October 01, 2003


  1. Ghost and pumpkin cling cutouts applied to front windows - check.
  2. Halloween flag, mailbox cover, and candles on display - check.
  3. 6 ft tall inflatable Freddy Krueger left in attic until The Boy is a tad older and less likely to be scarred for life by its presence on front porch - check.
  4. Tombstone lights festooning bulletin board and Boo Bowl full of M&Ms on desk in my office - check.
  5. Evil Dead trilogy within easy reach, yet out of The Boy's sight for reason discussed in #3 above - check.
  6. Spanky new glow-in-the-dark Halloween pajamas washed and ready to go - check.
  7. Irritation at Target for having only 2 aisles of Halloweeny goodness RIGHT NEXT TO THE INFLATABLE FREAKING SANTAS - check.

All systems are go for Halloween at Big Arm Central. But I'm still rather pissy about the inflatable Santa situation--perhaps they meant to order inflatable Satans and someone made a typo? That still doesn't explain the lighted reindeer sillhouettes and Christmas ornaments, though. Sigh. Okay, brace yourselves, for I am about to utter the five words that mean I have Officially Entered Mid-Life:

When I Was A Kid you didn't see Christmas decorations at the end of September. They all magically appeared on Thanksgiving weekend, which made the yearly day after Thanksgiving pilgrimage to the mall even more exciting--it was like you had passed through the gauntlet of lesser holidays and now had been sanctioned to enter the secular world's high holy days of rampant consumerism. Christmas had a beginning and an end and amazingly they dovetailed with the Judeo-Christian observance of Advent. See how that worked? So that while we were all running around like crazy people and spending money we didn't have we could at least pretend that it was being done in concert with religious beliefs.

But nowadays, forget it. Christmas seeps into all the other months of the year. It's like someone left the Faucet of Holiday Cheer on, and it's filled up the sink, run over onto the floor, and is slowly making its way through the floorboards and onto the heads of everyone in the Basement of the Rest of the Year. It is pissing me off. I want to enjoy Fall--changing leaves, trick-or-treating, football, goofy yard displays involving three bales of hay, a scarecrow and a couple of pumpkins, and a nice leisurely journey into Thanksgiving. After that, I can get into the frenzy of baking, decorating and shopping, and actually enjoy it. But seeing Christmas decorations while I'm shopping for Halloween? It's like a big Sword of Damocles (albeit a sword tastefully festooned with white lights and a garland) hanging over my Fall. Stop it! I refuse to think about Christmas on September 30! I refuse, I refuse, I refuse! GRRR!

Oh, I forgot #8 on my checklist:

8. Transformation into Scrooge 3 months ahead of schedule - check. Thanks a lot, Target.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at October 1, 2003 09:12 AM

Welcome to Mid-Life. You'll know when you've passed from Mid-Life into Old Fart when you start muttering to yourself, "What's gotten into these kids today?"

Posted by: LittleA at October 1, 2003 09:35 AM

"...from Mid-Life into Old Fart..."

Oh dear, Language! The gracious term is "paleoflatus" (pl. "paleoflatae").

Posted by: ManFromPorlock at October 1, 2003 09:43 AM

Go visit: http://summamamas.blogspot.com/

for a similar take on the subject of retail Christmas displays before All Hallows Eve.

Posted by: Ellana at October 1, 2003 09:59 AM

When the hell did everyone start decorating the house for Halloween with more than just a couple of carved pumpkins and a ghost made of an old bedsheet up in the tree? I go away for eleven or twelve years to live in Europe, and come back and discover that everyone has gone freaky on me. I personally think Martha Stewart has a lot to answer for!

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at October 1, 2003 10:27 AM

No, you'll know when you've gotten into midlife when you see kids roaming in packs on a weekday and gripe, "These kids have another g*ddamn holiday?! No wonder they can't figure out how to wear a baseball cap."

Posted by: Paula at October 1, 2003 10:35 AM

Our Target had several rows of Halloween stuff, and only a few shelves of wreaths. Maybe we have your Halloween stuff!

Ken Layne has a lucky crow that is the mascot for Ken Layne and the Corvids. He said Matt Welch bought it at Target. Since when does Target sell crows? But there it was, in the Halloween stuff. It'll probably be on the album cover. I shoulda bought a genuine Ken Layne crow while I was there.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at October 1, 2003 09:19 PM

Consider yourselves lucky. Our Walmart put out 2 aisles of Christmas decorations on Labor Day Weekend.

Our town has some interesting families who decorate their houses for every conceivable holiday. I will post a picture of at least one of them tonight when I get home from work. Every square inch of yard is covered with spooky Halloween decorations.

My favorite, though, is a guy who lives about 6 blocks down and carves and displays about 100 pumkins every year - wonderful designs. The kids come from miles around to see his pumpkins.

Posted by: Beth at October 2, 2003 06:22 AM

Christmas-in-September wasn't in vogue when I was a kid either, and that wasn't all that long ago. (Long enough.) Not 10 years ago people thought my mother was nuts for playing Christmas music all the time from September on. This trend of getting a jump on Black Friday (as it's known in retail) seems to be quite recent. I suppose it could be related to economic suckage making the competition for sales all the more desperate.

But as for Target and Wal-Mart starting so much earlier, I think we can chalk that up to tackiness. I've seen way too many Target ads to think those people have a sense of taste. Wal-Mart fares slightly better, but just yesterday on TV they were calling 2 Fast 2 Furious a "great" movie. Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Lummox JR at October 2, 2003 11:09 AM

September 30?!? I was looking at Halloween stuff at the end of July! They've had the Christmas stuff out since the last week of August! The kids of tomorrow are going to think pumpkins and Santa Clauses are just part of everyday home decor.

Posted by: Rebecca at October 2, 2003 02:43 PM

Here is the promised link to the picture I took tonight of the First Halloween House in town to decorate:
Halloween House

Posted by: Beth at October 2, 2003 09:49 PM

well, I guess that link won't work - here is the URL http://www.thedonovan.com/beth/archives/cat_cheesy_stuff.html#000132

Posted by: Beth at October 2, 2003 09:50 PM

Damn you, Big Arm Woman! Your "inflatable Satans" left me gasping in tears in my cube!

"No, folks, I'm not a sobbing loon. Move on."

Posted by: Bill White at October 8, 2003 09:53 AM

All I want for Halloween is a SMALL (3') inflatable pumpkin. Not this year dears, just the Giant 8' models that cost $50 and would take up my entire classroom!

Posted by: Arlene at October 8, 2004 08:40 PM