Thursday, October 13, 2016

Haunting Yards

After spending a couple hours working on Halloween stuff in the basement last night, I went for a walk around the neighborhood.  Wanted to see how the area was shaping up by way of decorations.  Saw only a few homes with decorations so far.  And I recall that happens in my area.  They're latecomers and cut it really close.  Most houses are dark until the weekend of our High Holiday.

But then I saw something going on up the road on a darkened lawn and porch.  Some flickering lights, some orange and red lights, and a small strobe light making a few small tombstones flash with lightning around the base of the tree where no one was buried.  There were tiny foot-high ghosts staked into the ground, and some foam bones, and some hands reaching up from the cut grass.  I then noticed that the homeowners were out adjusting the decorations.  An older couple moving around in the dark.  The husband was fixing a hanging lantern that had a spooky face speaking spooky sounds.  All neatly arranged store-bought stuff.  And all of it really perfect.

The couple had this look of slight embarrassment as I walked by.  And I know that exact feeling.  There's something about setting up for Halloween when one of your peers walks by.  A weird, very brief feeling of yeah-I-know-it's-weird-but-it's-what-I-do feeling.  Like a miniscule apology almost.  Maybe it's just me.  Well, me and those folks.  I said "Looks GREAT!" and the wife quietly thanked me and nervously laughed as I passed.

I'm thinking I walked in on a prop test of sorts, as the house was completely dark when I walked by on the return home.  Here's hoping they feel it was a success, and that the premature compliment by some guy going past was a good omen of a successful Halloween night of Haunting to come.

October is flying by...

This isn't a photo of their Haunt...but that's how it felt...
Image source.



24 comments:

Mike V. said...

I feel the same way as I am adjusting and touching up little nuances here and there. You hit the nail on the head. It may even be small stuff that perhaps one or two people may even notice or see but it's still important to me. Like lighting all those tea lights every night in my witch jars. I put up my stuff this past Monday and almost before it was done a woman walked by and said she was waiting to see what I had done this year and she looks forward to seeing the display every year. I thanked her but she replied "no Thank You" That I guess makes me feel less silly and makes me happy that others like yourself and her and myself love this time of year and the high holy day. I do feel like maybe retiring when I turn 50 which is next year but doubt I will. I love it too much.

wicKED said...

Man, Dont I ever know that feeling. Wish I had more decorators around me that would go to that extent...mostly I can hope for a pumpkin or an inflatable in my neighborhood.

Haunted Eve said...

You know how we roll here at the Haunted Eve yard haunt: Lots of prep work from August through October, but the haunt doesn't go up until just before Halloween. And that doesn't give us a lot of time to tweak things. We've also already had a few hiccups with this year's theme. We picked a really bad year to do a scary circus theme. Despite deciding on the theme for 2016 a year ago, recent hysteria in the news made us change some of our standing prop designs. We're still sticking with the overall theme though. Put too much thought and work into it!

Jay's Shadow said...

You know my display goes up the first weekend of October. It has to, I mean it's OCTOBER.
Hell, I put up some kind of scarecrow mid September, just to remind people on the block that yes, that time of year is coming up.

I'm the only one on the block that does this, some of the neighbors do orange string lights on an outdoor light pole or candles in the Windows, but that's it.

As for making adjustments, I am constantly doing that. When I come home from work, on the weekend, day or night. I think I have O.C.D or something. I just want it to look good. It's what I do. Feels good.

Heck, I have to compete against all of you Haunters here, you guys make it rough...........

Jeanne Wright said...

Oh that feeling. Such a stupid feeling.

Hopsy the beer drinking clown said...

I haven't done anything in my yard for the last 2 years. Trick-or-treaters have dwindled and I felt as though as I was missing out on some great happening somewhere in town...I decided to give a few props to my nephew and help him build his own stuff and get his yard looking spooky for the big day.
The spirit of the high holiday seems dead in my neighborhood, very sad but I can't fight a one man battle against commercialism and Halloween at the mall anymore.
So now I am working at the big, haunted attraction at the local fairgrounds, they seem to love having a crazy clown chase customers around and how the people flee and scream in terror, ahhhhh.

