It's October 24. A week before Halloween. That means that I've just spent the better part of the past five weeks in my annual pre-Halloween battle of wills with the forces of evil, those that would turn my house and yard into a vision of unspeakable horror. Okay, not the forces of evil exactly, but of pretty bad decorating. I'm referring to my Halloween-loving kids, who would like nothing better than to have the house and yard look like a Halloween theme park. A house of horrors. The sort of place that makes small children run away shrieking and grown men cringe.
This happens every year. It's several long weeks of tit for tat. I hang my smiling plastic pumpkins along the handrails, and the next time I look, they're gone, replaced by shrunken heads. They attach the decal of a ghoul to the front door, and I take it down and replace it with one of a cute black kitten with a black and orange bow. I put a pair of smiling jack-o-lanterns near the front steps, and the next time I look, they're gone. A sinister looking pumpkin sits in their place, and, for good measure, Ma Bates, their life-size skeleton, relaxes nearby, propped up in a lawn chair. And, this time she's wearing one of my dresses and something that looks awfully like my new scarf. And so it goes. They replace my decorations. I replace theirs. Until I finally insist that this is my home, and I won't spend weeks living in a house that looks like it's inhabited by the Addams family. Cute and cheery Halloween decor is fine. Creepy and scary isn't.
I'm not a total party pooper, though. Honest. I like Halloween. They're free to decorate their rooms any way they want. All year round, for that matter. But the rest of the interior is mine to decorate. And the week before Halloween, I give them free rein to decorate the outdoors as well. Before you can say Frankenstein's assistant, the front door and windows are covered with creepy decals and construction paper creations, while the front lawn is littered with fake spider webs, wispy ghosts, plastic tombstones, and, of course, Ma Bates again, possibly looking quite lovely in another of my outfits. When they're finally done, I just sit back and wait for the trick-or-treaters, confident that I've protected my home for yet another year from the sinister forces of very bad decorating.
So what about you? Do you decorate for Halloween? If so, how?