Halloween is just a couple of days away and nowhere is it more evident than the bats, spiders, rats and black cats visible on almost every porch, inside every window and on almost every lawn in neighborhoods everywhere. Something spooky this way comes. I get a good belly laugh seeing the lengths people go to transform their homes into a temporary haunted house. According to research done by the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend around $6.86 billion on the creepiest of holidays. In 2010, costume spending hit the $840 million mark, and this year costumes sales are expected to reach $1 billion! Overall, spending on Halloween decorations is second only to spending on Christmas decorations. It seems Halloween is good, no, make that great business.
Here comes the part I find amusing. We love to decorate with things that usually elicit a scream and a panicked called to the exterminator. Everywhere I look I see spiders: large ones and small ones. Some spiders are hanging on a web, some spiders have blinking eyes. One crafty neighbor of mine rigged a spider to fall from overhead on top of the unsuspecting Trick – or – Treaters ringing his doorbell! That was devilishly cool. And yet, when the real thing (a spider or a rat) pays us a visit, no one I know grabs it, bags it and says, “we’re saving this fine specimen for Halloween decorations!” File that one under scary and odd… Renfield.
Beware of real spiders like the black widow and the brown recluse. Each of these spiders can bite as a defensive reaction and can cause painful allergic reactions and can be potentially fatal to children and the elderly. Bats, while cool to look at from a distance, should be dealt with by a professional that complies with your states bat protection laws if found in your home or business. Mice and rats pose several health risks because they contaminate food and surfaces they come into contact with and also carry other insect pests like ticks and fleas. Unfortunately it’s the time of year these critters show up and want to hibernate or set up camp in our homes to escape the cold.
I have to admit, it’s always fun to see which home out-haunts the next and to count just how many rats, mice, bats, snakes and spiders you can fit onto a 22×12 porch that also shares space with Dracula and a Mummy tucked into two life-sized coffins, two black cats and four carved pumpkins. Throw in a haunted soundtrack with the screams of ghastly ghouls and goblins, and your Halloween wonderland is complete. Now that is scary.