Decorating for Halloween – Recharged!
It was looking as if Jack Skellington had abandoned Halloween again….
As a young homeowner, I poured through fall magazines and envisioned lovely fall decor, colorful autumn leaf arrangements and wreaths; and made all of those things along with fall porch displays featuring baskets and pumpkins. I still enjoy Pinterest and bloggers’ posts of garlands and burlap and wool (oh my!).
I promise, the evolution (or “devolution”) of my fall decor into the spooky zone was never on the radar…until kids came along and decided that the neighborhood’s Frightworld-inspired “Dr. Chill” had the coolest house on the block. I thought the spooky stuff was kind of fun…not the dark “pins and hooks” decorations (which kind of spoils it for me) but the classic kitschy ghosty/werewolf/witch kind of dec.
The days after Halloween, we’d be in line at the 50% and 75% off sales, collecting leftovers for “next year.” And as our collection grew, I started to notice excitement building in the most unexpected of places…Hubs!
His enthusiasm for Halloween has certainly grown over the years, and I can’t get over seeing mild-mannered Clark Kent get so excited when the first of the Halloween catalogs arrives in the mail. Our kids and their friends, of course, loved the decorations…which only made us (well mostly him), more excited for the pre-season catalogs and post-season sales.
I often lamented the loss of the charming BHG-style decorations (which don’t really blend well with scary). And, though I’m not a true neatnik, the clutter of “the collection” bugs me a little. So, when the “stuff” comes out of storage…I kind of start muttering. More than a little.
And then this year happened.
Hubs was looking forward to unpacking the ghouls this year, but when that time rolled around, he seemed kind of disappointed. Our kids have grown a little older still…and “cool” has turned, in part, to “meh.”
No one really cared much about unpacking the bins. And then I saw the look on his face when he hauled everything out of the basement. No real enthusiasm…going through the motions…just kind of sad.
I popped off my high horse and helped unload the boxes. We put things in places and I zipped my lip about the clutter. Still, there was definitely a lack of “spirit” in the air this year and that’s when I realized that the true horror of Halloween would be watching Dad lose his enthusiasm for the holiday that best lets him be a kid again. So, when he went off to work one Saturday, I amped up my Halloween game.
The huge spiders we usually put outside (but hadn’t) were going to be inside this year…
Ghouls were placed in unexpected places (like pulling up a “seat” next to this guy in the powder room)…
and the hallways are now WAY overdone, finding new places for old things.
I went through the bins and there were lots of things we had stopped using (I’m not much of a fan of plastic skulls and ghoul hands)…but I pulled them out and found new places for them.
The neglected orange lights were strung on the bushes again, I uplit a couple of trees with spotlights and even added a ghost to the outdoor mix (who has absolutely scared the heck out of us on several middle of the night trips to the kitchen).
Is it goofy and ghoulish? Yep! But oldest child (who was away for the weekend) came home and went, “Wow! Can I have my friends over?”
And when Hubs came home from work and walked into the back hall, I knew right away that he liked it… He walked all around the house and took it all in…and that awesome kid’s grin reappeared on his face…and he started talking about which scary movie was on the however-many-days-of-Halloween cable channels and how this year we should get the skeleton dogs from the Grandin Road catalog.
It also seems that while I set out to make HIM happy, I’ve been having plenty of fun as well…. I’m totally ready with a list of the things that I can’t wait to do next year… I’ll be out Sunday looking for leftover ghosts and colored spotlights!
And I am very, very happy to have stopped being a buzzkiller… and remembered that our first date included watching “Friday the 13th”.
…Decades later and I finally took a hint.