Like many of my fellow New England residents, fall is my favorite season and the beautiful color extravaganza is one of the perks of living here. But I have an autumn-related confession to make. Can I share it with you? I hate Halloween.
When I was a kid, of course I enjoyed Halloween. It was only until about the last decade or so that I really started disliking it. When I was a little, my mother painstakingly sewed the most adorable Halloween costumes for us. There was nothing she couldn’t create with a Singer pattern and some fabric and accessories from Woolworth’s. All I had to do was name it, and my mother made it. Raggedy Ann? Princess? Not a problem. There was even one year I was a nun, much to the delight of the real ones at my Catholic school. After school, my mother would take us trick or treating and then we’d return home to a nice dinner. Everyone in our neighborhood went TOT right after school. It’s just how we did it. It wasn’t until I was living here in Connecticut that I learned TOT doesn’t begin until after dark. Who knew?
Back in my day, we celebrated both the whimsical and spooky aspects of the season, but there was a balance. Sure, some people leaned towards the macabre with their décor. There were skeletons and giant spiders and witch-themed items here and there. But when I was little, I never feared going into the stores with my mother during the month of October because the Halloween décor for sale was so grotesque and nightmare-inducing that I might never sleep again. When my children were little, I can recall a few times when I wandered into a seemingly “safe” store, only to be greeted by a life-size decapitated figure that moved or some sinister zombie mannequin that made my daughter shriek so loudly that we had to leave. (I don’t blame her--I also wanted to leave.)
When did it all shift from a little spooky to downright gross? I can’t fathom why someone would want to decorate the outside of their home with frightfully realistic severed limbs, demented clown faces and the like. I get it--some people like a good scare, and I don’t. I’d never infringe on anyone’s right to decorate their lawn as they see fit, instead I make a mental note of where the over-the-top displays in my town are (and believe me, even in bucolic New England, there are plenty) and I avoid them at all costs.
As for the decorations on display outside our house, I purchase most of them at the grocery store: mini pumpkins, gourds, dried
corn cobs . . . you catch my drift. Admittedly, they are not the most edgy decorations, but they make me happy. My family has accepted my quirks when it comes to Halloween, but little did I know the universe had one final spooky surprise in store for me. My daughter, the one who was terrified of all the displays as a child, loves Halloween. Really loves it. Her favorite movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas and she’d have a wall-to-wall mural in her room of Jack and Sally if I’d let her. (Never going to happen.) I’m not a complete stick in the mud. I made a pilgrimage to Home Goods and picked up a black glitter twig tree with a burlap base and a few small decorations and placed them on the bookcase in her room. See … I can be spooky when I want to be.