The night glows with a just-past-full moon and jack o’lantern fairy lights festoon doorways and rooftops. The haunting season flourishes in the suburban area around my home. Or, as I like to call it, the Orange Holiday season.
The decoration mania surprises me, but not too much; after all, the “holiday stores” have been open since September. Blowsy fake cobwebs, oversized spiders with glowing green eyes, lookalike headstones planted in lawns—this is my America. In the suburbs, skeletons walk, pumpkins grin, a big ol’ spider hovers, and a tree posing as an owl supervises this nighttime array. Ceramic faux pumpkins laughed while I wrangled a tugging dog. One house even had a “laser show” with green ghosts flying around on the brickwork. Yes, flying. It moved! These are not Martha Stewart’s tasteful decorations; most of the ones I see are plastic, with LEDs, and reside in the dictionary under the word “tacky.”
Now this may not look so odd to you, but this display startled me. I was walking the dog down a sparsely lit side road and had forgotten to bring a flashlight. Peering ahead to prevent tripping over broken sidewalk, I noted which houses were completely dark and eerie. [An aside: Indoctrinated by the 1970s advertising campaign, “To Stop a Thief, Light a Light” promoted by Duquesne Light, dark houses look menacing to me, awaiting Bad Things To Happen. Note Chilly Billy on the same page.]
The houses that were lit loomed out of the darkness. Nearing the end of the block, the dog lunged for a car, yanking me closer to the Halloween house. He paused to sniff and I paused to click. How could I not? Ceramic faux pumpkins laughed while I wrangled the tugging dog. Will they attract many more trick or treaters banging at their door on October 31st?
What is this fetish to decorate the house exterior? If all the decor is outside, does one feel more festive inside? Why? You can’t see it if you are not outside!
If you don’t go the plastic or ceramic route, you can always carve your own pumpkins. (With all the pumpkins purchased, does anyone eat them or the seeds?) Have you noticed there are now professional pumpkin carving master tool sets for sale? This is a thing! “Sick of buying new pumpkin carving tools every year — only for them to break yet again?” the article asks. I didn’t know. I’m terribly behind the times, especially what is now “in” for the Orange Holiday. The dog does not care.
Soon the Orange Holiday will pass. If I recall correctly from walking the dog this way last year, this particular home will be ready for the “Red & Green” holiday soon, decked with rows of jolly candy canes lining the walk. We mark our seasons by the colors of the holidays. More on that observation later.