Wednesday, October 24, 2012


DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm the first to admit I fall on the downside of Martha Stewart on the holiday decor. My idea of autumn/Halloween/Thanksgiving festivity is a pumpkin and a pot of mums on the front porch and my autumn-leaf wreath on the front door. I'm sure I put my neighbors to shame, but really, when did decorating your house for Halloween get to be as big--if not bigger--than Christmas?

People spend hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars and countless hours arranging displays of orange and purple lights, ghoulies, ghosties, cobwebs, spiders, black cats (quite unfairly discriminated against, in my opinion) and all manner of things that go bump in the night.  Not to mention the requisite zombie.

Halloween stores pop up everywhere, their displays magically replaced on November 1st by Christmas decor.

 Is this burst of enthusiasm for making the most of All Hallow's Eve a reflection of the current cultural fascination with vampires, zombies, and witches? Or vice versa?

Or is it just us puny humans finding another way to thumb our noses at the coming of dark days, as we have since time immemorial? 

Whatever the reason, it's certainly an outlet for creativity, and although you may have seen this alien crash scene floating around on Facebook, I'm including it because it gets my top marks for whimsey.

So what about you, REDS and readers? Do you embrace the zombie apocalypse?

(This year I may have to at least put up a cobweb...)     


  1. Sorry, ghosties, ghoulies, zombies, and all manner of things that go bump in the night are not our thing and they don’t find their way to our front yard. We have a wooden/straw farm girl decoration that was made for us; we put her on the porch . . . some patchwork pumpkins, a pumpkin basket inside and we’re done . . . Halloween just doesn’t generate any “let’s-go-all-out-with-the-decorations” around here.

  2. I'm a Halloween freak, with more black, orange, slime green and purple decorations than red and green ones, by a factor of, well, let's just say a factor. :-) My favorite kind of Halloween decor is elegant, more than gory, emphasizing the eerie, with lots of spiders, skulls, skeletons, and more gravestones than in our actual, farm cemetery.

    But... I do not do zombies. Blech, ptooey.

  3. I put my home-grown pumpkins on the front steps, all three to be carved on Halloween.

    It's Christmas that gets me. All those neighbors going absolutely nuts with mangers, entire galaxies, four million lights burning energy. My wife won't let me (yet), but I've always wanted to put a big, lighted sign on my roof about Dec. 15: BAH HUMBUG!

  4. I love Halloween! Back in the day when my husband and I worked for big companies we'd have H'ween parties that could get pretty outrageous - full costumes required, merriment prevailed. (I still have the wigs, bones, Bates Motel neon, etc. in my garage.) But I don't decorate the outside of the house anymore. The first few years that we lived here I did. Not one trick or treater in 20 years. And we wound up eating all the candy ourselves. Not good.

    But I love when other people do it. It's fun! I have embraced the zombie apocolypse in other ways though. last year I made my hubby dress as Rick Grimes (the cop from Walking Dead) and I was a walker for a H'ween party. This year we're going high concept.

    Two funny notes - one year I'd sprinkled plastic bones in the driveway leading up to the house. i thought i'd collected all of them but the following spring a gardener found one and nearly had a heart attack.
    This may be harder to visualize - there are stick-on plastic hands, four fingers really, that you can attach to a door so it looks like someone is behind the door about to open it. I forgot I left one on the bathroom door and a week after the party a houseguest called me at work to say she nearly freaked.
    May be time for another party. Where did I put those...

  5. We don't decorate for any holiday. Occasionally I can get some white lights up outside the house in December, but we've never decorated for Halloween. (Like Rosemary, we bought lots of candy the first couple years and ate it all ourselves, so we don't bother with anything anymore.)

    We have some friends who look forward to Halloween all year and go all out, spending weeks ahead of time collecting dead tree branches to litter throughout their yard. It's fun to look at, I suppose ... but I really don't get it. And I'm with you, Deb, when did Halloween become This Big Holiday that we must celebrate for a month?!

