I am slightly obsessed with Halloween decorations and the joy that I get by decorating my front entry is nearly palpable. The front entry sets the tone of Halloween and for God’s sake please keep it classy. It’s not impossible. Less plastic, more realistic. I have spent hours tea dyeing yards and yards of cheesecloth for a natural realistic spooky effect. I have a great collection of lifelike crows and owls. I love using scarecrows, hay bales, spiders, cornstalks, unusual pumpkins, and anything that does not scream, “I bought everything at Target.” I am also a big fan of keeping it simple and using one element like the hybrid Jarrahdale blue pumpkins en masse. Your children will hate you, but who cares, they can go to the neighbors house if they want to see tacky decorations.
Let’s take a look today at some rather chic Halloween first impressions. In the following blogs throughout October, we will get into the specifics… Pumpkin carving, interior Halloween decorating, Halloween party decor, Halloween party food, Halloween costumes, Halloween movies, haunted houses, vintage Halloween… All with the idea to “keep it chic.”
For more Halloween First Impressions check out my Pinterest board HERE.*Something you don’t know about me? Since the day we moved into our apartment in Paris, I have seen and surveyed the lives of my next-door neighbors from day one. Think, Rear Window. We live on the same floor. Troisième étage. Our apartment faces the street and my bedroom sits facing the internal courtyard. The neighbor’s apartment faces the courtyard as well. So basically, as I lie in my bed, I can see directly into their living room, dining room and kitchen. This means, I see their entire lives, except for their bedroom which would be gross anyway, and even grosser because they are in their 80s. The neighbors are French and have lived in their apartment for over 60 years. Even though they are elderly and a little bit wobbly, they always open the doors for me and always insist that I take the elevator first. This is so difficult for me because I try to insist that they take the elevator ahead of me in my Franglish…because I am so freaking polite. They always pat my hands and wish for me a good day. If they see me in the hallway on my way out for a walk, they remind me that I should take a scarf.
I know their whole routine. They wake up early (old people early), roll up their exterior bamboo shades, and take their morning coffee at the dining room table together. In the afternoons they usually go out for a walk separately (weird) and in the evenings the most delicious scent of roasted chicken, onions, butter and garlic wafts across the courtyard and into my apartment. On the weekends, their family comes over and they look through photo albums. Day after day, month after month. This was the routine until one day… Poof! They were gone. Lights off, shades drawn, no movement. The weeks turned into months. When their window box topiaries died, I started to worry.
All sorts of delirious thoughts roamed through my head. My first thought was murder/suicide. But then I thought that murder/suicide was more plausible at my apartment. Then I imagined that they were spending the summer in their château in Normandy. Or, maybe they were on the Orient Express. But then, my thoughts went back to the sinister as I reminded myself of the plot of the brilliant film, Amour, about an elderly couple in Paris... The wife is disabled from a stroke and the husband suffocates her out of love. Every day I gaze/spy through the windows, wondering where they are and how they are. I honestly assumed that they were dead.
But all of a sudden, a few days ago, the lights went on in their apartment! I almost fell out of my bed. I started screaming, “David, David, the neighbors are back, the neighbors are back!” We made a bowl of popcorn and decided to watch the show through our window. The lace curtains were opened and the windows were flung open and we could see someone cleaning the chandelier, but it was not the elderly couple. I shouted with my weak little lungs, “See! They are dead, David, and this is the cleaning crew coming to dispose of the bodies.” After about 20 minutes, the windows were closed and the curtains were closed again. Lights went on. Lights went off. Lights went on. Lights went off. I was losing my mind. I begged David to go knock on their door and start asking questions.
He refused on the grounds of politeness and said, “We don’t do that in France.” This is not a phrase that I appreciate. My sister-in-law said that to me once, “We don’t do that in France” and I didn’t speak to her for a year. I told David that in America the polite thing to do is to go next door, knock on the door and ask if the neighbors are dead.
He still refused. French bore. I had to wait until the following morning when David finally saw the couple alive and in person in the hallway! David said that they asked how I was and David told them I was worried about them. They said they were fine… Sort of. What does that mean! What does that mean! David’s social skills are that of an autistic child so, of course, David did not delve any deeper into the conversation. So, I still don’t have any answers, but trust me, trust me… I will get to the bottom of this. CSI Paris.