Around the beginning of October my mom stopped at a dollar store (our modern equivalent of a Five & Dime) and picked up some Fall and Halloween decorations for my house. Scarecrows on swings, reflective bats and Jack-O-Lanterns on wire stakes, cloth ghosts on bamboo sticks. Judiciously placed by my mother, the decorations made the house look lived-in, which is important if you want to avoid attracting attention from the sort of people who would break into unoccupied houses. (The changing patterns of lights and the clock radios set to talk shows and news programs help, too.)
The day after Halloween was All Saints' Day. After morning Mass I stopped at my house to undecorate from Halloween. In a few minutes, the house looked bare. I need some stuff for Thanksgiving, I thought.
Easier said than done. What few Thanksgiving decorations existed were mostly bought up in the weeks before Halloween. Still, I was able to get some stuff.
My front window, decorated with gel clings. For Halloween I had some pumpkins and Autumn leaves. The Thanksgiving packs I picked up had more leaves, plus some fruit and a turkey (the orange thing above the electric candle.) If you look carefully behind the reflection of the white car you can see the scarecrow on a swing, which I am leaving up until Thanksgiving. Since I have two sides to the house, I have two windows done up like this, as mirror images.
OK, this decoration can't be seen from the street, but I'm proud of it. My mom found the wicker cornucopia at a dollar store, and I filled it with artificial fruit and vegetables that I picked up here and there on clearance (as well as some tiny plastic corn that fell out of one of my grandmother's old artificial flower arrangements.). The artificial Autumn leaves are also clearance items. The spilling-over-the-top-of-the-piano effect (that's what this is, the top of an upright player piano) is accomplished with the help of a fruit and leaf-covered branch, also purchased on clearance.
In the background: a winged dog gargoyle (from Target, $7, Halloween item, to be displayed year-round); a monkey in a fez holding some sort of container over his head, maybe for a candle, I don't know (CVS, $2); plaster bust of Pope John Paul II purchased by me for my grandmother about 25 years ago; small ornamental basket of flowers that belonged to my grandmother; one of three monkey photo holders, bought for me by my cousin last Christmas; a photo cube displaying a picture of my grandmother with me, my brother, my sister, and several of our cousins in front of the grapevine in the back yard; a monkey gripping a fake verdigris vase (CVS, $2); and an autumn-ish basket of artificial flowers that belonged to my grandmother. Note the peeling paint on the wall in the background. There's still lots of work to be done.
It's also important to give the back side of the house a lived-in appearance, and this clearance wreath was just the thing. I love the wear and aging on this kitchen door. The crackled paint finish is something I have worked hard to reproduce artificially, and here it is, appearing naturally. The wreath is simple and understated enough that it doesn't take away from the door itself. I may leave it up year-round.
So there you have it. Decorative stuff done in the name of security. And in a few weeks, it will be time to decorate for Christmas. Oh, boy, here we go...