Rethinking Halloween Decor

Every year Halloween shows up, and I feel a little guilty I’m not doing more. While I love bringing Fall into the home, I struggle to maintain the same level of excitement for Halloween decor. Honestly? Whether it’s classic skeletons, scary zombie hands, or even a light spooky-kitsch vibe—it just doesn’t speak to my soul. 

Look, I love Halloween. But I don’t, like, love Halloween decorations. At least not like I love Fall decor. Or CHRISTMAS! Omigosh, when the winter holidays show up, I want to incorporate all the little festive details everywhere. And don’t get me started on the trees! …Halloween? Not as much. 

a black wreath of gnarled branches set above orange candles and a pumpkin staged with crow statues

I think most people who love decorating feel compelled to do it up for every holiday. But I find that makes the whole ordeal seem even more like a chore, rather than an exciting opportunity to express yourself in the home! And inevitably, when I’m not as excited, I don’t invest as much. So I end up buying a bunch of crap that I won’t bother keeping, and throw out by the end of the season. 

Then I feel guilty! The whole cycle leaves me feeling icky, like I got caught binge-eating leftover candy after the kids have gone to bed. 

Despooking Halloween Decor

So what’s the alternative when you just can’t bring yourself to care? 

Don’t bother! 

No, really. Save your creative stamina (and your budget) for the times of year that you’re most excited to celebrate. Halloween decor, or any holiday decor, will only work when it’s done with joy and loving attention. Festivity just can’t be faked. So do what feels good for you! And I’ll take making these pumpkin succulents over pumpkin carving any day.

Holding a DIY succulent pumpkin

It’s no different than when considering renovation, albeit on a much smaller scale! The success of your endeavor will always be tied to your WHY. This is what the Anita Yokota Method is all about: considering what exactly you want out of your space, in order to create it. For me, Halloween is just a fun day where everyone plays dress up. But for others, it’s a whole cultural experience! 

My neighbor, Robin, really loves Halloween. Stepping into her home is like walking into Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. She decorates the whole house, and she does an amazing job. We’re talking candelabras, scary paintings, the works. The best part is, she hosts an annual Halloween party, and shares her festivity with all of us. Her joy catches on quick, and it gets the whole block in the spirit of the thing.  

a pile of heirloom pumpkins ready to be picked!

That’s what it’s all about! Festive decor sets a scene to enjoy the holiday in its fullest. And occasionally, it’s about loving something enough that you want it to be present everywhere you look. So if it’s not your favorite thing, don’t force yourself to go all-out. Keep it simple with a couple glitter pumpkins, and wait for Christmas. But if it is YOUR thing, let yourself revel in it! 

Creating Space to Celebrate

Of course, “don’t bother” isn’t so easy when you have kiddos who capital-L-LOVE Halloween. Natalie’s birthday is only a few days before the big night, so she’s a Halloween fanatic! I’m always reminded when Spooky Season is upon us, because she wants to plan her costume well in advance. Some Yokota traits are inescapable! 

Natalie is pleased as punch in the backyard with her playhouse

Much of the reason I decorated for Halloween in the first place was for my daughters. But naturally, we can’t all be Robins. If it feels like you’re missing the mark—and you’re sick of feeling guilty—it’s a good time to come back to the WHY. I love my girls, and want them to be able to celebrate the things they love, too! 

Now I know what I actually want: a space for my girls to get to celebrate. So two years ago, we “renovated” a faded old playhouse into the ultimate decoration, a DIY Halloween Play House. The inside is even a creepy yellow, so it feels spooky, like a boarded up old house—bats and all! Natalie loves playing in it year round, and even Emily joins in around Halloween. 

the girls play in the haunted play house

Sometimes it’s not about doing the decorating for your kids, but giving them a chance to revel in the holiday celebration for themselves. If DIYs have taught me anything, it’s that joy lies in the doing of the thing. The best part of decor is in the participation! Think of carving Jack-o-lanterns, painting Easter eggs, trimming Christmas trees—any holiday your family loves can be celebrated by preparing for it, together. 

As Natalie gets older, I have no doubt she’ll bring the bats from the playhouse into her room! And when the time comes, we can always negotiate the other interior spaces at a family dinner. 😉

Xo,

Anita 

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