Driving down Government Street in Mobile on the second week of August I liked to have popped my pearls. There, in front of an old historic home was a lawn full of Halloween decorations. Not just pretty pumpkins and stalks of dusty corn, but the yell-in-your-face variety of blow up, blinking, billowing vampires, goblins and skeletons.
As much as I detest such things, I was surprised that a sense of peace and happiness flooded my soul. If I had squinted hard enough and clenched my jaw, I could have almost made it into a religious experience because in the midst of the pandemic, it was a joyful reminder that everything’s going to be okay. The world is still spinning and children still love candy and adults still like driving me crazy by putting out their decorations at the wrong time of the year. I smell normalcy in the air.
I have always wanted to run for public office on a platform of sticking to the calendar for holidays. I would promote celebrating summer all the way up to midnight on the equinox and would make it a crime to put your Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving. Everyone would be required take an oath to never wear white shoes after Labor Day — enforced by the National Guard.
“Purpose, Planning and Procedure” are the names of my imaginary triplets. I got a big thrill when I married someone named after Robert’s Rules of Order. This chaotic pandemic has rocked my world, but whoa, Nellie . . . Halloween gives me a reason to plan and make lists.
Individually wrapped candy has been the standard treat for years and perhaps the homeowners could dress as Michael Jackson with a mask and one glove. Grab a glass of tea, I’ll continue to brainstorm.
The children will dress in costumes that use masks. “I’m a doctor!” “I’m a surgeon!” “I’m a dentist!” “I’m a princess who is moonlighting as a neurologist!” (give her extra M&M’s for incorporating the mask with a ball gown).
In recent years, Halloween has been snatched away by those who want to focus on the dark side instead of the innocence of playing dress-up and visiting your neighbors for candy that everyone knows Mom will eat later that night. Where I live, it’s still a fun night of visiting your neighbors and looking at not-so-scary costumes, except every time a little boy shows up as a football player for the “other” team, I scream in mock fright. “Couldn’t you get into a good school?” I ask him. Then I give him extra candy for looking confused – typical of the other school’s students.
I say we need a good-all-American wholesome Halloween this year more than ever. We need families to stroll their neighborhoods with flashlights and we need dogs to howl in backyards because they hear children squealing with laughter. We need sticky teeth from caramels. We need pumpkins and cornstalks and yes, just for this year only, I say we even need the blow-up jiggling thing-a-ma-bobs dancing willie-nilly in the wind. We need it all because we just need to plan on a little bit of innocent fun.
Find and share this story to your favorite Halloween lover on AL.com online HERE and in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.
Like you, I’m more prone to real pumpkins and maybe a vignette featuring a couple of hay bales and some mums, but have learned to appreciate the sometimes questionable choices of others when it comes to fall decorations. I do however, draw the line at those awful orange leaf bags with a jack o lantern face!
We all have our limits, right?
Ahh… I love this post about “having FUN again” and cheers to the folks displaying their Halloween to brighten everyone’s day who happens by!!! We need more of this not only for our little ones, but us too!! ? I’ve always loved Halloween and love decorating for it as well as other holidays. In fact, I’m currently working on a faux gingerbread house and expect to see a few inches of snow any day now!! Merry Christmas! ? ❄️❄️?
What a great idea to go ahead and make your gingerbread house now. Everything is always so rushed at Christmastime. I wish we had something “August-y” to use for decorations so we didn’t have to skip ahead to Halloween, but alas, schoolhouse decor only goes so far. I’m sticking with summer things for a while, but I am truly ready for some fun. – thanks for the note!
I think that old photographs of my children in their Halloween costumes makes my heart mush even more than ones of them dressed for Easter Sunday. Is that bad? I’m even all teary eyed looking at your sons in theirs!
I want to feel the same excitement of it getting close to Autumn that I always have but I’m having to dig for it, old October magazines pulled out. Is it like we’re afraid to count on it? How are you feeling?
Yes, those costumes are so great because they really reflect their personalities – hence, the little skunk in my family. He thought of the costume himself and I stuffed the tail with crinkled up grocery bags from Delchamps! He wore it until it was too hot to stand – into the next spring. I guess I have hope for a better day down the road, but that’s just me. When I see others with great worry and sadness and troubles I don’t have, it puts a weight on my heart. Keep reading those old magazines and drink some (iced) cider until true fall arrives! It will get better! Thanks Dewena.
Just the other day one of my grandsons, who is 8, said, “I guess there won’t be Halloween this year…” Oh goodness, it made me so sad!! 3 cheers to the Mobile family for celebrating Halloween, a much loved holiday that we are currently experiencing as everyone looks in costume with their masks and gloves…I know some neighborhoods were putting up Christmas decorations in attempts to keep things “Merry” during this time, and I’m all for anything that brings hope and joy!
Fingers crossed that the double storms churning in the Gulf won’t cause too much damage in our areas, seriously the last thing we need right now!! Stay safe and well Leslie Anne…
I feel so sad for your grandson and all the other children who are thinking this way. You’ll have to pull out all the fun decorations and give him a good memory! Hunker down for the storms, and I hope you remain safe!
Omg great minds think alike!! Any mental change is good and fall and Halloween are just the thing it get our minds off all the other;) Who knows I might be putting my Christmas tree up right after Halloween! Love your story and you!!
I may be right there with you, even though I always have a live Christmas tree, this year, I’m seriously tempted to get an artificial tree so I can put it up early. We’re like crying babies who need to be distracted with something shiny! (ooo! That’s good – I may have to use it again!).
“Couldn’t you get into a good school?” – cracked me up. Good one. thanks.
Thanks Dana. Happy Early Halloween to you!
Thank you for putting all of that into a positive perspective for me! Everybody on their blogs and Instagram are showing pictures of their homes decorated for Fall. Fall…in mid August. It’s 100 degrees here, the grass needs to be mowed, two tropical systems are brewing at the same time. It’s not Fall, people! But right now the world does need more Lil Stinkers and mini Crocodile Dundees’! I can’t wait!! Stay safe, sweet Leslie Anne.
It’s a great day when you and I get to wag our fingers and plan a party at the same time! Hahahahaha! Happy Back-to-school-August-Hurricane-Halloween!
Oh what a good thought – Halloween – cooler weather, pumpkins, costumed children! Here’s to a healthy, safe October 31!
And the cooler weather . . . yes! We had such a great long spring, autumn will be a treat not a trick. Happy almost halloween to you Julia!