Josie Grogan said...

My sister and I have decorated the yard for close to 12 years now, without problems, but we wait until 3-4 days before, a lot of our stuff not being weatherproof. We put some lights out in the trees last night, which is a good start. Woke up this morning to a report of two blowup decorations in town being stolen. We don't decorate with blowups, but makes me a little hesitant to put any of my beloved decor out. I've never heard of any decorations being stolen before now. It's a real shame because there are less than 10 houses that decorate in our town anyway, why do people have to try to ruin a good thing?

Willow Cove said...

I have those feeling too. Embarrassed when folks walk by as I am obsessing over every little nuance. but those same people are super excited about what I do. My wife thinks I am an enigma, I do things to attract people to my house but I grip when they walk by as I am setting up for the big night. But I have been procrastinating lately. I need to be like JaysShadow. Last night, an HOA board member came by and talked to me. He will give me a 100$ budget to decorate the neighborhood entrance brick wall sign. He hopes it will spark more people to decorate and celebrate the High Holiday. It really gave me a much needed spark. It was refreshing to stand in the driveway and talk to someone who wanted to keep the tradition going strong in our hood and I realized it was up to us to be the one who gets this going. When I decorate the sign i'll show pics.

Old Hag said...

I would setup as soon as the calendar turns Oct 1 but my husband wants to wait until a week before the 31st. We were running late one year and a man driving by screeched to a stop to tell me, "Oh my God, I was afraid you guys moved! My son and I drive by all the time and talk about what's gonna be new, what's our favorite. I can't wait to bring my son by." Well, that's why we do what we do.
We do light tests and tweak things and yes, those have to be done in the dark. It takes away from the mystery...the magic...when we're out there puttering around getting caught with our "props" down.
I'm the one with some OCD. I change, tweak, putter to no end. I want that first perfect moment of magic for anyone coming by...

Sara said...

I love that you shared this. There's you and your haunt. Then there's the rest of us. Heck then there's everybody else and then there's me. Lol. This year we went neon and store bought and gaudy and....it really is perfect. My kids grabbed the web from me and did a damn good job. I let my son buy a stupid zombie decoration and it looks great. We love Halloween. This holiday is special to us. That's one thing everybody here on this blog can agree to. It's been a crappy year for many of us. Even so, my town has way more decorations up than usual. A sign of a great Halloween to come.

I love a good sentimental post.

That couple sounds awesome and I hope they get a million ToTers.

Steven Blumke said...

Ha! Don't think for a second they didn't know who was creepin up to check out what was going on and where you live! Very funny though, I was driving my neighborhood two nights ago to see what was happening and didn't find a whole lot yet. I'm definitely that weird guy on the hill around this time of the year- Love reading your words and thanks for sharing

Pam Morris said...

I love those people...they have 'the spirit'. Here I am--after four years of abstinence--2012 was the last time I set up the big, haunted forest walk-through with lots of people coming through and presently I find myself a bit nervous about my upcoming display-its been a while and its gonna' be very small and not terribly artistic. And hey, no one will even be able to see it! We live on a gravel road now--WAY 'out there', so this Halloween set-up is really just for me. Old hag that I am, happily, I still have 'the spirit'.

Jeff Prentiss said...

I've become more confident over the years, as I recieved more and more positive compliments. Make me sad though when I see a whole row of dark, undecorated houses on my block. Wish all of us haunters lived on the same block and we could make it one big Halloween town.

Jeff said...

Well I'm usually a one night only haunter. I like to keep with the theme of the haunt...it grows up from the depths starting at the first tick of the day and fully manifests itself by TOT time, all to lure new victims to stay locked in forever. This year however we are doing a party on Saturday night, the 29th, so it'll be up for that. Our house sits back off the road some so not many see the set up. I always get a few though that venture back to see what's new.

