similar willingness to mix business with tricks and treats.
Cultural observer Albert B. Lord, Porter Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature, described the night as typical, except for a "small, remarkably cute young girl dressed up in a Dutch costume."
"She had little Dutch shoes, and a Dutch hat as well," Lord beamed.
At the other end of town, Sissela Bok greeted the hordes in place of her husband, who was attending a University function.
"It's been a nice night, with quite a few visitors--I've seen a lot of strange things," she reported, as she handed home-baked cookies to visitors.
Bok's son, Thomas, reportedly spent the night in a gasmask and poncho outfit.
While the younger Bok may have looked out of place on Brattle St., he would have been right at home in the old John Hancock Building in downtown Boston, where dozens of jewelry readers, Tarot wizards, and palm scanners gathered last night for the first annual "Psychic's Festival."
"A psychic is a person with the ability to perceive, a person who is not ashamed to say, hey, I knew that was going to happen," said Joyce Carberry, one of the organizers of the festival, who says she has been reincarnated over 20 times in various forms and possesses the ability to read Tarot cards and make spiritual contact with the dead.
One Harvard sociologist who asked that his identity be kept a secret described Halloween as an "amiable enough custom." Apparently unaware that Celtic Druids and Romans first began the celebration more than 2000 years ago, the scholar added, "It's a good neighborhood tradition."
Jerome Buckley, Gurney Professor of English Literature, was visiting friends on Kirkland St. where his hosts warily eyed the Crimson reporters who came to call. "Well, I guess we're all little kids at heart," the woman who answered the door said, doling out gumdrops and describing the neighborhood's costumes.
Across the street, at the home of Shakespearean scholar Harry Levin, Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature, no one answered the door. Only a small bowl of treats stood outside. As Macbeth said. "This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good."