Thanks To Halloween, My Holiday Display Will Be A Day Late


I’m in trouble because, since Sept. 1, customers at my antiques store have been asking when I’m going to put out the Christmas merchandise. I have a reputation for my holiday displays. I shop for vintage holiday stuff all year long. Then, in an exemplary show of restraint, I don’t put any of it out until said holiday approacheth. And I don’t shop retail. I go to estate sales and auctions and crawl under tables and up into attics and into the dankest basements to seek this stuff out. While I’m fending off spiders and breathing in mildew, I think about how I’m going to display these forgotten treasures and how my customers are going to love them. So the unveilings are a big deal.

But Halloween messes me up. It messes me up. I have told all my customers that Christmas will be out on Nov. 1, completely forgetting about how much I enjoy Oct. 31. So, as I write this, Nov. 1 is tomorrow, and I haven’t done a diddly dang thing.

Well, I did take down Halloween at the store. I worked feverishly from 3 to 5 p.m., erasing any evidence of the holiday and moving anything black or dark out of a space that is soon to be all twinkly with white, red and green. And pink. And turquoise. (They keep changing it on me.)

Then I rushed home because, at 5:30 p.m. on the dot, the grandchildren were due to arrive dressed as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Tanjiro, the guy in the green-and-black checked kimono from Demon Slayer. My husband Mark had grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, and I had made a salad earlier, all in an effort to get something into the kids’ stomachs before the inevitable sugar onslaught.

While Mark wrapped Tanjiro’s pants legs with white medical tape (a very necessary part of the costume, evidently), I lit the candles in all the candelabras I had placed around the house. The candle flames danced dangerously close to all the construction paper lanterns the kids had made, but this is what happens when you have a “group effort.”

The kids wolfed down their food in five minutes flat, and then stood at the door impatiently willing the sun to set and the first trick-or-treater to arrive. When my daughter said, “I don’t mind being the first trick-or-treater,” the door was nearly torn from its moorings as the kids burst out of it.

Out on the street, my job as grandma is to watch for cars, tie shoes, feel the weight of each child’s bucket after each house (remembering to lean into the weight) and eventually hold the Demon Slayer’s sword, which we told him six times not to bring because it would get heavy.

But if there is a physical look to joy, it is capes and kimonos flying as little feet pound the pavement between houses until exhaustion finally takes over. It is watching my daughter forget she is 44 years old when she yells, “Trick or Treat!” along with her kids. It is snuggling up on the couch with a glass of wine while the kids endlessly sort, stack and trade their candy.

So my Christmas merchandise will not be out until Nov. 2. Sorry, not sorry.