Hang on to your witch hats, everyone, because we’re midway through October, and the Ditto party train is full speed ahead until spring.
I love fall, but with its advent is ushered in a relentless eight months straight of holidays and birthdays in our family with their accompanying decorations, gifts and expectations.
I feel weary just thinking about it. First, there’s Halloween, then two birthdays less than a week later. Thanksgiving rolls around with its do-gooding and overeating, and then we celebrate our anniversary, Christmas, New Year’s and a birthday all in the span of about two weeks.
From there, it’s a steady march of almost biweekly celebrations: Valentine’s Day, birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, birthday, Easter, birthday, birthday. By the time June rolls around, I am leaping with joy on the graves of holiday decorations past relishing the coming four months with relatively little to celebrate. That sounds bad; I promise, I’m not a horrible person.
I go all-out for Christmas: hand-stitched stockings, a 12-foot Christmas tree, wreaths, garlands, nativities and construction paper Santas collected throughout my kids’ 12 years and counting in the public school system. Christmas is a holiday I can really sink my teeth into, you know? But Valentine’s Day? St. Patrick’s Day? Bah humbug.
More specifically, though, I have disappointed my kids for years with my lack of effort in the Halloween decorating department. My style is more “tasteful autumn vignette” and less “murder house,” and they don’t seem to appreciate that at all. “This is it?” they’ll blandly ask when they come home to find I’ve put up our decorations for the holiday.
“What do you mean, ‘This is it’?” I’ll say defensively, gesturing grandly at the four or five doodads I’ve scattered throughout the room. “Look at the giant velveteen spider that appears to be climbing down the picture above the mantel!
“And you can’t tell me you aren’t impressed with the vases that I’ve filled with alternating layers of black and white dried beans that Martha Stewart said – and I quote – ‘would be a very classy Halloween decoration.’ ”
“You know what would be awesome?” one kid will say to his siblings, completely ignoring my decor explanation. “We should fill the whole field in front of our house with zombie scarecrows.”
“What’s a zombie scarecrow?” I’ll ask naively, again stymied by middle age and common sense.
“Hmmm, I’m not sure. Just a regular scarecrow with blood dripping from its face?” another kid will reply. “It’s hard to describe, but you’ll know it when you see it.”
“I’m not sure I want an army of bloody zombie scarecrows welcoming friends and family to our cozy farmhouse,” I’ll say.
Again, ignored. “We could have one zombie look like it’s coming to life when someone walks by!” someone will yell, way more into this idea than the tasteful black faux-feather wreath I have hanging from our front door.
“Alexa, how do you make a zombie scarecrow come to life?” someone will yell across the room, and I will officially have lost all control of the Halloween decor situation. It’s a loss I’m willing to bear because while all the kids are busy trying to cook up a better plan, I will be hiding in the pantry and eating all the Halloween candy that’s been stashed there for two weeks.
If I happened to buy a bag of Pixie Sticks and Sweet Tarts, there will be a problem. Those kinds of candy are about as tempting to me as dog doo. But if, in a moment of weakness and denial, I bought a giant bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers and Twix, then heaven help the child who tries to separate me from my stash.
My guess is they’d rather face the wrath of a just-come-to-life zombie scarecrow. And at the rate we’re going, they just might.
Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at email@example.com.