Extreme Decorating by Mark Kelly

For my Halloween piece this year, I checked out some really done-up homes in our area. And, let me tell you, the homes we found all decorated for Halloween really put their non-decorating neighbors to shame. These folks spend weeks prepping their homes for the holiday, and many take great pride making their own decorations and costumes.

The Madison Heights family I spoke to says they've been collecting their decorations more than a decade now. Piece by piece, they've added a new decoration every year; now, their house looks like it's straight out of the Adams Family. This year's addition was an outhouse with a skeleton inside. All these homes reminded me how I use to really get in to the holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas, when I was younger, and how I kind of miss it.

One year, my family and I decorated our entire basement as a haunted house. I invited all my little friends over and had this big Halloween party. Okay, maybe it wasn't all that big of a party - but I was so young, it felt big at the time. We went bobbing for apples, used an old cassette player to blare scary music throughout the old house.

As for Christmas decorations - my family took that decorating to a whole other level. Lights in every tree, a 16 foot tall Christmas tree in the family room and garland, garland everywhere. And one year when I was in middle school, we decorated our family garage like a winter wonderland and invited the 30 kids in my class over for a holiday party. I wish I had some old pictures to show you. But, picture this - big white round tables and fake snow and lights hanging everywhere. It was beautiful; the place didn't even look like a garage when we were done with it. I would spend weeks, along with my family, getting the house ready. I miss those days.

Halloween 2011 might have come and gone without me decorating too much for it, but Christmas is just around the corner. I have another chance to celebrate the holidays like I use to.