Bitten by the Halloween decorating bug
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.