Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween popping up all over

It is not Halloween yet, but I can feel the excitement building in the neighborhood. I love Halloween.

I love standing outside on October 31st with my bucket of candy and greeting all the kids. I love seeing the parents who also dress up while they follow their little ones around on their first Halloween. I love watching these parents prompt their offspring to say the magic words "Trick or Treat", they then prompt them again to say "Thank You". Silly parents! Once the candy hits their little bag, the costumed Super Man or Dracula, or Princess got what they came for ... and they are on to the next door. I love sitting outside on a cool to cold evening with a hot cup of cider, wrapped in a shawl, watching the excitement of the kids as they walk up my sidewalk. Yes, Halloween is special.

Some of my neighbors really get into it with decorating their homes. This year I can hardly wait to see what they do. Creepy "Thriller" music plays loudly from one house, another house has a graveyard in the front and the residents greet the "Trick or Treaters" in costume. One year someone had a fog generator that kept the whole front terraced area filled with rolling waves of fog. It was very atmospheric!

I walk my neighborhood daily now and Halloween decorations are beginning to pop up down every street. It makes the walk so interesting. I missed this in past years. Either I wasn't walking or I wasn't looking, but I know I never saw the decorations of the surrounding neighborhoods.

These two pictured decorations belong to my next door neighbor. The spider on the front door was so cute. I stood there looking at it for a bit. I don't decorate, but I pondered if I should get something for my door.

Decorating for the various holidays used to be a passion for me. Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving. In fact, decorating for Christmas alone, used to take me several days. I spent tons of time unpacking decorations, setting them out, packing away other stuff (yes, I was a bit of a clutter bug), and then when the holiday was over, I reversed the process and it took days to undo what I did just 3 weeks prior.

Over the years I dropped all the decorations - except for Christmas. I still decorate for Christmas, but I limit it to one day of decorating. I discovered that all the decorations seemed to take the fun out of the holidays for me. No one in my family enjoyed helping decorate. I never got the feeling that they enjoyed the display of decorations. It didn't seem to add to their enjoyment of the holidays.

I remember one year, I decided that I needed to have a real tree for our Christmas Tree. My husband and I shopped for the tree - he didn't care which tree I picked - he said they all looked fine. But he did the heavy lifting, carrying the tree into the house for me. When I was ready to decorate the tree my son was home. I asked for his help getting the tree into the tree stand. He did his best to help, but the tree base was crooked making it difficult to mount it straight in the tree stand. After about 45 minutes of adjusting and swearing and adjusting again, I remember him stopping, looking up at me from the floor where he was struggling with the stand, and saying with a very straight face, "Could I get you to convert to being Jewish?"

The next year I decided to simplify.

And I made a very pleasant discovery! I was happier. I enjoyed everyone else's decorations and I enjoyed all the holidays more. Less effort, less stress, more satisfaction. So simple.

But it was so interesting to see the temptation arise in me to buy maybe just one Halloween door decoration or maybe a pumpkin. But the reality was, no one else in my family cared about it, and it didn't add that much to my enjoyment of the holiday.

No, I will pass on decorating. But I am so very glad that there are people who do this and enjoy the process. Yes, I can appreciate what others do and enjoy my own holidays without the added hub-bub!

I am so looking forward to Halloween!

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