My Family (a long time ago)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...Halloween?

There are some people that decorate their house for everything these days. Decorating for Halloween seems to be getting as big as Christmas. People have lights in their house and outside of their house, they have lawn and tree decorations, and they put them up at the beginning of October. It even looks like people are starting to try to outdo their neighbor, just like they do at Christmas.

There’s a house near me that has candles with orange lights in every window and orange lights in their trees. They also have cob webs, spider webs and bats in their trees, and there are about 10 pumpkins in their yard. Another house I go past on my way to work has lights in the windows and trees, and four interlocking ghosts around the base of a tree, looking like they’re praying to it. A third house has skeletons hanging by their necks and a cardboard cutout tombstone in the front yard. That’s a lot of stuff and it’s all store bought.

I remember the “good old days”, when Halloween was for the kids and mostly by the kids. In my house we used to make our own decorations, some at school and some at home. We would draw and/or color our own jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, bats, skeletons, witches, and other assorted monsters, and hang them up in the front windows. My Dad brought home these huge rolls of paper so we had plenty of it to work on. The paper wasn’t too thick, so we could also trace pictures out of coloring books or magazines and then color them in. We did our best work and then we’d tape them to the front windows. We’d even go outside and admire our work so we could see how awesome it looked from other people’s points of view.

It wasn’t just my family either. Every house with kids had homemade decorations hanging in the windows. As I went around the neighborhood on Halloween night, filling my bag with chocolaty goodness, I checked out the art work, too. I compared and critiqued, and I usually thought ours were the best, but there were a few here and there that were just as good. Not better, but just as good. After all, I thought that we were quite the artistes.

Personally, I think these homemade decorations were way better than what people buy today. Not because they were higher quality, but because the kids did them. Instead of the parents spending hundreds of dollars buying decorations, the kids spent hundreds of minutes making their own decorations. It didn’t matter if you were a great artist or not, most of us weren’t, myself included. The pictures and drawings we put in our windows were ours and we were proud of them.

Another thing about Halloween in the “good old days”: we weren’t trying to scare the snot out of everybody. There were no realistic looking severed limbs or decapitations and there was very little blood and gore. Sure, there were ghosts and Frankensteins, but that’s about as far as it went. I see stuff today that I wouldn’t have wanted to see when I was a kid and wouldn’t have wanted my kids to see when they were little. When I was younger, it was all about the fun and the candy, not the lights and paraphernalia, and certainly not the scare factor. Since Halloween is really for the kids, isn’t that the way it should be?

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