The leaves are changing from green to red, orange and gold and falling from the trees in gentle leaps one by one as fall comes back to Tennessee. The air is a little cooler, the days a little shorter and the world is starting to feel like autumn once again. My favorite part about the end of September is the slew of season Halloween stores opening around town. My favorite holiday (the second biggest holiday financially after Christmas) is a time of magic and wonder. The world is shifting between the full bloom of life and radiance of the summer into the cold hibernating sleep of winter and with it comes stories of ghosts, goblins and everything that goes bump in the night. Ever since I was a kid I was obsessed with the day, not because of the costumes and candy but because of the folklore and tradition. For one night each year at the harvest time the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead were thin and a tangible sort of magic existed that made almost anything seem possible. The air was electrified in this wonder at what might happen as soon as the sun went down.
As I was wandering the aisles of a rather lack luster Halloween shop that opened up near the Target I came across what is quite possibly the tackiest of all lawn ornaments in existence: the flamingo. But this wasn’t your average, stilt legged pink bird, no, it was a zombified version. No feathers, just bones and beak with red eyes that practically glow when the light hits it just right. As I held it in my hands, mesmerized by that seemingly hypnotic death gaze I knew it was love at first sight and that we were destined to be together forever… or at least until November. I slapped down my money on the counter and was hardly through the door with my prize before I was planning where it would sit and how it would look. Every Halloween I try to do something different in my decorations, try to experiment with something that brings both a little fear and a lot of laughter to the season. Last year was my Mr. Potato Head style pumpkin patch.
This year will be different, though. This year I will be taking my love of the of Halloween, of the undead, and of tackiness and combining them all into yet another Garden of Doom in my parent’s yard by the old bird bath. My next step is to find both a zombie lawn gnome and a zombie jockey to join my flamingo for this undead eyesore as helpless Jack-O-Lanterns scream for mercy. And, if the local Walmart and Big Lots continue to persist and vomiting up more Christmas paraphernalia than Halloween decor in the middle of the fall as they seem intent on doing, there may just be a disturbing nativity or Santa themed “slay” ride to go with my zombie yard bird. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself.
Truly, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.