It appears that I have some very creative neighbors, all of whom have fed into the “Halloween is the new Christmas” school of decoration.  Two of these have seasonal competitions, or so it appears, for top decorating honors.

The winner is the neighbor who strung the evil clown from the tree.  Would your parents have done this?  I didn’t think so.  Any child who is not already terrified of clowns will be so traumatized by encountering this one that the mere mention of candy corn or trick or treat will cause lifelong post-traumatic stress disorder.

In deciding which decorations to photograph and which houses had the very best in Halloween display, I ruled out any that used lights that were purple, pink, or blue.  Some neighbors seemed confused; one wrapped his porch in teal-colored lights and another had a doorway rimmed in purple and pink. This is not acceptable and is almost a misdemeanor in my estimation.  It is better to go without illuminations than to stubbornly use the wrong color when a string of orange lights can be had at Dollar General for $3.99.  Displaying out-of-season colors says nothing more than that you are cheap and that you are probably doling out a single stingy piece of candy per grabby little hand.  You can make up for this lack of decorating know-how by giving a dollar to every child who rings the bell.  If you think this is out of line, consider that I had a neighbor who gave every child five dollars…in 1968.

This year’s big decoration is a Wicked West of the West that comes as separate pieces that are then stuck into the ground.  I have no idea if the Witch is new this year, but several people have her half-buried in their lawns.  Where I saw the Witch, I had to take away a point for ubiquity.  There is no telling who was first to have it, so all lose.

The more, the better is the watchword for decorations in my neighborhood.  In many instances, Halloween eclipses Christmas.  The Witch shares a lawn with a ghost, with Frankenstein, with Beetlejuice, with illuminated spiderwebs, cobwebs, and with Eddie Munster.  I noticed one house that had displays both outside and in; this house also had duo strobe lights lighting up a Dracula that had been placed in a dining room window.  How many  hobgoblins and monsters to hang from gutters seemed to have been done by simple algebra:  If three feet separate each large monster and two feet separate each small one, how many assorted hobgoblins and monsters can a homeowner hang up on a house whose length measures forty-seven feet and whose display must contain at least four large monsters?

The town of Newberry went for a harvest theme, courtesy of the local 4-H club.  This was similar to the harvest scarecrow display in St. Mary’s, Georgia, but since several of the scarecrows used pumpkins for heads, I counted it as Halloween decoration.  The rag-doll scarecrows that seem to be popping up all over the place are not Halloween decoration to me and I am not including them.  They do not speak of any holiday in particular although they do a neat job of spanning the entire autumn season up until Thanksgiving, when county law requires that they must be replaced by a turkey or a fine will be issued in the amount of $468.00.

And then it is Christmas.  But for this weekend, Happy Halloween, moonbeams!