Halloween is my favorite time of year, and decorations are a major reason why I love this season so much, but I never imagined I’d have to get rid of a snake before I’d feel comfortable around my fun and gory decorations again.
Around mid-September, my kids and I are planning the holiday look for our home. Will we do a cemetery theme? Spiders? Monsters? Slasher movie motif? Then, we get online and look up all the great and fun ideas on how to make things on our own, and we pull our tried and true standbys out of storage. By October 1, we’re ready to strategically place the fun stuff around our yard and home. We usually hold off on the really spooky decorations until the night before Halloween, just for an added treat for the neighborhood kids.
This year, the theme was “creepy crawlies.” We have rubber rats, spiders and bats galore. We strung spider webs all over the outside of the house, hung plastic bats from the trees, and strategically arranged all manner of insects and rats all over the house and yard.
As is our tradition, we had pumpkins by week 2 of October, and spent the weekend designing and carving our collection of jack o’ lanterns. Come Monday morning, we had eleven successful jack o’ lanterns grinning all over our front steps, and we were fully in the Halloween mood.
After the kids headed off to school, I ran to the store to grab votive candles for the latest additions to the yard. I get a lot, because we like to light up our pumpkins each night leading up to the big event. I came home, and set about placing the candles appropriately.
I gasped as I lifted the lid off of one of the jack o’ lanterns and automatically pulled my hand back. Then, I laughed. Someone had played a good joke on me, placing a snake inside the decoration. Nice addition to our creepy crawly theme, I thought.
Then, that little decoration moved. It was a real snake! And, it wasn’t so little. It uncoiled and I didn’t recognize it, so I had no idea if it was venomous or not. But, I wasn’t sticking around to find out. We had to get rid of the snake. It was still tucked inside the jack o’ lantern, and I could see it moving around to get more comfortable through the jagged teeth of the pumpkin’s mouth. My hand itched. What if I’d just reached inside to place the candle without looking?
No, if I was ever going to feel comfortable around my own Halloween decorations again, we had to get rid of the snake. I called Allstate Animal Control. Their expert would know just how to get rid of the snake, and whether it was venomous or not. And, I might just be able to go back enjoying the holiday.
Next year, however, someone else can put the votives in the pumpkins. And, maybe we won’t have a “creepy crawly” theme ever again.