Here’s two gigantic bins brimming with orange and black and blood, sitting triumphantly on the first floor, dug out from the deepest depths of the basement. It can only mean one thing. It’s time to decorate.
Just digging them out of felt kind of special. I’d finally acquired enough Halloween stuff to justify moving it from a few scraggly, smelly boxes to crisp storage bins. Storage bins have an air of authority and superiority about them. There’s something so cool and official about “getting out the bins.” Then there’s the musty, rubbery smell of old decorations that gets me in the spirit. Halloween is for real now.
For the past couple years, what I’ve done to decorate is set up a Halloween mood table. It’s an idea I borrowed from one of my favorite blogs, X-Entertainment. Basically, it’s a table cleared off and re-purposed for all things Halloween. It’s kind of like the centerpiece, like a tree at Christmas, only it’s more like a shrine. This is a table where Halloween is effectively HAPPENING.
But it’s also more than that. The Halloween mood table sustained me in the sparse years when I lived in apartment buildings and didn’t get trick-or-treaters. When I didn’t have a wife or even a girlfriend to do Halloween things with like haunted trails and pumpkin patches. I longed for a way to celebrate Halloween that didn’t involve binge-eating candy out of a desperate obligation to feel in the Halloween mood. Decorating an end table gave me hope.
Now I have a house in the ‘burbs, and I’m free to build a graveyard in the front yard with Styrofoam tombstones to my heart’s desire. Yet the Halloween mood table is a tradition I want to keep going, and this year, it has expanded to an entire corner I’m making over.
All reputable makeovers have a BEFORE shot. Words to live by. Never buy any keg-size of protein powder without a before shot. Likewise, once you see the before-and-after of the Halloween mood table, it will change your life. And it may also reduce inches on your waist.
This is in fact the first time ever that this table hasn’t been cluttered with:
A. mail, loose change
B. candles that the wife buys and is addicted to like crack
C. car keys and some other keys, honestly what the hell are these keys to?
D. random wads of receipts mixed with pocket lint
E. other things that make us feel like worthless slobs that no one loves
I began with a trip to the Dollar Tree. Although I clearly already owned two massive bins of Halloween crap, it just didn’t feel like enough. This is also basically the theme of my life. As usual, the Dollar Tree’s game was tight this year, selling Halloween props on par with the quality you’ll find at Spirit stores after being marked up 250%.
And also as usual, there were a couple of TOTAL headscratchers for sale, like these photo cut-outs I found:
You just never see actual photographs blown-up and cut out. It doesn’t initially seem all that strange, but Halloween is plastic cartoony and exaggerated by nature. An actual picture of a rat or a spider just seems so random. So of course, I bought them.
I also bought a “creepy cloth,” cotton spider web, and garland. Because like I always say, garland takes it to the next level. Well, I’ve never actually said that, but it’s clearly more words to live by.
Now it was time to paint my canvas with fake spiders and bloody limbs. But the Halloween mood table isn’t necessarily about vision. It’s about gorging yourself with Halloween goodness. It’s about total Halloween domination. And besides, cramming is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well.
I showed no restraint. This isn’t exactly a time in life when restraint should be called for. This isn’t just decorating a corner of the room. This is forcefully taking over that corner. Photo of rat taped to the lampshade? Yes. Trick-or-treat bags hung from picture frames? Yes. Tombstones in record crate? Absolutely.
And as for the mood table itself, let’s take a closer look:
Here we have a pumpkin bucket filled with fun-sized chocolate bars, lest we not forget this is the entire objective and existence of Halloween—to acquire said fun-sized chocolates.
Also of note, one spider made of garland. Garland is my passion. So are googly eyes.
I’ve got a thing for gross-out foods. The finger fries, the spaghetti-and-maggots, the eyeball pizza…all are beautiful things.
And now the mood is set. The 2011 Halloween mood table is alive and well two weeks away from Halloween. That’s fourteen spooky days from now. Make ’em special ones. Watch some scary movies. Eat some peanut butter Reese pumpkins. Go nuts in Dollar Tree. Seriously, just lose your head in that place. No one will judge you. Everything’s a fucking dollar. We’ve all done it.
And then…take over an end table.