Forgive me for the nostalgia, but I always think of autumn as a time of wonderful outdoor adventures. A slightly earlier dusk, a chill in the air, sudden strong breezes bringing down fall leaves everywhere ... and (in olden times) the smell of burning leaf piles. It was great to be given the complete freedom of the neighborhood for trick-or-treating. Back in the day, a few people served hot cider and popcorn to everyone walking through my neighborhood.
I was so happy to see that TBG was having an evening festival with lantern tours, a Native American storyteller, wagon rides, etc.
I got there very early and (like Slowsol) I found it to be a little disorganized. The food vendors were not really up to speed by 6:15 -- the hot chocolate was not served hot, and the 4 people in line ahead of me for hot cider were taking so long to get served, I gave up. There was supposed to be beer & wine under the big tent, but when we peeked in, all we saw were big empty tables, with no indication that anyone was selling beverages somewhere inside the dimness. Perhaps some signs would have helped.
I think they're trying to test things out by offering a little bit of everything and see what's most popular. I spoke to one of the volunteers, and she said they were trying to have a semi-spooky costume event for families that was not all about candy consumption. The trick-or-treating through the artists' village led everyone to art tables and autumn crafts (in addition to treats). And now that think about it, offering free admission to kids age 12 and under means that they were orienting the activities more towards the young set.
Since I don't have kids (and I couldn't find the wine!), there was less for me to do. But it was a great excuse to get my butt outdoors on a nice fall evening. It was technically probably not worth the $10 I paid, except that I enjoy the free garden year-round and I'm not a member. So I wanted to cough up a little cash to help them out.
Maybe they should double up on the wagon rides and the lantern tour next time around. I think there's some great potential and I'll try it again next year.