I bought the pumpkin.
Its official name is “Medium Dark Woven Pumpkin by Threshold.” I bought it at Target because Target is a Siren, singing you a song about coming in for eyeliner but banging your ship against the rocks of $20 throw pillows you just can’t leave behind.
I pictured that pumpkin in my house. It could possibly be the crowning piece of my Halloween décor and wouldn’t get stolen by squirrels like my plastic skull.
That was last Halloween. A squirrel put the skull in my neighbor’s yard, like a little rodent socialist fixing the inequity of my having three skulls to my neighbor’s having none. He was a quadruped Robin Hood.
The squirrel. Not my neighbor. My neighbor walks upright and doesn’t steal skulls. So far as I know.
The pumpkin hasn’t been stolen, but it also hasn’t turned my house into this guy’s Matrix-themed Halloween light show.
It takes more than one Medium Dark Woven Pumpkin by Threshold for your house to be featured on Good Morning America. I had to learn that the hard way, in the mean aisles of Target.
So my Halloween décor remains – as always – anemic and inert. I’m not patient enough for light shows and haunted houses. I get bored thirty seconds into planning a look that cohesive.
And yep, I know Martha or Pinterest will do the work for me. But by the time I get to step 37 of the do-it-yourself graveyard I have lost all interest and regret ordering the craft paper some random influencer in Michigan says can only come from France.
Also, I can’t be bothered to store the decorations carefully come November first. Unless Threshold makes an anvil, most decorations can’t withstand getting crammed into a box half their size.
I mean, I know Target has the exact storage I need to safely store Halloween decorations. But you know as well as I do Target has their Christmas decorations on display by the time the first trick-or-treater hits your door.
If I can’t resist the pull of a woven pumpkin, imagine the quivering mess of poor self-control I become around sparkly tinsel. That’s a deal with the devil I most certainly will lose.
Scary Mommy says fall decorating can be good for my mental health, which I think we can all agree I have demonstrated as I cower in the face of social justice squirrels and Target’s satanic bargaining for my eternal soul.
I’m not sure what it is about holiday decorating that stresses me so badly. Is it that I think my house should reflect my love for the season? Is it my Teutonic frugality? Is it that everything stresses me out?
How can I not be stressed? I have squirrels chewing through fake skulls. Through them. If they can chew through plastic, they can chew through skin. They’re like cute, fluffy-tailed versions of the rats in Willard.
And what about Trunk-Or-Treat? That’s so much more stress than decorating a house. The people with dry ice and six-foot human jaws and papier-mache Rocky Balboas adorning their SUVs are just as mystical to me as Target’s Siren song. How much did that cost? How long did that take? What if you miss the season finale of Ted Lasso while you’re pasting Rocky’s shorts?
Also, will you come do my car?
I’m reluctant to decorate my trunk. I have a 12-inch long centipede, a few spiders, and a cobweb. Oh, and a string of lights that broke because – you guessed it – I didn’t store them properly. What can I do with that?
I Googled “trunk-or-treat centipede spider cobweb.” The top hit was a handyman site telling me to never kill a centipede in my house, like I’m Michael Corleone trying to keep my business away from the family.
And now all I can think about is a centipede hiding under the woven pumpkin.
If I could capture my mind, what with its whirl of flesh-eating squirrels and hidden centipedes, I’d have one fine Trunk-Or-Treat.
If only I had the patience.