I’ve never been one to make much of a big deal of holiday decorations. No elaborate lighting, no large, motorized inflatable glow-in-the-dark holiday themed cartoon figures or fancy structures on the front lawn.
And this Spartan decorating approach applies even to Halloween, which is my favorite of all the holidays. Oh, sure, I’d put out some carved Jack-O-Lanterns, maybe a life-sized rubber rat or spider, but nothing too much. Just enough to let kids know, “Here Be Candy” on their mental maps of the neighborhood.
But this year, my daughter and I decided to splash out a bit and we made genuine, straw-stuffed scarecrow out of a wooden frame and old clothes, complete with a silly straw hat. As you can see from the photos, my daughter even drew a face for him. I think you’ll agree that it’s a plain, simple face. Honest and friendly. Cheerful, even.
I set up Mr. Scarecrow (as we decided to name him, in a burst of true originality) on the bench by our front door, propped up in the corner, and called it a job well done. And then I did some puttering indoors. Not an hour later, the mailman drove by, so I went out onto the porch to get the mail and caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of a large man lurking in the porch corner!
Naturally alarmed, I screamed like a banshee… long, loud, and terrified. Even when I promptly realized that it was just Mr. Scarecrow, with his honest, friendly face, I couldn’t stop.
Yes. I had frightened myself with my own Halloween decor.
None of my neighbors dialed 911 to report an emergency. Either they didn’t hear me, which is really hard to imagine, or perhaps after ten years of living next to me, they knew enough to think, “Oh, that’s just Mrs. Jones. Nice enough lady, but kind of tightly wound, you know?”