Am I the only person who bristles at homes that sport “No person is illegal,” “Love is Love,” and “Hate Has No Home Here” signs without a trace of irony or self-consciousness? It reminds me of a healthcare-related place I used to work where they made us wear buttons that said, “I care … do you?” Not that we were virtue signaling or anything.
Why are these sanctimonious signs invariably in front of million-dollar homes with two SUVs in the driveway and occupants who have likely spent the last 20 months “working from home”? Have you ever seen a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign outside a garden (read: basement) apartment or a window whose owners use cardboard — cardboard! — to seal their air conditioner into the window? Neither have I.
In addition to ostentation and virtue-signaling, the signs convey something else. People have been so COVID housebound for so long, their home has become their de facto car — and these signs are their neo-bumper stickers. It is no surprise that the messages are just as smug and self-righteous as the bumper stickers of yesteryear were like “Commit Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty,” “Live Simply So That Others Can Simply Live,” and “Our Child Is An Honors Student At Tech High.”
Lest anyone doubt that these homeowners need to get a life, Halloween decorations began appearing in Chicago seven weeks before the holiday. Yes, in September.
It seems like a neighborhood competition is going on: “You may have a 10 foot tall blow-up Dracula, a tombstone and skeletonized bones erupting from your lawn but we have 50 ghosts hanging from our tree, a hand painted witch screen, bushes covered with spider webs and flashing orange lights.”
Don’t these home decorators realize the shock value of their displays will peak on October 7 not Halloween? That storms and rain in September and October will leave their sets soggy, windblown, and barely recognizable as scare signals? And that kids care more about their costumes and the kind of candy they will net than adults’ apparent need to appear creative, frivolous, and part of the “fun”?
And there is another, bigger issue. How do images of dead, murdered and brutalized figures (some even hanging from trees) square with the “peace and love” messaging of woke signs? We love everyone … but have a mannequin of a mangled corpse and a human head with a knife in it our doorstep?
The truth is decorating a home for Halloween while retaining “woke” cred is a conundrum: Black Lives Matter signs on the lawns will not convey the intended sincerity (at least temporarily) and could even resemble … (gulp) tombstones.
And there is a final irony. Since Halloween is all about fear and unexpected terror, the rare house without decorations may become the scariest of all. The kids may be thinking, “What is wrong with these people? Why didn’t they put up decorations? Is there something different about them? Are they normal? I’m scared to ring their bell.”