It happens every year. My prized herb garden begins to bolt. Plants become leggy, and I wonder if I will pluck the caterpillars from my parsley or let them gnaw the lot to sticks. The grass (what little there is to be had amidst the clover and wiregrass) becomes my enemy, a vast refuge for countless mosquito swarms that swell upwards in a whining cloud the moment my feet brush its surface. I begin to grumble about the heat and humidity, shrug off the raggedy appearance of my hedgerows. Last night I dreamed the tree leaves were beginning to yellow, first one, then another, a creeping progression of golden, glorious decline.
It is now official–I’m done with summer.
I knew this moment was coming. The past few weeks have been hot, intolerably so. While cranking the AC and stalking the weather page to find the one acceptably-climed day in which to venture outside and quickly shear my grass, I have been perusing stores’ shelves, impatiently watching for the first peeks of fall decor, knowing the Halloween products will not be far behind. It is no secret I love Halloween more than Christmas, that I search for odd and wondrous decor like others hunt for the perfect holiday gift. I walk through craft stores in late summer and breathe a sigh of contentment at the walls of orange, gold, crimson, and black. Fall is my holiday season, and Halloween sits atop it like the cherry on the most perfect sundae.
It is by fortune my mother-in-law shares my zeal for All Hallow’s Eve. We covet one another’s collections, share our spooky resources. She gives me books to peruse for ideas and inspiration, brings me Day of the Dead dolls from her travels to Mexico, and finds the most promising shops in Florida for us to haunt when I go down there on vacation. She feeds my desire to have the Perfect Halloween. It is, then, no surprise I have decided this year I will have a party. What might be surprising is I have never hosted one before. Maybe it was because I never before had such huge resources of friends to fill my house, or maybe I was waiting to have a collection big enough to support my grand ideas. Either way, I am ready, and stupidly excited about it. I have thus far planned on spooky projections (or maybe a silent film showing on a wall), a tree branch barrier, my huge ouija board collection displayed, my glittery Illuminations lanterns hanging from the ceiling… I have more ideas than space, and more ambition than money, but that is not going to stop me from hosting one hell of a bash.
I’ve sounded summer’s death knell and begun counting the days ’til Halloween on my own internal, dark Advent calendar. I will continue to tend my garden, of course, but my soul’s longings will stretch to October. My only concern is, can I spend the next ten and a half weeks sporadically breaking into, “This is Halloween” without going mad.
I guess we’ll soon find out.