  6. I live in a NYC apartment building where the parents of little kids bring the little ones around Halloween night for a handout - if you've signed up on the elevator! I think I'm the only resident who puts up a picture on my door - this year from a Woman's Day cover - noone ever mentions it, but I get a kick out of it! Thelma in Manhattan

  7. Ro, so what's the high concept this year? Do tell!!!

    When our daughter was younger we used pumpkin carving kits and made some fabulous jack-o-lanterns, but we don't do it anymore. Sigh. Not enough time, etc., although we'd be more motivated if we knew we'd have lots of little trick-or-treaters. We usually have a few, but turn our lights out after 7:30 or 8:00, when the little ones are finished and we start getting gangs of teenagers.

  8. The Munchkin loves Halloween so the inside of my house is decorated. There's a graveyard in my living room, lights around the doors, and some very realistic spider hanging from the ceiling. A very fetching zombie is sitting by the piano in my black skirt.

  9. Pumpkins, yes.

    Our of our good pals made a--really, forgive me it's awful--creature that looked like a stabbed corpse of someone famous (I cant even say it, it's too creepy but it was a woman and she's a royal) and put in on their front porch in the Adairondack chair.

    DO not try his at home--someone called the police.

    That's why I stick with pumpkins. (What I love about Halloween is the Twizzlers.)

    ANd I adore seeing liite kinds on cosutrme. I can't get enough butterflies and princesses and Spidermen.

  10. HAve you seen the pumpkin photo where it looks like the jack o lantern is throwing up? It's fabulous...

  11. Halloween has become more fun than Christmas in my neighborhood what with all the decorations - across the street my neighbor Jean has the goose on her front steps dressed up as a witch and ghosts dancing on the lawn; next door my neighbor Jane has an RIP tombstone and a skeletal hand reaching up out of the ground.

    We get loads of trick-or-treaters -- but here's the question: Do you buy candy that you LIKE or that you DON'T LIKE.

  12. There haven't been trick or treaters in my condo complex in many years. I love seeing the kiddies and miss them. When my mom was still living ,I would go to her house for Halloween because there were lots of kids in her neighborhod, and they made it to every house on her block.

    I don't decorate for Halloween at home (I decorate my workspace at the office), except that every couple of years I remember to take the skeleton out of my closet and sit it/her (I think it's a Her...a great-grandmotherly type, perhaps) up in a chair or at the dining table. She wears a sweatshirt from a national park - the shirt is too big for me. (It's REALLY big on her, but she doesn't complain). Last week when I reached into the closet for a jacket, the skeleton fell out. Maybe this is a reminder that she wants to come sit in a chair for a couple of weeks.

    At work, I still have Christmas decorations up from last year. They cheer me up, so they're staying. I've added spiders, bats,and mice for Halloween. We have a year-round office skeleton named Tiffany, dressed in a princess outfit. She presides over our coffee corner. If you have guessed that she was my contribution, you are correct. I decided that we might as well have some fun at work...we spend most of our waking hours there.(My coworkers tolerate me).

    Naturally, I dress up for Halloween!

  13. Hallie, we buy candy that we LIKE. It's usually the only time of year we buy candy. Hershey's Kisses, and those miniature Hershey's chocolates. After Halloween they go out in a bowl where guests and husband (and sometimes me) nibble throughout the holidays.

    Least favorite Halloween candy? Candy corn. Ugh.

  14. Deb Romano, I always think of my mom on Halloween. She's still living, but has been in a nursing home for a number of years. But she loved seeing the little trick-or-treaters. We have porch swings on our porch, so before Mom got so ill, we would bring her over on Halloween and we would sit on the swings and hand out candy. She never saw a princess or a pirate she didn't love, and it was one of the highlights of the year for her.

  15. I love Halloween, mostly because it signals the start of the holiday season. Even though I don't decorate much or do much in general, I love the feel of the season--leftover childhood feelings, I suppose.

    The downstairs neighbor in my condo complex rigged out the stairwells with orange lights and cobwebs and plastic spiders and all manner of cool Halloween stuff. She apologized, but I love it. Just glad I didn't have to decorate myself!

