There are few things that get my boys more fired up than the string of upcoming holidays. Thanks to Clark Griswold and the miracle of You Tube, our household has now joined the ranks of competitive decorators (admit it: you are singing that “Holiday Ro-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oad” song in your head now. It’s ok.)
But we love us some holiday decorations. Particularly of the exterior variety.
Especially for Halloween.
Call us crazy; it certainly fits the bill.
I grew up in a house that might have had a pumpkin for Halloween. A pumpkin…as in singular. And then we had a Christmas tree and stockings on our mantel. Wham-bam! Decorations complete. I had no siblings to assist me in the argument for more things to strew around the house.
Instead, my dad and uncles would load up my cousins and me around Christmas Eve, and we’d ride wa-a-ay out into the country to see the one nutty family who had successfully Griswold-ed their house and yard. They weren’t just partial to Christmas either; this house covered all the bases with its blow-up menorah and an inflatable Grinch. You could almost see their power meter spinning. It was so awful, it was good.
My husband grew up in a household with similar views towards holiday-themed decorating, though my mother-in-law does have a small stash of fantastic knick-knacks like palm-sized snowglobes and reindeer music boxes. One by one, as our sons came along, they fell in love with Grandma’s red felted Santa and her stuffed snowmen from Hallmark.
Seeing their sheer fascination with these little items melted our hearts. I remember my husband telling me on our flight home from our first Christmastime visit to his parents with our first baby in tow, “I can’t wait until we get to decorate for Christmas. Our house is going to rock.”
And rock it does, my friends.
We are suckers for holiday decor. I should just drop the Pottery Barn fall catalogs straight into the recycling bin instead of flipping through them. They are such teases, aren’t they? Those adorable bright orange table runners appliqued with ghosts and witches and the matching chair backers? Fancy up your breakfast table with that, and you’re guaranteed to have a ketchup covered mess within an hour. Maybe that can work to your advantage if you explain to any guests that it’s actually blood. Extra spooky.
Thanksgiving typically gets the short-shrift on decor, but not at our house. (Of course, this could have a little something to do with the fact that my husband’s alma mater, Virginia Tech, has a turkey as its mascot.) I took a trip up to Paper Affair a few years ago and returned with 3 ceramic turkeys the size of pumpkins. (You know you’re jealous; just admit it.) These guys are our stars of November. They perch up on our mantel, just asking for someone to make a comment. And comment they do, because who in their right mind has such ridiculousness in prominent display?
Um, that would be us.
We’d be sad to see our gobbler friends go back to their boxy nest in the basement if it weren’t for the fact that the Mother-of-All-Decorative-Holidays comes right after Turkey Day. It takes us several days to fully Christmas up our house. You know you are serious about your decorations when your husband excitedly takes his yearly pilgrimage to Home Depot to get more staples for the staple gun. Just call him Clark.
All of this mayhem begins, of course, with Halloween. My sons love Halloween. They start talking about it when the first Halloween costume catalog arrives–typically around mid-August. My husband tried to set a family rule that no Halloween stuff can come up from the basement until September 15th. Nice try, Honey. We put out our pumpkin-y type stuff out on September 1st because we just cannot stand it any longer. The boys and I have brilliantly renamed this cache of pre-Halloween junk “Harvest decor”. Hah! Take that, Family Rules.
There are typically 2 camps of decorators: the normal folks and the all-in folks, like us (some of whom are currently downloading Lego designs for bats and pumpkins). But ask yourself this: how happy does it make your kids to see those incredibly decorated houses? Do they ask to drive by the house blanketed in glittering colored lights each year? Do they have jack-o-lantern envy of the neighbors who line their front stoop with perfectly carved pumpkins? Would they use their tooth fairy money to buy a giant inflatable turkey for your front yard?
When dealing with little kids, of course, the answer is yes-yes-yes. More usually equates to better for them, especially in the case of decorations. Have you ever let your child put the birthday candles on anyone’s cake? Total fire hazard.
And then think of this: you only have a few years where you get the honor of doing this, of reliving your own childhood through crazy decorations, of embracing the frenzy of energy that comes with the fall and the anticipation of all its celebrations. It’s way more fun to experience the holidays with little ones; they see holidays–all of them–as times of magic.
Our family has 14 years until our nest will be completely empty, only 10 years until our oldest leaves home. That’s only 14 more Halloweens to celebrate with at least one of our children living in the house with us. Only 14 more Decembers with a son at home each night to see the light-up reindeer fall over because his twisting head mechanism still doesn’t work right.
Fourteen is not a lot, people. Ten is even less. Now that’s scary.
So we’re off to stake the neon green inflatable skull in our front yard. Halloween’s only 36 days away, you know. And we’re going to be ready for it.
How about you?
Laura Bedingfield Herakovich hopes this post has opened the floodgates for all you Halloween lovers out there. Don’t be shy, folks. Someone has to be the first in the neighborhood to break out the ghouls.