I don’t care how old you are or if you’ve got kids at home or not — in the days leading up to Halloween, there’s a lot to get excited about.
We have so many old neighborhoods in Portland, and I just love walking and driving around them and catching all the holiday displays outside people’s homes.
People use their front porches and yards as an extended living room and theater for upcoming holidays. It feels like the displays are really more for neighbors and pedestrians than the owners– and there’s so much creativity thrown into them.
Check some of these out — all within a mile or so of my house.
I saw gorgeous pumpkin displays.
and carved pumpkins.
Isn’t it adorable how the cushions of the theater seats on the porch fit the Halloween theme?
And this smaller house looked perfectly staged as you walked by, the leaves a carpet of riotous color.
Speaking of foliage, I can’t believe some of the colors I’m spotting right now.
Out and about, there were over-sized wooden bats and ghouls keeping an eye out from second floors.
There were also beautifully turned out witches.
Some were metal — this was one of my favorite things I saw.
And some were three dimensional, obviously going for a more realistic WICKED vibe.
And I guess you could say that skeletons were having a moment in 2015.
Some were keeping guard.
And each skeleton rocked its own unique style —
some were dancing with tutus,
some were dressed in business formal
while others just kicked back in their beachy best.
I even spied a couple seemingly on the cusp of matrimony in a make-shift cemetery.
My favorite skeleton was simply taking his small charges out for a walk.
What made this display even more amazing was the fact that the window behind it was stained glass and it seemed to have a cobweb in it.
It’s such a beautiful English style house with a thatched roof — and I spied a library upstairs with a giant vintage globe in it.
Ah what I wouldn’t give to take a peek inside this wonder.
Oversized spiders were also rampant.
Some crazy big, some smaller but no less lethal looking.
I also spied a very realistic Jason.
That one really creeped me out.
Can you imagine having that in your living room for a couple weeks?
Then there are the houses that pile on decorations — the more the better.
Sometimes words fail me.
And then when more is still not enough, there’s always the Holiday House.
No holiday is too small to celebrate (even the lesser ones like St. Patrick’s Day) and Halloween in particular is a very big deal here. They decorate so exuberantly year round that it’s become a focal point for the neighborhood, and I heard once that they sometimes get almost a thousand trick or treaters here.
Ghosts, light-up pumpkins, light, skeletons, over-sized candy corn, Frankenstein, mummies, Freddy Kruger, Dracula… as you can see, no Halloween emblem is left behind.
That’s a hard act to follow, but my house, while far less elaborate, was no less festive.
My porch is the perfect place to put out some of my favorite decorations.
Like this tableau by my front door.
My bat below was bought at Pottery Barn a couple years ago and I bought the vintage-inspired garland around the same time at an art fair.
Every year I try to buy at least one holiday decoration to add to my collection; I bought these mercury glass pumpkins three years ago (also from Pottery Barn).
I love how these all look together; the glass pumpkins were spendy but the fabric came from a garage sale and the sign was in the Target dollar aisle this year.
My black owl was one of two I purchased at the Monticello Antique Marketplace about five years ago, and my vintage enamel bowls came from the Goodwill Bins Outlet this past year.
My hanging owl was a gift from a pal and keeps watch near my front door,
while twenty realistic looking rats scurry about the steps and railing — as if my house was overrun with them.
Inside I have a couple other decorations I pull out, many from my first years as a newlywed in San Francisco.
Can you tell that I LOVE Halloween?
And because there are so few days left that I can pull out specialty Halloween treats, I got baking.
And yes, Chex or Snack Mix is a little white trashy but it’s also delicious, especially when you make it with lots of butter, cumin, garlic and Sriracha.
You’re probably wondering how much I made.
Two of these restaurant tubs — or 16 quarts of it.
I know, I know — that’s a lot of Snack Mix.
But here’s the thing — I kept finding more and more things to add to the four boxes of Chex Mix that started it out.
Two bags of buttered popcorn. A bag of roasted sunflower seeds. Two bags of pretzel sticks. A giant bag of Juanita’s tortilla chips. Ritz crackers. Two bags of rice cakes.
Oh, and these had to go in, too.
I like to buy the harvest candy mix that includes both the pumpkins and the candy corn — regular, chocolate and candy apple flavored.
See how easy it is to get to 16 quarts when you truly open your mind up to the full kaleidoscope of different snack flavors and textures in a proper mix?
I saw several posts on Pinterest of something called Scarecrow Snack Mix and although it didn’t literally make sense (what do nuts and candy have to do with a straw man?), I liked the title and the idea of adding in something small and sweet to a snack mix — especially when it gives it a pop of color.
I had some new containers from Daiso in Seattle I had to fill.
Time to show the middle school teachers a little love.
Smart parents know to show a little love a few days before Halloween — this way you are bestowing them a treat before they’re all treated out.
If you’re going to make the effort, why not jump the shark before someone else does?
These cute little cups barely put a dent in the volume of my snack mix, so it was time to get some bigger to-go containers.
Luckily, I had the takeout containers all prepped and the Halloween cards were made a couple weeks ago.
Charlotte and I got in the car and made deliveries throughout the neighborhood.
Check back here in a couple days — once I pull myself out of the rubble of Chex Mix, I’ve got a few other Halloween treats up my sleeve I’m dying to show you.
Caramel apples, anyone? Or is an Apple Cider Old Fashioned more your fancy?