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October 30, 2013

Halloween, fall decorations brighten up spirits, lawns

By Sherri Kolade
C & G Staff Writer

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Farmington resident Michele Reynolds has a laugh on her porch with her husband, Doug Reynolds, who is obscured by a nearby Frankenstein decoration.

Every year, it is the same glorious thing.

Farmington resident Michele Reynolds gingerly opens her Halloween decorations from 11 months before — a scarecrow here, a string of pumpkin lights there — and turns the front lawn into her epitome of Halloween: scary ghosts and goblins need not apply.

“It is a lot of fun,” Reynolds said of decorating her lawn for Halloween. “My kids always enjoy coming home, driving down the street and seeing the decorations out. I never wanted to put out anything for Halloween that would scare little kids because it is all about them coming for Halloween.”

Reynolds, 49, doesn’t only decorate her lawn for trick-or-treaters, but for herself and family.

A Farmington resident since she was 6 years old and in the second grade, Reynolds remembers her heart turning toward the Oct. 31 holiday. 

“We did a little bit (of decorating as a kid),” she said. “My mom was always huge into making costumes for us; that is when I started to love Halloween.”

Reynolds’ love for Halloween followed her into adulthood, even before her husband and babies came along.

“When I … first got a house and I was single, I always decorated,” she said. “But I just love Halloween, and I always have.”

Reynolds, who lives in the 23600 block of Longacre, said she decorates on Oct. 1 so her family can have a whole month to enjoy the more than 10 decorations of cornstalks, jack-o’-lanterns, hay bales, pumpkin lights and more on her lawn and porch.

“It is a sense of putting some effort into something,” she said. “You spend a couple days (decorating), but then you reap the benefits for a whole month.”

A few furry friends even enjoy the decorations.

“Squirrels do like the ones with the corn on it,” Reynolds said. “Sometimes, we go out there and they are climbing up the cornstalks; it is pretty funny.”

She said although she is no expert on Halloween, others beg to differ.

“About two years ago, somebody did ask my husband the name of the company that decorated my house, and he laughed and said, ‘My wife did it.’”

Reynolds added that her reason for loving the fall holiday is more practical.

“That has to be my favorite (holiday) because you know what, it is pretty easy. There is no cooking and no gift giving. It is just for fun.”

Sterling Heights resident Kelley Collins is no stranger to fall and all that the season brings.

And this year, even after moving from Atlanta in June with her husband, the 45-year-old wasn’t deterred in decorating her lawn with fall festivities.

“I love fall,” Collins said at her house in the 39700 block of Timberlane recently. “Just moving up here from Atlanta, we get a much shorter fall than up here in the north. And people kind of look at you funny if you start pulling out your leaves and fall decorations in September down there. Up here, they just love it. So I get an extra month of fall to celebrate my favorite season.” She started decorating near the end of September; in Atlanta, she would usually decorate around the first week in October.

Collins said she has loved the season all of her life. And although she can’t pinpoint what exactly  — the smells, colors, leaves or temperature — she said she loves everything about the season.

Decorating her lawn this year with about 40 ornaments — a scaled-back version of what she did in Atlanta — was only the icing on the pumpkin. 

On her lawn and front porch sit at least 20 pumpkins, six scarecrows, hay bales, a pumpkin patch, fall leaves, a wreath, a sign that reads “happy fall y’all” and more pumpkins.

“My daughter always jokes (that) it looks like fall threw up around here,” Collins said. “I just love it. It makes me happy.” 

Collins said she decorates her lawn with fall decorations and not Halloween ones because she doesn’t like things that go bump on her lawn.

“I don’t have anything against Halloween; I just don’t like scary stuff, like scary monsters. I don’t want it on my lawn,” Collins said. “I decorate just for fall in general. I like happy scarecrows and the fall leaves, pumpkins and stuff like that. Everybody loves a happy scarecrow.”

She said decorating her lawn not only makes her and her family happy, but the neighbors and local students, too.

“When I first got it (the lawn) decorated, I had to run an errand, and when I came back, I turned onto our street. … I saw the oranges and yellows and the pumpkins, and it just made me happy,” Collins said. “Within that same week, I had just about every neighbor come down and say the same thing. … That makes me feel good.”

She said others interact with her decorations.

“We’ve had several occasions when we’ve been walking home or even just sitting outside (when) we’ve had families sit in our pumpkin patch and take photos. … And I say, ‘Go right ahead.’”

She added that when it comes to decorating, her rules for picking out that perfect pumpkin or smiling scarecrows for her lawn are one and the same: “You just got to do what makes you happy.”