Jay's Shadow said...

I like Jeff Prentiss's idea. All of us Haunters living on the same block.

The road could be named "Haunter's Row".

K.O. said...

This story warms my heart. :) What an amazing description, and such a nice slice of life. I hope that couple gets TONS of admirers on their yard setup!!

Shallow Grave Cemetery said...

You and Bean should dress-up as you install your display this year. I envisioned you in your Michael Myers costume and Bean in the Foetus Witch attire. I’m sure that would keep neighbors at bay or possible even spark some interest.
I agree with the others; I feel euphoric as I carefully install each piece, stepping back, observing the scene, making adjustments then Mr. and Mrs. Knowitall stroll by again and again “Hay honey couldn’t you do something like that”. I politely lift my head, make eye contact, and nod as I bite my lips. Since I typically work on stuff through-out the year I guess I have become accustomed to the glares and gossip.

byondbzr said...

Awww very cool and very sweet!

Jon Glassett said...

Three years ago was my last Halloween setting up a display at the house in New Hampshire. We were planning to move, so I planned to go all out. This house was just a really great stage and I loved mixing things up every year. We had a reputation in the area. I wanted the last year there to be a good one.

Anyway, I took a couple of days off work (per usual) and started putting things together. Down the road, some neighbors were having an addition built on their house so there were a bunch of contractors coming and going, doing their thing. I noticed them occasionally looking over as I draped huge swaths of black fabric across the front porch, positioned lights, staked out props, etc. Didn't think much of it. Figured they were just curious.

At one point, a bunch of them were on a break or something out in front of the neighbor's house and they were looking over at me more than usual. Finally, I heard one of them say, "Someone should tell that guy Halloween is for kids." A couple of them laughed.

For a split second, I got that feeling.

Then it went away, and I went to the garage and got my box of skulls.

Rot said...

That's crazy... like at the very least you'd think they'd be thinking "cool that he does that for the kids."

JHMDF said...

Really enjoyed reading this after a kind of crappy day. :)

Pumpkin5 said...

Yay! Every time I see a house put out ANYTHING Halloween décor related, I rejoice. There are fewer and fewer of us Halloween decorators it seems some years. This is a particularly hard year for my area, what with the recent flooding from Hurricane Matthew. I have my stuff up and have since the second weekend in October. I am adding a bit each weekend to keep the folks guessing, "Is she through???". I have a particular style that I like for my display, but I am no Halloween snob. Cheap foam tombstones from the Dollar Tree, a strand of purple lights strung around a tree, a plastic skeleton on a string, boy it makes my heart sing to see houses with that stuff up. Takes me right back to being eight years old again, and the thrill of October nights, and the joy of Halloween.

girl6 said...

it's SO wonderful to see all the different Halloween personalities on display out there. & another thing to appreciate is...with how busy the everyday person is that anything gets done in this world anymore never mind doing something Xtra that doesn't have to be done. space is limited in the city but the lovers always find a way to shower October with love. there's the old school cutouts taped to the windows, full length ghouls hanging on doors, spooky sounding door knockers/bells, halloween themed tin garden spikes in every size flower pot you can imagine, loads of carved jacks grinning on stoops, cobwebs slithering across the metal railings of row homes, orange twinklie lit hallways of apt bldgs and it's ALL SO Beautiful. no wrong way to show love of the season.

& no person with even an ounce of magic in their soul would ever say, "Halloween is for kids". people like that miss out on so much in this life.

my mom's funeral was on Friday. she was buried in Moscow, PA. we passed so many Halloween displays on the way up to her grave & the weather was tremendous, it was the most perfect Fall day, but, i felt so horrible & lonely & lost. Halloween has slipped away from me this year. : (

Rot said...

Oh no.
I'm extremely sorry to hear that, girl6.