Defending Halloween Decorations

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One of my favorite holidays is Halloween; I enjoy it. I enjoy hokey “scary” movies, I enjoy decorations, I love the fall. That said, this year I haven’t really done much with decorations and I don’t usually. But this judgy shrew demands a reply.

Over the past two weeks, dozens of houses in my neighborhood have been draped in felt spiderwebs, obscured by giant inflatable witches, and liberally ornamented with shrunken heads, skeletons, and tattered ghosts.

Yeah. Those all sound like pretty bland decorations. Nothing offensive unless you are the Church Lady. These aren’t rude, or gruesome; they are, at worst, tacky. But I don’t think so (then again, apparently I can’t recognize tacky and neither can most men — I can’t remember the last time I heard a man say something was ‘tacky.’)

Halloween decor makes me want to band together with a bunch of petty conformists and start a homeowners’ association.

The word “petty” is apt.

Don’t get me wrong: colorful gourds and straw scarecrows and leafy fall wreaths are adorable.

So… generic fall decor.

I even smile at the occasional bucktoothed grin of a jack-o-lantern, and I decorate the inside of my own house for fall. But if my neighbors don’t like my fake fall bouquets and the paper leaves I sprinkle on my mantle, they don’t have to see them. They’re inside my house.

See the problem is that she has to see things she doesn’t like, which apparently includes more than occasional jack-o-lanterns. She only smiles when they’re occasional.

I’m not just hating on Halloween for its obvious pagan roots. You can make Christmas and Easter tacky, too, if you put a little effort into achieving that goal. But there is something sentimental and goofy about cheap Santa merchandise that, call me crazy, I don’t think you can get from a mutilated zombie statue.

One: I get the feeling it is because of the “pagan roots.” But both holidays she mentions have serious pagan influences: Christmas trees, the Easter bunny/Easter eggs, and probably other stuff I’m not familiar with. You might not be able to get something sentimental out of a zombie statue, but the definition of an inflatable witch decoration is “goofy.” I have a feeling the author here won’t even watch a movie if it’s PG-13.

Tackiness just comes naturally to Halloween. What else would you expect from a modern secular holiday, the chief end of which is obtaining buckets full of mass-produced candy, getting the snot scared out of you, and snapping pictures of your ridiculous costumes (depending on your age)? Halloween is a tacky holiday.

There’s tacky again — twice — and returning to the problem of it not being Jesus-y enough for her. And I’m a religious fellow; but I can still enjoy this holiday.

I’m not saying tacky can’t be fun, or that fun should never be tacky. Kids have loads of fun playing dress-up and extorting candy from their neighbors. Babies look outrageously cute as flowers or strawberries or teddy bears. But there is nothing on this earth that will make me like your blow-up witch or haunted castle, and certainly no festive spirit will make me appreciate the bloody decapitated doll you’ve hung from your front porch.

Tacky, tacky, tacky. Again with the blow up witch — which is offensive only to the most shrew-like old ladies — and again, it all comes down to what she likes: babies and kids being cute, and nothing that might hint at anything spooky, scary, or even just Halloween-culture-like. There’s a lot of stuff that Halloween has co-opted and turned into a soft, approachable, fun time. It doesn’t make it tacky, or somehow evil.

The only thing worse than this horror show decor is in putting said decor up a month before Halloween.

What other holiday are we supposed to be ginned up about in October? Does she support Christmas music starting on 11/1, or put up her tree before Thanksgiving? (I don’t — and I hate the skipping of Thanksgiving as a holiday!)

Some of us just like the holiday, we enjoy looking forward to it, and the start of fall weather. We get excited about it because we like it. And you aren’t harmed. Having to see decorations you don’t like doesn’t hurt you.

Why can’t people put a pile of pumpkins on their stoop and call it good?

“Why can’t people decorate exactly like I approve and call it good?”

Are we so tacky we have to start the “festivities” when the Disney Channel starts the “31 days of Halloween” countdown? Does “seasonal decor” have to include those creepy faces that sit in the bushes to scare the kids who come trick-or-treating?

First of all, why are you watching the Disney Channel? Or even allowing your kids to? The TV is the Devil’s Tacky Box. (And she used that word again. Someone mail the Federalist a box of thesauruses.)

Halloween has taken a sharp turn toward the explicitly gruesome in recent years, the same turn TV fiction has taken.

This is one thing I actually agree with — and I’ve written about how I’m weary of the gritty entertainment. I avoid this by avoiding it.

For some reason, people think it is acceptable to array their homes with all manner of symbols and graphic depictions of evil, even on streets populated by young families. Decency, it seems, is deader than the decaying corpse you propped up on your porch swing.

“Populated by young families.” See, the problem is the children. Won’t someone think of them? Also, the decaying corpse is now the only thing close to a truly gruesome decoration she’s mentioned. It’s a long way from “inflatable witches.” I guess this is like a reverse-slippery slope — first she came for your felt spiderwebs, now she wants your fake dead bodies.

People get weird when they don costumes—even the ones that don’t make you look like a prostitute.

“Look like a prostitute.” Because often, sex workers don Halloween costumes and walk the streets. I almost agree — every costume does not need a “sexy” version. But what people wear has zero to do with decorations, and I have a sneaking feeling most of the people going over the top with decorations probably also go over the top with costumes and don’t buy the cheap “Sexy School Marm” outfit at Wal-Mart.

Halloween is an opportunity to give in to the dark side, and no one feels bad about it. But why exactly? Because the license to be an idiot expires at dawn on November 1? This trend doesn’t just indicate that decency is dead, of course. It suggests that the ordinary kind of evil is very much alive, and is given special opportunity to manifest itself on Halloween.

At this point the only thing that is evil seems to be stuff she does not personally approve of. Nobody is getting possessed by the spirit of an inflatable witch (but I bet there’s a movie about it made for a dollar on Netflix.)

There’s a bit of irony from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” that I often think about this time of year

… Because that show was never tacky, or rude, or gruesome! And the man who wrote it is just full of wholesome values and respect for women, too.

She keeps going, but it’s the same boring tripe I’ve been hearing from moral scolds forever. There’s no new idea here, no new way of presenting it; she just doesn’t like it, unless you stop at the occasional jack-o-lantern.

And the answer to her earlier question about why we can’t just throw a pumpkin on our porch: Because they’re all up her butt, keeping the stick company.