When you decorate outside for holidays such as Halloween, do you select a theme based on your own tastes or on your kids' (or some of both)? As I drive around and observe people's Halloween decorations, collecting funny Halloween pictures to share with you -- as a source for decorating ideas -- I can't help but wonder whose brainchildren these decorations are.
That's because I see a lot of care and expense lavished on Halloween decorations. Many displays are quite skillfully put together. I'm talking about displays that go well beyond what I remember kids putting together (back in my day). The elaborate nature of these displays suggest adult involvement (although the general theme could still be kid-chosen, to be sure).
As a child, I used to stuff old clothes with autumn leaves, then mount a plastic jack o' lantern head on top: it was similar to the standard "garden scarecrow" design that I still see around occasionally -- and about as simplistic as it gets. I didn't even provide my scarecrow with a support pole, allowing him, instead, merely to recline on the front porch. One year, I decided to get a bit more creative. Not only did I give my scarecrow boots (old winter boots that no longer fit me), I also suspended him from some poles, using saplings cut from the woods out back. But my dad nixed the display and made me take it down, saying that it looked like I had "hung somebody." Well, at least I scored points for realism, I guess!
But getting back to the matter of trying to determine who is responsible for choosing the Halloween decorating theme for this or that yard in the neighborhood, the kids or the adults.... Really, now that there's more of an emphasis on adults "staying young" (keeping in touch with one's inner child), it's anybody's guess as to who came up with the decorating theme, in any given case. Maybe adults have a better sense of humor than they used to -- or maybe some of us just have more spare time.
Many adults are rediscovering child-like pursuits such as kickball. Kickball was one of my favorites in gym class when I was in middle school. I craved the feel -- and even the smell -- of the medicine ball. I thrilled at the thought of driving the ball off the gymnasium wall (or of perhaps striking a ceiling light, like a batter in baseball belting one off the light tower), sending it ricocheting in who knew what direction.
In fact, you wouldn't have to twist my arm to get me involved in a game of kickball today, and I suspect many of you feel the same way. So while I have you "thinking young," take a look at my funny Halloween pictures. Who knows? You may even fess up to the fact that you were the mind behind that fantastic Halloween display that's been gracing your lawn this autumn....
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Photo ©2006 David Beaulieu (licensed to About.com)