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My desire to decorate has decreased over the past few years, and again this year the desire is lacking. Each of the past three years I have considering putting it on hold, but in the end I’ve decorated. I continue to find it difficult to disappoint my kids (9 and 2 year olds), the neighborhood kids, and even many of the adults in town. Here’s a brief synopsis of what’s been on my mind the past few years:

• Kids – with two it has been more and more difficult to find the time.
• Work – over the years has become increasingly busier and is taking time away from all aspects of life.
• Money – ran into medical issues, extra costs for gas, food, etc.
• Energy – plain and simple, it’s been lacking.

Then earlier this year my father passed away. I’ve been decorating with this man since the late 80’s and since his passing every ounce of me has wanted to quit decorating for Halloween, or at least take a break this year. Then I run into dilemma that people in the neighborhood are already asking about decorating this year, but most importantly my youngest sees the decorations and the pictures of past and I don’t want to disappoint him and not have any decorations up. And, since I decorate at my parent’s house my mother is still looking forward to the decorations, being able to share with her grandchildren, and for the people in town to stop by as they do each and every year.

So, what do I do? Do I decorate? Do I not decorate and take the year off?

Here’s another snag (as my mind won’t stop thinking), I am bored with doing the same old decorating. I feel like I’ve maxed out on my ideas to keep things fresh and fun. Each year there’s a graveyard, a pumpkin patch with upwards of 30 carved pumpkins, a kid friendly front yard to a scarier graveyard with zombies/scary characters, and scary noises, there’s been a mini haunted house in the garage. With limited time and funds I’ve found it tough to be excited to decorate when I haven’t been able to add new and exciting things.

What are your thoughts?

P.S. Sorry for the lengthy post! :(
 

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Seer of All
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I can so relate to your circumstances, and I'm sure many others here can as well. Summer of 2015 was spent dealing with my brother's mental illness and addiction problems and then in August he committed suicide. I was left to deal with the aftermath and it was the worst thing I have ever been through. Still, I jumped headlong into my Halloween display, mostly because I needed the distraction. I went all out and did a theme I'd been wanting to try for years and, when I look at the pictures now, I see that it was quite amazing! But you know what? I hated it. I hated every single minute of the time I spent on it and I could not wait to rip it all down and forget the whole thing. It did not bring me any of the usual Halloween joy, even when people would drive by and tell me how spectacular they thought it was. I simply did not care. In retrospect, I should have taken the year off and dealt with my crappy circumstances.

Fast forward to 2016. Things continue to be turbulent at our house, as now my husband is battling his way through chemo. I thought about taking the year off completely but I really feel more halloweenish than I did last year, so instead I am keeping things simple, doing only what I feel like doing, and not worrying about disappointing anyone. They will get over it.

Take care of yourself and don't force anything. If Halloween isn't fun for you, then why should you have to deal with that on top of everything else you're going through. Get all those voices out of your head. Spend time with your kids. Watch Charlie Brown, eat some candy, and call it good.

Good luck to you! ;)
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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I'm so sorry about your dad. :(

I lost my Halloween mojo about 4 years ago, and have struggled with getting it back ever since. (serious medical issues, work issues, lost two pets under horrible circumstances, and then also lost my father as well).

Last year, I decided to switch themes completely, (from spooky graveyard to creepy carnival) and that helped quite a bit as I had to build all new stuff, come up with ideas that would work for my yard setup, finding things that I could repurpose from my existing decor with some modification or hunting down cheap/free carny decorations... the neighborhood kids and even adults really loved what I did, and that helped too.

It is probably too late in the season (and you'd have to be crazy to attempt) to change themes for this year, so maybe figure out if you might have an idea for something new for NEXT year, put out a very small display of whatever you have on hand that is easy to setup/take down, and maybe make a sign as a teaser for next year? Like if you want to change to Pirates or Carnival or whatever theme sounds like it might be fun... you could put up a creepy clown with a sign saying "the circus arrives Halloween 2017" or a pirate skelly with a sign saying "Pirate's Cove sails in ~ Halloween 2017" and get the kids buzzing about what THAT will look like.

But there is nothing wrong with taking the year off, or downsizing for a year. It sounds like you do a huge amount of decorating and then running a walkthru, so scaling it back to a much smaller display instead of interactive might be the way to go to give yourself a breather for the year.

It could mean just doing one JoL for your mom's porch or hanging up a few easy to handle decorations. One of the years where I was really struggling, I put out just my collection of blowmold pumpkins - there were about 15 of them in all shapes, and I lined them up around the front of the house. It took me and the husband about 20 minutes total the day of to run an extension cord and plug everything in, and still looked great and was way more than 95% of our neighborhood put out.

Worrying about disappointing your kids, your mom or the neighborhood is putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. Everyone will get over it, and your kids and mom probably could do more if they wanted to have lots of decorations up. A 9 year old is definitely old enough to help put stuff up and take stuff down, so he/she and your mom could put up a few things and maybe make this "their" year to decorate?

But there is no wrong answer here. You've had a hard time, and you need to take care of you first, and if that means a dramatic scale back or taking the year off, then you need to do it. Do not feel guilt over this - because you have nothing to feel guilty about.
 

