By Hal Collier
Why do we decorate for Halloween?
Americans spend millions of dollars celebrating a holiday that has ghosts, goblins and the giving of high sugar content candy to kids. Why? Why do we celebrate a holiday that scares the crap out of small children? It’s because it prepares them for the real world, where the daily news, our politicians and reports of crime scare everyone. It’s also a big money maker for retail stores and drains my pension check. My wife’s contribution alone should have kept the Hershey’s company in the United States.
When I was a street cop, I hated Halloween. In Hollywood, it meant maximum deployment, long nights, and occasionally a riot. I just never got into the spirit and I had to wear the same costume every year. Some years, I think my costume had a target on it. I don’t think I took my own kids out to trick or treat until they were in their 30’s.
Weeks before Halloween, I would come home and hear my wife and kids asking, “Dad, when are you going to put up the Halloween decorations?” In the early days, decorations consisted of a carved pumpkin and a cardboard cutout of a flying witch scotch-taped to the front window. If you remember, I made an ash tray in every shop class I took in school. One year’ I bought a pumpkin carving kit with video. My pumpkin looked like an orange ash tray. It was easy and I didn’t know how lucky I was.
Let me introduce you to my wife, Terri. To say that Terri loves kids is an understatement. She has worked at the local elementary school for close to 40 years, the last two years for free. She just loves kids. Terri has always decorated for every holiday. On Halloween night, she personally hands out over 100 candy bars. The outdoor decorations are my job. I use to hate the approach of the BIG holidays like Halloween and Christmas. Those are the yard decorations that require my expertise. OK, some assembly required and the use of electricity, none of my strong suits.
Terri make crafts for all the holidays. She makes them for our children, our children’s children and anyone who is a friend, classmate or team player of our grandchildren. An example, Terri made 150 small plastic pumpkins, filled with chocolate for the grandchildren’s class. She made bigger treats for the kids’ teachers and even bigger treats for sisters, brothers, in-laws and yes, even Alex, our UPS delivery man.
Ok, so you now get it–holidays are a big thing in our house!
Now, we’re rookies compared to some our neighbors, they draw crowds from all over the Northeast area. We started out small with a few outdoor decorations bought at “Big Lots.” Well, we’re way past that now thanks to the wonders of the internet and delivered catalogs. We now have a 20 foot blow-up pirate ship, a life-size skeleton with hat and sword, a half-buried skeleton and other lighted decorations. See attached pictures.
“Halloween: why do we decorate?” As a street hardened cop, I didn’t have a lot of love for Halloween but now that I’m retired I’ve become a soft-hearted old man.
I was putting the pirate ship up the other day and a young father and his daughter walked by and I heard the little girl say, “Look daddy, a pirate ship.” I suddenly realized what my wife had known for decades. It’s for the little kids and big kids as well. Later, I heard 2 men in their 30’s walk by and say “Look, what cool decorations.”
That’s why I decorate–for the kids the neighbors and my wife.
It’s only 54 days until Christmas.