My mother is extremely pragmatic. When I was growing up, some of this manifested itself in not having many decorations around the house for holidays. It was a waste of money and time to put stuff up just to have to take it down in a short while. We did have a tree and stockings at Christmas but the rest of the holidays came and went without any seasonal knick-knacks or gewgaws.
I went the opposite direction – I have boxes and boxes of holiday décor in the attic: Spring/Easter, Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, Fourth of July – you name it. But not as much comes out these days, since we got a naughty tabby. Nimue is a terror on décor. Nothing glass can go out. Easter grass is a no-no. Plastic Easter eggs hit the floor and then become dog toys. So over the last 8 years I have put out less and less. And now I find myself becoming my mother. Seems like a lot of fuss when I have to guard it from the cat and then just put it away in a couple of weeks.
I did put out a few things last night for trick-or-treaters – a large ceramic pumpkin with our name carved out as the teeth, some tin can luminaries that I made years ago when YA was a toddler and the big orange candy bowl. I do have some pumpkins and corn stalk on the front porch as well. Not quite the over the top haunted house that I used to have for Halloween, but it will have to do.
Here is one of my favorite haunted house poems:
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What makes a good haunted house in your mind?