If you don’t have kids…Halloween can be tough…how to do it, how to acknowledge it. Then there are those who embrace Halloween and Day of the Dead with a festive passion–kids or no kids—that results in wild costume parties, elaborate home décor , Mexican celebrations of the deceased and yard art that will rival the Adams Family!!!
We have a neighbor who goes all out. Every year she accumulates more and more yard art of the most ghoulish and ghastly manner that we adults are “wierded out” by the amazing, effectively creepy display. The kids, for the most part, think she is the “best lady in the neighborhood” (to quote Katarina a few years ago) because, in addition to her incredible presentation unfolding the entire month prior to Halloween night, she opens her garage on Halloween and gives out the most incredible free gifts, toys, dolls, and games to all the kids.
But I digress…my point is that even if you don’t embrace the holiday for all its fantasy and gore you certainly can find an amicable expression of it to adorn your door or entry table and feel that you are participating if not reveling in…
I elected years ago to hang a golf prize that I won which was a door decor of branches and silk autumnal leaves accented with a real feathered black crow and festooned with a big autumn-inspired bow. I love crows. But a would-be dead (albeit fake one with real feathers) one on my door was only a default as result of having won it—not having fallen in love with it, buying it and bringing it home. It’s funny though, I cannot remember what I had prior to my crow.
But it bugged me. Not enough to take affirmative action, but it was always lurking in my mind as I extracted it from the closet each year bemoaning to myself the fact that I was too lazy to do anything about it. That is a perfect example of one not taking an active interest in a holiday.
As it happened, one day I found a funky cat thing…here is a photo. It is not scary and not literal but fun enough to make me smile and Halloweeny enough to do the trick, (no pun intended). He is the obligatory back cat and he sports a welcome sign and is adorned with painted tin accents of orange and black whiskers, eyes, nose and ears…Yes, I could have made him. But I didn’t.
Now as a designer this all sounds pretty lame. If you were looking for a DIY project—look elsewhere—except for the actual fact that I do like making wreaths and have one alongside my cat which moves to the primary door once Halloween is over.
Yes, I do like making wreaths, but I am not going to give you a step-by-step on how to do so…there are plenty of those. But I will say that big bold statements of the season are fun. Mine is not the biggest nor the boldest—but it works in colorful contrast to my pair of black front doors and I do not have to re-make it every year—that is a choice, (not an obligation) and this current one will last for a decade or two—unless I am struck by the wild hair of DIY that takes me to the craft store for a new rendition—don’t bet on it anytime too soon. Also I could have made two for the pair of doors—but this exercise coincided with finding the cat and therefore I did the cat on one side and the wreath on the other. A more thorough “designer” move would have been to make two wreaths and have one held back until the cat retired after Halloween and properly balance both doors with a handsome pair of seasonal wreaths. NOT. This is a designer’s “do as I say and not as I do.”
But much of this might be like the busman’s holiday—I love what I do and I decorate and design for others daily—I know that many of my peers immerse themselves in their own décor and re-decor and re-decor – did I say re-decor? Always embellishing their personal space, home, apartment, condo, boat…They are endless, tireless examples of embracing trends, and concepts, color schemes and astonishing design statements. Which is all fabulous—don’t get me wrong—it’s just that I feel pressed to do so much and have so little time that this story is about giving yourself a “bye”! Like they say this time of year during football season when they skip a week—its like a gift to the players anyway.
As another example, a couple of years ago a friend and I went outside and found two large tree branches—limbs with branches–and stuck them in big pots, strung lights on them and added a handful of ornaments and said “Voila!” We gave ourselves a “bye” from having to do the entire Christmas tree extravaganza–it was a gift. But please know that we resumed the tradition the following year.
Back to our point, the season for autumnal décor begins prior to Halloween and lasts through Thanksgiving at which time it comes to a screeching halt and moves aside for Christmas and the next holiday season’s adornment and inspirational design elements.
Therefore, to celebrate the entire autumnal season, I love the various colored, textured, shaped and speckled gourds, and of course pumpkins which now naturally come in white and blue in addition to the favorite orange. Indian corn and dried wheat, grasses and leaves…natural organic elements are, to me, the best—timeless—evoking the feeling of the harvest and marvelous fall cooking . This delicious display was at Sanger Farms in Youngstown, New York.
In summary, I say find your happy place with a couple of simple Halloween items and fill-in with the organics—they will take you comfortably through Thanksgiving and after that we will be ready for another story.