I know I’m at risk of reading too much into something that matters disproportionately to me, but I’ve been troubled by what appeared to be a significant drop in house and yard decorating in my community this Halloween.   In terms of outdoor decor, my town has always been more Christmas-oriented, but in past years you could always find at least a few houses on every block that put up orange lights, or a scarecrow, or a jack-o-lantern, or something.  But this year was different; you could drive from neighborhood to neighborhood on the big weekend and see nothing but darkness.

I tried to take comfort in the fact that the Midwest was buffeted by several consecutive days of near-record high winds last week; it’s possible that many people either took their decorations down, or decided not to decorate at all, because of the wind.  But the lady who cut my hair today offered a simpler and darker explanation.  She was talking about how the economy was affecting local people; saying that more than one man had cried in her chair while describing this impact on their families and lives. Her theory is that people are just depressed; they’re having a hard time getting in the spirit of a holiday at a time like this.  That’s a sad explanation, but it makes more sense than the wind. And it makes me wonder what Christmas is going to look like in my community this year.

As for me, Halloween is an obsessive calling.  I’ll keep lighting up my little corner of the world until the trick-or-treaters stop coming, or until, in a bleak future, religious extremists are finally able to outlaw Halloween along with homosexuality and immigration. I can’t help thinking that–especially in times like these–the world needs haunting.

2010 Haunt-inventory (outside items):

Giant Spiderweb for garage

Giant Spider (the right eye needs to be re-wired)

Jack-o-lantern covers for the garage lights

Light up Happy Halloween sign for garage

Light up witch sign for garage (shorted out)

Wooden Zombie Danger Level sign

Zombie torso and head to go with sign

Light-up skull and hands (2 sets)

6 ft. cardboard coffin

Orange LED lights for bushes on side of house

Purple LED lights for bushes in front of house

Pumpkin lights for bush by driveway

Cornstalks wrapped in orange LED lights by driveway

7 pumpkins (only had time to carve four)

Baby-skeleton hung in wire fish-trap cage

Small ghost on a wire in front of house

Ring of five ghosts dancing around front tree

Large 2D skull lights for front tree (2)

Assorted disposable spider webs in bushes (6 or 7)

Zombie groundbreaker with moving head (broken by middle-schoolers)

Skeleton groundbreakers (2)

Foam tombstones (7)

Small seasonal signs on stakes (5)

Small zombie warning signs (4)

Witch figure with lighted, smoking cauldron

Fog machine for cauldron

Large werewolf figure with moving head

Large dog-cage for werewolf

Large witch-queen figure with lighted eyes

Throne for witch-queen

Large strobe-lit monster cage for living room window

Monster figure for cage

Skull lights and skull mini-border fence

40 foot wooden cemetery fence

Skull-topped gate-posts with lighted eyes (2)

TomT will be posting under his real name here (at least part of it), in spite of the fact that this site already seems to be crammed-full of Toms. He is a suburban husband and dad doing Union work within public education in the Chicago area. Once in a great while he also posts diaries under the name “Skitters” on Daily Kos, and—during football season—he does his best to chronicle the dark history of a fairly-vicious fantasy league.

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