A Not-So-Scary Aerie

The Aerie is a dead zone for trick-or-treaters, and not like a Stephen King scary sort of Dead Zone either. You see, the Aerie is near the top of a hill, on a dead-end street, and has no houses on the other side of the street. This makes it great for quiet and privacy, but a terrible lure for kids that would have to do a lot of (uphill) hoofing to get our candy – which incidentally is from the same Costco candy mix bag that everyone else in our neighborhood gives out, too. Hence, we get maybe a dozen doorbell rings per Halloween.

I guess that preamble is to say that we don’t really go all out for Halloween decorating in the way that seems to have caught on in other places. And because the foot traffic for our house is light, our decorating is mostly for ourselves.

Dancing Girl

For The Beloved and me, more than cats and cobwebs and witches, we have really emphasized a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) type motif in our house.  Dia de los Muertos is a (mostly) Latin American festival that coincides with the Catholic feast of All Souls Day, which is November 2nd. Much more joyfully celebratory than ought-to-be scary Halloween, Dia de los Muertos calls on us to remember our loved ones and celebrate their lives. Often clothed skeletal figures are shown doing the fun things that were enjoyed in life.


Having Fun!

For us, I think we have them around the house because we want to imagine ourselves doing the things we love in life together for eternity. In fact, a few pieces have taken up permanent residence in our house, such as this painting of two Catrinas stepping out on the town.

Catrinas Stepping Out

And my favorite, which is this couple.

Happy Couple

Of course, we do have some more traditional Halloween fare in the house. The Beloved is a pretty mean Jack-o-lantern carver.


And yesterday, this guy started making a nice big web home on our back patio. The Beloved instructed me that I was supposed to relocate him (or her, I suppose) while she was out. I felt a little badly, because its presence really seemed appropriate. I guess holiday spirit only goes so far…

Real Angry Spider

How about you? Do you go all out for Halloween, or have any unusual traditions?

42 thoughts on “A Not-So-Scary Aerie

  1. Love the pics! All of the Day of the Dead decor is awesome! I have gone crazy for Halloween decorating almost every year…we have never had a single trick-or-treater….we’re on a country road with 10 acre yards! But I love the decorations.
    I so want that mariachi group of guys! :D

  2. This year mother natures did our decorating. The weird 9 inches of snow took down huge portions of our trees. Sort of resembles that “day after” or post apocalypse meets Christmas look. It appears our neighbors have all copied us. Alas… (well at least the Eagles beat Dallas!!!) Some Day of the Dead music for you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otENeKJgd_8

  3. The place looks great! We’ve gotten no trick or treaters … Possibly ever. We used to decorate a bit (mostly Brother was big on hanging effigies) but I rarely do so. Being superstitious, I do a kind of Day of the Dead, particularly for recently departed. This year, I’ve lost more than I can recall–srsly. I’m not planning on any to-do, though.

      • Illinois is quite flat. To my surprise, I’ve heard people from Iowa and Kansas talk about “the hills of…”

        Erm, no. Those ain’t hills, honey. They’re speed bumps! Now, from your many photos of the Aerie, you’ve got what I’d call a ravine but I suppose it’s a different kind of erosion. Still caused by erosion, though (ours is from the last ice age, mostly, then erosion on top of that).

  4. Love the Beloved’s Jack, as well as the day of the dead stuff. I have a few DOTD things floating around la Casa de Cranky. But my neighborhood kids are already hyper enough, I am not contributing to that by giving them candy. Plus, I don’t want to encourage them to come onto my porch, since the other 364 days of the year I am trying to keep the little rats off my property! (I’m a scrooge like that, but I don’t have the privacy you described.)

  5. Twelve rings is more than we got– we got maybe three. Cimmy and I moved into our very first house this last summer, and it’s near the edge of farm country. It is a little bit more remote than other places in town, but we thought we had a good “trick-or-treat” neighborhood. Princess and I ran out of time to scope it; it’s just not very well lit.

