Bit­ten by the Hal­loween dec­o­rat­ing bug

The Covington News - - Sunday living -

It all started with my fa­ther-in­law, Franken­stein and a witch. To­day, it looks like Char­lie Brown’s Great Pump­kin ex­ploded all over my house.

The pro­gres­sion was grad­ual, yet con­sis­tent. I loved the adorable witch and mon­ster that my hus­band’s fa­ther made for us, but I needed to find more Hal­loween dé­cor to ac­com­pany them on the front porch. This led to dis­cov­er­ing scads of gor­geous vin­tage Hal­loween art on­line, and think­ing up ways to dec­o­rate my house with them.

My mom is to blame for my love of sea­sonal home dec­o­rat­ing. When I talked to her about my plans, I found out that she still owned th­ese awe­some plas­tic Hal­loween lights she dis­played when I was small. She gave me one, an adorable black cat with a bright or­ange jack-o-lantern on his back. It’s nearly 40 years old but still looks brand new.

Still, it looked a lit­tle lonely on the en­ter­tain­ment cen­ter all by it­self, so my sis­ter Cherie scoured eBay for sim­i­lar lights. We were amazed to dis­cover that th­ese are real collectibles; with some pieces sell­ing at ten times the orig­i­nal cost. She bid on, and won, the cutest or­ange scare­crow lamp. He keeps the other one com­pany as they bathe my liv­ing room in a haunt­ingly warm or­ange glow.

I was soon con­sumed with Hal­loween dé­cor-itis; run­ning around like Martha Ste­wart on crack, paint­ing an old flow­er­pot or­ange and ask­ing my hus­band to gather dead sticks in the yard and spray paint them black. As usual, he thought I was nuts. But it all came to­gether to make a quite charm­ing lit­tle Hal­loween or­na­ment tree, all cov­ered in sparkly, hand­made baubles.

Even the boys’ bath­room isn’t safe from my manic sea­sonal redo. It sports an or­ange shower cur­tain printed with pump­kins and black cats, and a match­ing “Happy Hal­loween” bath­mat. I also made a valance top­per to match the char­ac­ters on the shower cur­tain, and placed a widely-grin­ning stuffed black cat on the shelf above the com­mode.

Maybe star­ing at that cat so many times a day has sub­lim­i­nally in­flu­enced Eli to dress up as a cat this Hal­loween. I’m all for that plan. A home­made cat cos­tume is dirt-cheap com­pared to the $50 Star Wars clone trooper out­fit he drooled over all sum­mer long.

Zach in­sists on be­ing Mas­ter Chief from the Halo 3 video game, not notic­ing how loudly that sets off my in­ner “chaching!” There are many ver­sions of the cos­tume, and nat­u­rally, he was drawn to the one that cost al­most as much as our house pay­ment.

I’ll give the child credit: he gasped ap­pro­pri­ately when he saw the price tag and knew bet­ter than to even think about ask­ing for it. But he’s still try­ing to coax me into buy­ing the ex­pen­sive full hel­met in­stead of the $7.99 half hel­met. I won’t cave on this one, be­cause I know my son. Five min­utes into trick-or­treat­ing and he’ll be com­plain­ing that the mask is hot or un­com­fort­able, and he’ll spend the rest of the night car­ry­ing it around. Then he’ll put it down some­where and we’ll never see it again, so I might as well only lose eight bucks on the deal.

What­ever hap­pened to sim­ple cos­tumes? When we were kids, Hal­loween went some­thing like this:

Ratty old clothes from Grandma’s at­tic: zero dol­lars.

Beard smudged on with mom’s dis­carded eye shadow: zero dol­lars.

Wrin­kled top hat from old dance recital: zero dol­lars.

Lit­tle hobo lug­ging home two buck­ets over­flow­ing with candy at the end of the night: price­less.

I hope Eli still wants us to make his cat cos­tume to­gether. I’m looking for­ward to paint­ing his face to look like a mean old wild­cat. It’s so much more imag­i­na­tive than set­tling for an over­priced cos­tume off the rack.

I’ll be hon­ing my face-paint­ing skills this Satur­day, Oct. 25, at the Olde Town Fall Fes­ti­val in Cony­ers. In ad­di­tion to the face paint­ing, my artist friend Ken­dra and I will be sell­ing sea­sonal crafts and prints of our art­work. So, come see me if you get the chance. But be­ware: my Hal­loween dé­cor-itis might still be con­ta­gious—and as far as I can tell, there is no cure.

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