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Eerily Early: The Premature Appearance of Halloween Decorations

Every summer, there is a collective sigh from the student population as advertisements for back to school sales come out. Every Thanksgiving, the turkey is hardly cleared from the table before Christmas carols come blasting through on every radio station on the dial. Likewise, it seems like the school year hardly gets started before stores are selling candy corn and Starbucks brings out their seasonal Salted Caramel Mocha (not complaining).

Living in the Midwest, it’s easy to notice that Halloween decorations come out early. Back home in Illinois, the leaves on the trees have hardly started changing color when the ghost decals pop up on windows, and motion-activated cackling witch statues are placed on porches. But even in sunny Florida, where the palm leaves are always either green or just a different shade of green, Halloween is beckoned in long before October begins.

It seems that once Labor Day has come and gone, the world shifts gears. As classes really start to get moving and fall sets in, the next thing we have to look forward to is Halloween. Halloween brings about a festive and happy mood. As human beings, we want to enjoy things that make us happy for as long as possible. So, we wheel out the bags of candy and the Pumpkin Spice Lattes as soon as it’s acceptable to do so.

There are just a few problems with this idea. I grew up in a house with two brothers, seven and ten years older than me, and a mom who had decorations for every season, and a strict schedule as to when said decorations could go up. If we drove past a single jack-o-lantern on the way to soccer practice before the first of October, my mom took it as personally offensive to her moral code. One note of Jingle Bells or a single scene of It’s a Wonderful Life before the end of Thanksgiving dinner is considered heresy in my house, punishable by coal in your stocking (Santa remembers that stuff).

So in order to help readers avoid any holiday decoration faux pas, I have, with the help of my mom’s decoration schedule, compiled a list of rules for holiday decorating. Many of them are in reference to when it is acceptable to put out certain decorations, but some are just general rules to live by. Enjoy!

  1. Halloween décor should not be displayed at any time before October 1.
  2. If at all possible, king-sized candy bars should be handed out to all trick-or-treaters shorter than my mom (5’2”).
  3. The amount of candy given to any trick-or-treaters taller than my mom is directly related to how legit their costume is.
  4. Pillowcases are the best candy-holders.
  5. Thanksgiving decorations should be put out no sooner than November 1.
  6. There shall be no listening to Christmas music, nor any viewing of Christmas movies, prior to the conclusion of Thanksgiving Dinner.
  7. It is acceptable, even encouraged, to enjoy your first leftover turkey sandwich while watching your first Christmas movie of the season.
  8. No Thanksgiving decorations should be taken down before Black Friday, nor shall they be left up any later than November 30.
  9. No Christmas presents are to be purchased before Black Friday.
  10. Christmas tree shopping and decorating should be done on the morning after Thanksgiving, after all the Black Friday nonsense. And there will be no buying of pre-cut trees. Go get yourself a saw.
  11. We don’t care how tired you are. Drink some coffee and sing a Christmas carol.
  12. Christmas decorations are to be put up no sooner than Black Friday, and should be taken down after Christmas, but prior to New Year’s.
  13. You are not Santa Claus, and this is not the North Pole. Please keep your Christmas decorations to a jolly amount, as opposed to a small elf village on your front lawn.
  14. For the best example of a perfect amount of Christmas decorations on the outside of a house, refer to the house of Clark Griswold.
  15. Valentine’s Day decorations are only acceptable from February 1-14.
  16. When it comes to spring and Easter decorations, use the square-rectangle rule. All spring decorations can be used as Easter decorations, but not all Easter decorations can be used as spring decorations.
  17. Wearing white after Labor Day is fine, but you better rock it.
  18. For fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving decorations, see rule number 13.
  19. Fourth of July decorations are acceptable only for the short period of July 1-4. But flying of American flags is always encouraged.

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