    I will once again be optimistic and buy a couple of bags of candy...Will I end up eating them myself? Only the shadow knows!

  16. Oh, Lisa, please don't tell me Halloween is the start of the holiday season. If people expect me to start saying "Merry Christmas" before Thanksgiving, just kill me now.

    We have also not had any treaters at our house in a couple decades. I even used to set a bowl out, with full-sized candy bars and a sign: Help yourself. No takers.

    We usually have a Halloween bash every couple of years. Last year was my 60th in October, so the party was then, and this year my brother is getting married on the logical day to have a party, this Saturday. I tried, in vain, to get them to at least have a Halloween theme, but the spoilsports wouldn't go for it. Sheesh.

  17. I buy candy that I like...knowing that there will not be any trick or treaters at the door. I bring the candy to work and send out an email to people in the office that they can come over to my desk to help themselves. I hope that they WILL,so that I won't end up eating it all myself! Right now I have Butterfingers. Next week I will buy whatever is on sale, hoping it will be Reese's Peanut Butter Cups,preferably with the dark chocolate!

    Let me see if capcha attempt three will get me anywhere. (Is this some sort of Halloween trick?)

  18. Hi Karen in Ohio, oh no -- I agree, no Christmas yet! I just meant in the general sense of Halloween festivities/decorations rolling into autumnal/Thanksgiving rolling into Christmas. One long holiday (or should I say "holidaze") season. Happy memories.

  19. Hallo'ween is a great fun thing. We stopped putting out goodies a few years ago. No kids, sad.
    But Xmas is so special. Love every minute of the festivities.
    Still have that excited feeling of anticipation. love the lovely choirs singing carols. The candles, the mulled wine, the roasted chestnuts, the kids delirium, the food. Never do I feel too old at eighty- five to revere this wonderful and spiritual time of year. Not a fan of zombies, ho hum!

  20. Mmmm dark chocolate - I completely agree on candy corn (feh) -- this year I see candy corn in different flavors (purple, green...) it's still feh.

    I do love roasted chestnuts...

  21. I'm a big fan of the chocolate--why else would I buy several giant packs when only about three kids make it up the hill to my house?
    My decoration stretches as far as the pumpkin and some cute pumpkin lights. But nothing scary and certainly no cobwebs.


  22. I have to confess I still haven't bought my pumpkins.

    I used to dread Halloween when the kids were small because I have absolutely no arts and crafts skills.

    I hang up a few decorations my aunt clare sent me years ago (inside the house), I give out candy and I call it a holiday.

    But I absolutely LOVE The derailed UFO on the lawn and wish I were a little more fun.

  23. Jan, I'm so with you on the arts and crafts thing. I dreaded Halloween when my daughter was little because I could not make a costume to save my life!

    She inherited my traits--I swear she can't sew on a button, and I can at least do that.

    Now that she's grown up, she rents her Halloween costumes.

  24. Oh Debs, "a pumpkin and a pot of mums on the front porch" is a stretch for me, but an "autumn-leaf wreath on the front door" is beyond my decorating talent! I will eat the candy, though. We buy the candy that we like. After all, we have adult children who turn not-so adult for the holidays and it would be too sad if they had to face Halloween without Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, baglets of candy corn, or tiny boxes of Jelly Bellies.

  25. Well, Debs, you're ahead of me if you've got a pumpkin and a pot of mums on the front porch and an autumn wreath on the door. I just set the pot of mums they gave me at this library event on our front porch, and that's it this year. (Usually I have homegrown pumpkins and a couple of straw bales with lots of pots of mums.)

    Like so many of you, we have practically no little kids any longer coming for trick or treat. So we buy the candy we like and put it out in a glass bowl after Halloween is over. (NO candy corn.)

  26. Can't decorate with pumpkins, too many end up smashed in the road. Only Halloween decorating we do is to put my brother on the front porch dressed like a farmer (overalls, flannel shirt) with a werewolf head and claws. He sits very still and when the kids ring the bell, he growls menacingly and swipes his paws at them. Hilarious to watch the reactions of the approximately 200 kids and parents that invade our neighborhood yearly.