Fall is my favorite season, and Halloween my favorite holiday. But this year, I haven’t been feeling overly festive. Today is Halloween, and there isn’t a single decoration outside. Well, except for the pumpkins, which were carved with limited enthusiasm.
We’re all feeling a bit un-fallish this year, I guess. Youngest went off to school today — his last elementary school Halloween — with no costume. Partly because he said, “I don’t really care” and partly because it’s not actually done yet. I felt like The. Worst. Mom. Although he was all, “There are kids in my class that don’t dress up because of their religion.” Maybe it was a show of solidarity?
So why have I become the Grinch of Fall? Well, the weather went from screaming hot to iceberg cold without that happy medium I love so much — you know when there’s the tiniest bit of chill in the air, just enough to have to wear a jacket, but not enough to shiver. One of my exes coined a phrase in the 90’s that describes it perfectly: “I love it when you can see your breath and wear flannels.” (Ah… flannel shirts… can we bring them back please? I loved pairing a nice pair of second hand men’s jeans with an oversized t-shirt and plaid flannel button down.)
The rainy cold — it’s too miserable to go to a pumpkin patch/get lost in a corn maze/take our annual trip to Ellicottville where we climb between trees and ride the mountain coaster over and over until my son gets tired of me screaming in his ears — has been a serious bummer. My favorite thing to do in fall is walk through the woods and listen to the crunch of newly fallen leaves, to breathe deeply, to appreciate the way things slow down and die off in preparation for winter. Not only have we missed out on family fun, I haven’t had much quality leaf crunching time.
The other big difference this year is our lack of house spirit. We’ve earned a bit of a reputation in the neighborhood for being the scariest house around. What started as a string of motion sensored Mike Myers lights and a zombie costume stuffed with leaves morphed into THE TUNNEL OF TERROR, a covered entrance to our porch full of scary decorations and grown men in costume jump scaring small children. (We had our babysitter help pass out candy at the entrance for those too young/too scared to go in.)
It was EPIC.
It was also a ton of work and involved very labor intensive set-up and take-down, which often occurred in the wind and rain. Hubs actually took the day off last year to set up — shame on you, Halloween, for happening in the middle of the week! After a paltry showing of trick-or-treaters last year (I guess there is such a thing as “too scary”) and a muddy and miserable take-down, hubs decided to take this year off. Also, it’s Wednesday. Halloween obviously did not get my “stop happening on weekdays” memo.
I can’t lie, it’s been nice not having the front windows blacked out and a non-stop sea of leaves traveling into the house. But it’s also sad. Kids on the bus were asking youngest when we were putting up the tunnel. And my damn Facebook memories keep popping up with pictures and videos from past years. Hubs still plans to dress up and scare the neighborhood, but he said any decorations are up to me. It’s raining. Again. And I still have a Halloween costume to make.
Which brings me to my last bit of melancholy. I love dressing up in costume. Putting on a different persona for a night and letting go of all the day to day mundane. In past years, hubs and I have acted in murder mystery dinners, went on Halloween wine tours, and gone to themed dance parties. This year? Nothing. It’s my own fault, really. I could have pushed the issue. Got tickets to an event and dragged him along or gone by myself. I could have randomly shown up at work in costume just to see what would happen.
Halloween isn’t over yet, despite the fact that two days ago I couldn’t find a single piece of candy corn among the rows of Christmas candy. Hopefully the rain will stop and I’ll find the motivation to pull out some yard decorations. Perhaps I’ll put a quick costume together for tonight’s trick-or-treating. Blast some 90’s dark wave music to help get things in the mood.
And there’s still hope for fall. This is Buffalo, after all. She likes to keep things interesting.