    Our current traditions include trick-or-treats with the downtown businesses, and in my parents’ neighborhood. Princess (our 9-year old) was quite happy there were a few haunted house events among the businesses. As for my parents’ neighborhood, they live in a newer housing development that is very well-lit. This was especially important as between my sister and I, who went out this time, we had three autistic children (my son, and her kids) and it helped to have everyone helping out and making sure no one got left behind.

    (Cimmy was quite happy to stay at home to tend our few visiting trick-or-treaters and my brother-in-law was still working.)

    • Jacklumen — yeah, we have a couple of friends that live in a more densely populated section of town than us, but their part of the development is really poorly lit — they don’t get anyone.

      My dad used to run a lumber store (like a neighborhood one, back before Home Despot) — and he used to love it when kids would trick-or-treat into his store.

  6. I could never get Zack to relocate a spider…if anyone did the relocating of spiders it would be me!We had a tarantula take up residence on our trash can and I had to come rescue Zack from it. I guess I use to like to play with them when I was little!

  7. Look at all those muertitos!! They are so cute! I never celebrated Halloween growing up in a South American country, but we had big celebrations for Día de los Muertos. Our big thing was tantawawas (bread people/animals). Maybe I still have time to make some this year… sorry…. got to go get some bread started.

  8. Halloween (Samhain) is my favorite holiday. Not for the TrickorTreating, but the concept of the Veil being thinnest between the Worlds this time of year. Listen, someone’s talking to you…

  9. Love your decorations. We, I mean, the kids only carve pumpkins and we put them out on Halloween night. We live at the end of a long cul de sac and get maybe 10 trick or treaters a year. Just means more candy for Steve and I afterwards. ;)

    • Janie — we could probably get by with a little bag of candy from Target, but I still make sure we get the Costco bag. You know — just in case we get an unexpected kid-swarm. :)

  10. “For us, I think we have them around the house because we want to imagine ourselves doing the things we love in life together for eternity” That’s the loveliest thing I’ve read in a while, Steve! This year in general has been so grim for us, and since Halloween was semi-cancelled, maybe we’ll try the Dia de los Muertos ceremony instead. Thanks for the idea.

    Dead end street – that explains why your place looks so peaceful in your photos, I think. The place where we stayed at St. Thomas had that top-of-the-hill elegance to it as well, and was very quiet. We loved it.

    Kudos to the Beloved as well, that is one expressive pumpkin carving!

    • Thanks Emmy — I fully endorse wiping off the snow and remembering those who have gone before us — and celebrating them!

      yes, the cul-de-sac street is definitely great for privacy and quiet. And the whole neighborhood is pretty separate, so there’s not much through traffic.

  11. ps Like Sandy I celebrate Samhain, although since the local Wicca group disbanded we have a private ceremony at home. That’s what’s nice about Paganism, I suppose, that you can be a solitary practitioner and it’s just as festive as with a large group of people. I try to imagine my farming ancestors from Slovakia during the ceremony and be inspired by their hard work surviving the winter.

    Years ago my Mom sent us a Halloween dish towel, and the black cat illustrated looked exactly like Ives, who we had just adopted that August. So we took a funny pic of Ives next to the towel and a Halloween pumpkin, now we have the “Black kitty Ives, Emmy and Halloween pumpkin” photo each year the way people do Holiday photos. I guess that qualifies as unusual, right? ;)

  12. Every year we hang out spider webs, all sorts of spooky stuff int eh front yard, a littel cemetary in teh front flower bed and the like. Not this year. We are under major construction inside the house, so we had to forego it this year. And the only trick-or-treaters we got here was the grandkids stopping off. We’re on a main street, right in town too.

    Lots of people here are doing the trunk-or-treat, where they meet up in a church parking lot, park the cars and the kids go from car trunk to car trunk getting candy. There were several around town this year and from fifty to a few hundred cars parked in the lots.

    • It’s a glazed ceramic tile — I think they use a particular paint and firing process to make the colors really jump. There is also a little topography to it, too. :)

  13. I always try to do something small and tasteful to decorate for Halloween but my wife always goes off the deep end…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s