Resisting the Halloween Spending Spooks

Next month I’ll be starting a new weekly feature, “Holiday Must-Haves.” It’ll showcase some of the myriad holiday-themed items retailers try to sell us. I’ll be posting a special Halloween edition later this week, but here’s a sneak peek at one of the items every tricked-out house should have. You do have special Halloween soap dispensers at every sink, right??

Meanwhile, back at the urban homestead I hung our autumn wreath on the front door this week. It’s about ten years old, and although last year I had to replace one of the miniature pumpkins because it was covered with mysterious little fingernail pock marks, otherwise the old relic is holding up remarkably well.

I also wrapped a strand of silk autumn leaves around the lightpole and draped another around the dining room chandelier. Voila! I thought. We’re all decked out for October and November.

Then I took a walk through our neighborhood.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this in your area, but a real trend seems to be developing to deck the halls for Halloween. Around here, many homes are festooned with outdoor lights in orange and purple. Ghosts hang from the branches of several trees. A couple of neighbors have converted their front yards to graveyards, and a family down the block has a giant inflatable witch waving in the wind.  Mummies, monsters and goblins lurk on porches. I see Jack O’Lantern flags, Halloween front door mats and plastic pumpkin porch light covers. One house is festooned with enormous purple spider webs and giant tarantulas.

If it sounds like I’m sitting in judgment over my creative and spirited neighbors, perhaps now would be a good time to mention that we have 16 bins — that’s right, 16 bins — of Christmas decorations in our garage. I’ll blog about that more in the weeks to come, but I’ve been trying really, really hard not succumb to the temptation to start a bin or two for Halloween.

The funny thing is, as I took my walk I found myself thinking, “We are shockingly behind in the Halloween decorating deparment. I really need to get with the program and buy some more decorations!” Fortunately, a little later my sanity returned. I’m not that crazy about Halloween anyway, and I am committed not to bring one more single holiday decorating item into our garage storage bins.

So why was I automatically drawn in to the notion that we need to buy some more stuff?  The truth is, we don’t. The people in my life, bless them, love me no matter what things I own or don’t own.

Which brings me back to Halloween. I think I’ve finally reached the point where I can appreciate others’ festive displays without feeling the urge to keep up or compete. We’ll carve pumpkins this week and keep our decorations simple, because that’s what works for us. How about you? Have you noticed that Halloween is getting more commercial, more complicated — and all about more? I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

4 comments to Resisting the Halloween Spending Spooks

  • Lynn

    It’s ridiculous! One house near us has three blowups, lights on every surface, yard picks, and decorations on the porch, trees, bushes….everywhere!
    Maybe eventually I will manage to get at least a few fall decorations up, but as a single mom of three kids who rarely gets home before 6:30, it certainly won’t be soon!

  • […] this week I wrote about the proliferation of Halloween-themed stuff in the stores. All I have to do is watch one episode of Hoarders and I’m instantly cured of […]

  • People around here also seem to be decorating more and more with the same things you mentioned: lights, yard take-overs, let alone what goes on INSIDE homes! I most appreciate the folks who do more “fall” kind of things rather than Halloween specific (hay bales, scarecrows, squash, etc.)

  • Pick your holiday, and it’s getting more that way – Halloween included.

    We do pumpkins, and I have a display of the unripened winter squashes from the garden. But we’ll eat the pumpkins [soup, baking], and there’s no way I’m buying ‘stuff’ to celebrate this holiday. Stuff is overrated.

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