The kitchen table looked like the fall section of a craft store had thrown up all over it.
Pumpkins in all shapes, sizes, colors and materials were stacked in a row. Homey wooden signs proclaiming “Harvest” and “Spooky” were ready for the windowsills. Smiling ghosts and scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns were everywhere you turned.
As a centerpiece, a black ceramic Christmas tree, covered in orange and purple lights, stood among it all.
I had finally relented.
My family was bugging me for weeks to start getting out the fall and Halloween decorations. Even when it was still mid-August, they were ready to move on to the next season — making our home seem cozy and comfortable, even when the weather outside was hot and humid.
But I’m a strict holiday decoration traditionalist. There is a time and a place to put up the different knick-knacks, wall hangings and other items to celebrate throughout the year.
Flags and red, white and blue accouterments go up on Memorial Day and last through the Fourth of July. Christmas trees can come out of storage the day after Thanksgiving. Fall decorations don’t go up until it’s fall.
My wife and son disagree, calling me a spoil-sport and a baby. I can take it. I have my convictions, and since I’m the only one who can reach the boxes of pumpkins, ghosts and fake autumn leaves, I have the final say.
Finally, this week, I felt that time was right. For one, autumn officially started at 9:04 p.m. Thursday for us here in Indiana. And after a blast of 90-degree heat and high humidity, the weather settled into a fall-like chill.
Anthony and I went out to the garage to assess the state of our decorations. It took some searching, rearranging boxes on the shelf, moving past the Christmas ornaments and the artificial tree to the boxes I stowed away last November.
But we got everything down, and in the kitchen, started unpacking. Anthony channeled his inner interior designer, scanning each room, finding the perfect place for that fox figurine leaning on a pumpkin or the black metal haunted house.
He unearthed things I had completely forgotten about. At some point in the past few years, he had made a host of foam pumpkin ornaments, with goofy smiles and funny faces. We hung them on the decorative birch tree in our foyer, a silly surprise to greet visitors.
In the big bay window at the back of the house, he proudly displayed his newest find — a solar-powered bobblehead of Snoopy holding a pumpkin, given to him by his grandparents.
We were able to put almost everything in a good place, without making the house feel cluttered or buried in an avalanche of curios.
By the time darkness fell, with some of the light-up decorations turned on, a candle burning and all of us settled on the couch, it felt right.
It felt like fall.
Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]