Confession: I own almost as many decorations for Halloween as I do for Christmas. Next to “the most wonderful time of the year,” Halloween has to be my absolute favorite holiday. Reflecting my enthusiasm, my house always ends up looking like a witch gorged on caramel apples, candy corn, and spiders, went all Norman Bates on a pumpkin in my living room, and then threw up everywhere.
In Yukon, Oklahoma, where I live, the first Saturday in October marks the ever-popular Czech festival. I try to attend every year but look forward to the day for a different reason as well. For me, the festival marks the beginning of Fall . . . and the day I can officially bust out my Halloween decorations without feeling like I’ll be criticized for being overly zealous. I force my husband to march up to the attic and out to the shed to retrieve the bins and boxes, and I go to town.
Whether cute, crazy, or creepy, all of the pumpkins, witches, ghosts, figurines, garlands, and lights make me giddy. Just one glance at my living room filled with decorations or my kitchen table covered in autumn colors makes me breathe in a breath of fun and festivity. I even make it a point every year to either host a Halloween party or at least have people over, partially so I can show off my hard work in decorating and partially to appease my Halloween hosting bug that’ll keep itching until I scratch it.
Somehow the whole holiday makes me feel like a child again, or, in the very least, a teenager. Maybe that’s why I love Halloween so much. It generates in me the sense of carefree joy that we as adults have too often misplaced in our busy and stressful lives. But once a year we get to dress up and be whoever or whatever we want, eat a bunch of candy and treats guilt-free (it’s a holiday, so calories don’t count), watch creepy movies, and party “old-school” with our friends the way we used to when we were a kid. Or, if you have kids, you get to relive your childhood of trick-or-treating with them!
Okay . . . now for the audience participation! I’ve been teaching my 9th graders about writing with imagery and using words with strong connotation to create a mood (whether fun or creepy or both), so… let’s see what you got! I would love to hear you describe the way you decorate your homes for Halloween. Or, if it’s not so fantastic, feel free to embellish it or fabricate something altogether!
Here is a short excerpt from my young adult urban fantasy, Shadow Eyes, due for release February 3rd, that depicts the outside of a character’s home on the night of his Halloween party…
“Orange, green, and purple lights draped over bushes and surrounded tree trunks. A grave yard sprawled over half the lawn where skeletons peeked out in front of their tombstones, clawing the earth with their bony fingers. For added visual effect, a creepy green spotlight was illuminating the grim scene. A homemade, life-sized mummy with ketchup-bloodied rags had been hung from an awning and was pointing its stained, bandaged finger at us. From the driveway to the door, two flickering trails of small ghosts lit the way up the sidewalk. Cobwebs stretched out and attached themselves to outside walls, trees, bushes, and the entryway, and eerie Halloween music crept out the door to the chilled air outside.”Dusty Crabtree is the Author of Shadow Eyes, due for Euterpe release February 3, 2012!