Behind every home that has a Halloween decor is a parent with a trick-or-treat-loving kid. Or, parents themselves who love the macabre.
Take Neil Villanueva who just moved with his family into their 33-square meter studio apartment in Dubai. They wanted to decorate their home for Halloween, but they ran out of time. That’s how they ended up doing a minimalist corner for the holiday. They used what they already had and went to a Japanese thrift store for small pumpkin lanterns and candles.
“I am a magic enthusiast but I don’t perform,” Villanueva said. “I incorporated the props I bought online from a US-based shop Ellusionist into the decor.”
His makeup artist wife, Moe, also used photos found in Pinterest as inspiration for their space.
Villanueva said that it’s an activity that challenged their creativity as a couple. He loves the macabre even when he doesn’t like jump-scare horror movies. This is reflected in their decor.
“Halloween decor should be what the homeowner would like to see and not what other people expect,” he said.
The decoration is also for their 6-month-old baby girl. They plan on making her wear a costume and use the Halloween corner as a backdrop for her photo shoot.
Myla Alanciado Quijano also decorated their home this year for her kids. She makes them help with the decorations.
“They should know that the decor is only for fun. They are toys and not intended to harm anyone,” she said. “Halloween is about making other kids smile with their loot bags. Sharing makes you happy, too.”
The treats are something the Quijanos also take great care of. Prepandemic, they would prepare elaborately designed loot bags for kids who knocked on their gate for treats.
There is no trick-or-treating this year, but loot bags for relatives are still prepared.
The family uses the same decor bought from Dapitan Arcade and from stores in the United States. Quijano’s savings tip? Buy Halloween decor after the celebration. Malls are likely to mark down to clear their inventory.
The materials they use in the decor are the same every year, but the costumes are not. This year, the Quijanos are going for a “Squid Game” theme.
A nurse mom, M.A. (who declined to give her full name), also loves the macabre. This is why her favorite holiday is Halloween. In lieu of trick-or-treating, she’s organizing a scavenger hunt for her daughter. They celebrate the holiday even when it’s just their family.
“I believe that death is part of life. It is nothing to be scared of. No one lives forever,” she said. “I also honor the dead by lighting candles and praying for them. I make a small offering for them.”
M.A. has collected many decorations through the years. This year, the focal point of her design is a skeleton sitting by the fireplace.
“It was insensitive to put the decorations outside the house last year because of the pandemic,” she said in retrospect. “It is the same case this year. So I decided not to put my decor outside.”
Other families choose to be practical about the holiday. Some put up their Christmas trees and decorate them with skulls and pumpkins. The season of spooks and sweets won’t allow itself to be forgotten.