Thursday, October 28, 2010

Return of the Griswolds' Halloween

Meet the Griswolds.

Or, their house, rather.

Trust me, this is tame in comparison to years past. The photo above is actually from last year. The Griswolds haven't hit the light switch yet, but the graveyard is up, and I saw the ladder on the side of the house yesterday. Seeing the ladder reminded me of this old post, and I decided to share it again today.

Their name isn't really Griswold. I just started calling them that around Halloween time the first year we moved across the street from them. Their house reminded me of something, but I just couldn't put my finger on it....

I remember watching in fascination and horror that first October, as Mr. Griswold perched precariously on his roof line, stringing strands of flashing orange and green lights around each window frame. Lights covered every flat surface of the front of the home.

My mouth was agape as he determinedly staked blue, red, and yellow spot lights on the graves in the front yard, making sure to focus on the spooky skeleton draped across Dracula's headstone.

The blinking skull lights wound around the street lamp next to their driveway about sent me over the edge.

My parents weren't into Halloween, and I spent my early years in a house set so far back in the woods that no one wanted to visit on October 31st. The rest of my childhood was spent in a neighborhood of yuppie McMansions where everyone decorated their front porches with tasteful Autumn leaf wreaths, pumpkins, and the occasional "Boo!" sign on the front door.

So the Griswolds were a bit of a home decor shock to me back in 2003 when T and I moved in. Each October was marked with the sight of Mr. Griswold's busy adornment of his house, and it eventually became a tradition to watch him work and wonder how long it would take him this year.

Last year, Mr. Griswold was later than usual hauling his wares out of the garage. When I told him how much Natalie enjoyed the nightly show, he smiled and said he wasn't sure he was going to do it because his children were off at college. The next night, I grinned to see how excited my girls were when Mr. Griswold's Halloween handiwork lit the neighborhood night sky on L Avenue.

Sarah's post on making your home YOUR haven made me look out the window and think of the Griswolds. Their way of decorating their house might not be my style, but they spent years creating a fun place for their kids to enjoy Halloween and now they offer my kids a nightly show to rival a Pink Floyd concert.

I don't cringe anymore when Mr. Griswold clambers up his ladder. I smile in anticipation of the shouts of excitement each night when the lights go up.

Happy Halloween!

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  1. I love this post, Amanda. Everything about it. Bravo to you for celebrating and appreciating a style that's not yours but is nonetheless valuable.

    Here's to a happy Halloween to all of us, as different as we all are.

  2. Christmas Vacation is one of my all time favorite movies...that and Nightmare Before Christmas!!
    Glad the Griswolds are alive and well!

  3. my girls would love this but Halloween decorating isn't my style either-especially if it's really spooky decorating! hey-i should post pictures of the lovely Halloween decoration we have at the house at the end of our street-my girls laugh every time we go by and i kind of cringe-a witch on a toilet-i'll remember this post next time we drive by :)

  4. Nice, I'll bet the girls love that. :-) Does he decorate like that for Christmas too?

  5. Great post! Good for you for celebrating his decorating even if it's not your style. It's fun for the kids, they'll always remember this. And I'm sure your neighbor made great memories for his kids. :) Plus I feel like Halloween is the one holiday where you can be a little tacky. It's all in good fun. :)

  6. I just love your posts. We too have a very near by neighbor that likes to deck out their home with all kinds of seemingly randomly placed Halloween decor most that lights up! They go overbored too with unrelated, randomly placed Christmas light up yard items. Since Christmas was my first jaw drop experience with them I'll share a little of my first take which was 'what in the world is that.' My kids was more 'Look at that Mommy, why don't we have lights like that, why don't we have light up geese with stocking hats, why don't we have light up Charlie brown panels that are spotlighted, why don't we have lollipop peppermint lights, why, why, why???" I too have come to appreciate the 'big kid' side of our neighbors and their delighting the neighborhood kids while I can have what I enjoy simple wreaths and a few white lights at Christmas and fall flowers and pumpkins at Halloween.

  7. I don't decorate my house like that for Halloween either---it is more fall-like with a few spiders and webs here and there. With that said, I LOVE when other people really do up their house for the holidays, any holiday! As a tradition, my family will hop in the car and drive around to all of our favorite houses during Halloween and Christmas. I'm grateful for those people for providing the memories and traditions I am making for my children! Happy Halloween :)

  8. Funny! Yeah, I don't do that either, but I guess I do appreciate the other people who do, because my kids like to see it.

  9. Great post! I, too, am learning to not be creeped out by how the Mexican/American's decorate for Halloween...creepy shruken head kind of things. I understand why they are hanging them and their tradition but it still gives me the shivers at times to see them.

    It is amazing when your kids are gone, your attitude to how much you decorate kind of changes or you think in your head "maybe I won't do so much this holiday season". I always had fun decorating and seeing the kids all excited, maybe when we get grandkids that fun will return.

  10. Oh you gave them a reason to keep his tradition going by telling him how your girls look forward to it. When your kids go off to college, a lot of that fun stuff goes away, I bet it made his day.

  11. Such a great post! I have to agree with you...that is totally not my style, but I know my boys would love it!

  12. one of my favorite movies...
    love that they are in your 'hood!!!

  13. It won't be long before your neighbor starts his Christmas decorating.

    There's a trailer on the way to the beach that I love to see because they decorate their entire yard for every single holiday. I have to admit that I like it.

  14. I love it! We don't have anyone in our neighborhood who goes quite that crazy for Halloween, but I'm sure my daughter would love it if they did. My parents weren't into Halloween, either, when I was growing up, so even putting out some jack-o-lanterns seems like a big deal to me.

  15. Great post Amanda! I love that you've learned to appreciate the lights even though it's not your style because of the pleasure it brings your babies. We have a few houses that turn their homes into haunted houses in our neighborhood. Creepy! But, to each their own. I'll save my decorating fun for Christmas.


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