Sunday, 7 October 2007

Fall house decorating in the USA

In the last week I have noticed that a number of my fellow bloggers in the USA are decorating the outside of their houses for the Fall season.
I am intrigued to know why, as although I have spent much time in the States, I have not come across this before.
Is it traditional or is it a new thing or is it geographical?
One of the reasons I ask is because over the years it has become obvious that so much of what begins in America eventually comes to the UK. Good and bad!
A decade ago one would never have seen houses here covered in lights at Christmas. This seems to have coincided with movies like Home Alone and various Christmas films.
It has got to the point now where it has become very competitive and some people take months getting their display ready.
The media have even got involved with many homes being shown in the papers and on TV.
A more recent phenomena is 'trick and treat' and some people are decorating their homes for Halloween.
The last couple of years the grocery stores have begun to sell witches outfits for children.
What many people do not seem to realise is that Haloween is a Pagan festival and steeped in the Occult.
So I am interested to know more about Fall decorating, maybe it comes from Harvest Festival. Do enlighten me please.


Betty said...

I can only speak for myself....I don't decorate for Halloween or participate in it. The decorations I do are in celebration of the bountiful harvest God blesses us to enjoy.....we live on a farm and in a farming community. The fields are yielding their bounty...corn, peanuts, cotton, soybeans, wheat and other grains....the pecan trees are dropping their delicious nuts....we have so much to be thankful for.......that's why I celebrate the fall season...Betty

Vee said...

I'm not a fan of Halloween decorating myself. I just can't get into spider webs and splatted witches. God has given us such incredible beauty all around just for the drinking in. I do decorate in an autumnal theme: mums, bittersweet, pumpkins, etc.

As for lights at Christmas...I find them incredibly cheerful...the darkest days of the year met with sparkling lights.

It must come as a shock to have these Americanisms be creeping your way! You have my sincere apologies. :)

nikkipolani said...

I think part of the fall decorating thing was Martha Stewart and her magazine. It kind of crept in with Halloween decorating and extended to fall.

I agree with Vee on the cheery Christmas lights. There are some neighborhoods in my area that get very creative with their lights and several streets will decorate. In the evenings coming up to Christmas, people drive through these neighborhoods to enjoy the lights.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

We don't celebrate Halloween in our family but we do love to decorate for "autumn".

I live in the Midwest part of the U.S. and we have long decorated with pumpkins, corn, autumn leaves, etc. but we don't go in for anything that reflects Halloween.

My daughter lives in New England where it is gorgeous in autumn.

Willow said...

My observation from living in such diverse places as Oregon and Southern California (admittedly both on the Pacific Coast) and in the Chicago area years ago when The Professor was in grad school, is that fall decorating is somewhat regional, it is also somewhat economic (ie, wealthy communities decorate for fall) and somewhat ethnic. Some communities really do out for Halloween (although we don't), in Oregon people use pumpkins and corn stalks on their porches. The same is true of Christmas. Even as a small child I would go "Christmas lights looking" with my family, driving around neighborhoods that would decorate every house. In SoCal there is a huge neighborhood in Torrance (south of LAX) that has competitions for various categories of Christmas decorations. I've walked through that neighborhood in December and it's pretty amazing. (One of my thoughts was, I'd hate to have to pay their electricity bills in January!)

Becky said...

I have always decorated for fall. We don't do halloween, although we answer the door to the children that do.

But I decorate for fall - autumn colors, gourds, a pumpkin sometimes, things like that. Just to celebrate the changing season and the gifts of the harvest.

I decorate for spring and summer too, with different dishtowels and different kinds of flowers on the table. Different scents of candles, or, as in summer, no candles at all (too hot).

It is just a seasonal thing for me. Christmas, of course, is a season in itself.

I had no idea that was not a common thing in England. I learned something new.

Betty said...


Please don't think I thought that you thought that I decorated for, that's alot of thoughts, isn't it?

Can't wait for the next chapter....Betty

Lois Billingham Currie said...

I think decorating our porches and entrance way is a relatively new thing here in Canada, as in the last 15 to 20 years. As the decorating frenzy has been stirred here by magazines, and tv shows; more and more people do all the seasons. The stores are full of every imaginable thing to use for each season. To moving scary life size frankenstein dolls, to beautiful wreaths etc. I do a fall decor, but I am afraid that over the years, my kids have snuck in the odd fake spiderwebs with plastic spiders, or orange lights that look like little jack-=o-lanters, etc. Those would only stay up while the kids are calling on Oct 31.
After Oct 31 it all comes down, and we start to see Christmas decor.

Lorrie said...

I thought I've read stories where churches in England have autumn or harvest displays to celebrate the bounty of the year.

I decorate for every season - not over the top, but with what's available that season.

Halloween seems to becoming more and more elaborate - something I just can't understand.

Reflection Through The Seasons said...

Hi Barbara....
This is an interesting post and I’ve enjoyed reading the comments too.

Being English, I also enjoy seeing how our friends in US decorate for the season. I think its a lovely idea and as I commented to my friend Betty, I am tempted to start the trend myself. I did once make a wreath of spring flowers for the door one Easter time and received pleasing comments about it.

As for Halloween I am not in favour of it, never have! and I don’t like the idea of children going from door to door ‘begging’. However, I do open the door to children and have a supply of sweeties to hand out, but I have to admit, its only because I’d feel a ‘meany’ if I didn’t. Marion

A Woman Who is: said...

I could be wrong but I think all the harvest decorating and celebration of the harvest started with the Pilgrims. Those famous first Americans, having a harvest party with the Native Indians/First Nations People to thank God for the bounty. I grew up in New England, and the fall/harvest season is something to celebrate in that region, spectacular really.
Alas Martha Stewart and commercialism has greatly put things into overdrive.
For me personally, I love some new scented candles that have cinnamon in them. A fall wreath for my door preferably made from natural autumn leaves, berries, twigs and such.
And some signs of the harvest around, bowls full juicy apples, gourds and pumpkins scattered here and there. Dried Indian corn, corn stalks, those kinds of things are all sold at every farm stand in America this time of the year. I must admit I am on the look out for some white pumpkins I saw in a catalogue. Here is a website that will give the latest look they are marketing.