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My best advice and thoughts is to scale it way down.

Make it simple, set them down with some crayons and paper, have them draw pumpkins and other things and hang those up. Sounds like you've been doing extreme decorating at two houses, maybe you just need to get back to basics?

I've had a couple rough Halloweens. One year our basement flooded 3 times, only to found out later water somehow got in one of my big plastic bins and destroyed 75% of my Halloween decorations (Wooden things had warped, cardboard was utterly destroyed, things had mold growing on it, the flooding happened in Winter and Spring and I didn't open that box til Fall). I was so sad I didn't have much to put out I didn't bother at all. That made things worse, then I feel like I missed out on something, I felt off for months. Halloween is a big part of who I am, skipping it made me feel weird. With other life events going on around that time as well, it was just a dark spiral.

If any neighbor asks, all you need to say is it's been a rough year for you, I'm sure they'll understand.

Since it is also something you did with your father, I don't think you should entirely skip it for that reason too. It might be hard, but it was something you did together. Memories of those times should be happy and decorating should be in his honor. Talk to your mom, tell her you're feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated. Sometimes talking it out will help too.
 

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I am sorry you are feeling stressed. It certainly is a lot to deal with. I have not been through everything you have, but I also have two smaller children - my daughter, DD5, and my son, DS2. Between me, my husband (DH) & 2 kids, all of our birthdays & anniversaries fall between Sept-Nov, we take a long weekend fall trip every October, and we have birthday parties to plan & deal with, a Halloween indoor & outdoor display, and a party on Halloween. It's a lot.

On the one hand, I love making memories for my kids, our friends, family & neighbors. My DH & I both get a kick out of everyone talking about our display. But we are somewhat older parents and our energy lags too. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed with all that needs doing & adding financial worries into that doesn't help either.

My DH's father died rather young, and it's important to my DH & I to remember that we are not guaranteed time with our kids, so sometimes we literally drag up motivation from that somewhat macabre perspective. We can see that our kids really do love all of our Halloween efforts, but at the same time, it's true that sometimes less really is more. :)

I think you should try to think about your motivation & whether you can tweak it a bit. Instead of focusing on the sadness you feel that your Dad isn't here to experience this with you, can you think about wanting to pass on that same love for the season to your children & focus on that? It is absolutely okay to skip a year or scale back, but I know that if I skipped a year completely, that would probably make me feel worse since I'd feel badly about letting everyone down. I don't say that to make you potentially feel that way - I just mean that if that is your personality also, skipping things may bring you more unhappiness than not skipping.

I think you are hitting the nail on the head also, when you say that you are feeling bored with the same old, same old. Think about what you might feel excited to do, and what you would like to remove. Not everything HAS to be completely about the kids, you know - if you are tired of doing a mini haunted house, for example, even if the kids love it, you could change it to something else & kids will probably love that too.

For us, we do the same general display each year - a graveyard, haunted cornfield area & expanding slowly but surely into a Witch area. It helps to feel less overwhelmed when we stick to a similar layout each year. Also, we realize that even though for US it seems too similar, most people only see it once a year so they really aren't remembering exactly how things were from the previous year. Plus, we try to keep it fresh for ourselves by buying a new prop or two or changing out something that we are bored of. My point is really that you should definitely make changes to make it easier on yourself. For us, doing the majority of things the same helps us get things done more quickly at this stage of our lives, and we need that right now. In the future, when the kids are older & can help more, we may change things up, but for now this is what works. I also make a point of getting out our indoor stuff far earlier than I ever used to before. This weekend we will start pulling out bins for the indoor stuff. When you can only work in 5 or 10 increments here & there, starting earlier helps to decrease the pressure also.

I think it's also important to talk to your family about how you are feeling. Ask your Mom if she wants to help more, or if there's something in particular she'd really miss if it weren't there. Maybe it's time for her to make new traditions too. Maybe she can take the kids & make Halloween graham cracker houses one afternoon to give you time for some set up. Maybe there is a teen in the neighborhood who has always expressed interest in your display & who would be willing to help you setup - perhaps you can give them some of the decorations you no longer wish to use in exchange for their help.

Think about what will work for YOU. It's not just about the happiness of others, and talking to them can help you all to be on the same page. Lots of luck to you!



 

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So sorry for everything you're going through. Sounds so rough. Take it easy on yourself. Maybe scale it back, as others have said. Spend time with family and your friends. They're the ones that truly matter (not the neighbors) and time with you is all they really want.

And, yes, don't listen to those voices in your head. They'll only drag you down. Go with your heart!
 

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Sorry for your loss.

You need to do you. If that means taking a year off or backing off dramatically from decorating that's fine. Definitely talk to your mom. I'm sure if you told her why you need a break she'd completely understand. as for your kids, why not find some new traditions? Is your older child able to help you decorate (if you decide to) if they are, then maybe only put out the stuff that your kids like. Take your kids to a pumpkin patch or a kid friendly haunted house. Find things to do as a family.

I think if you took a break that when you decided to give decorating another spin you'd find yourself with some new inspiration. Like it's been said a few times, maybe try a new theme. Or give a twist to your current theme. There's a bunch of small thing you can do or not do.

You need to take care of yourself first.
 
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