Clearing the air

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween used to be one of my favourite holidays. What's not to love about dressing up so you're unrecognizable and going around the neighbourhood bumming junk food? I'll tell you what's not to love: The smell of old people's houses on Halloween.

One of the things I remember most about trick-or-treating was the smell of old people's houses. You know what I mean. It kind of smells like dusty apples mixed with old snowsuits that have been hanging in the basement/attic all summer. A musty, old-peopley smell that's probably caused by their skin turning to dust or whatever happens when you become so ancient you're practically disintegrating.

While the houses didn't stink exactly, the smell was noticeable, and obviously memorable, and not in a totally awesome way, either. I remember one house in particular just had the most distinct, old person smell. I remember anticipating it before the door opened, every year. I remember thinking as soon as we got in the driveway, "oh no, the house that smells like old people, and sure enough, the world's oldest woman would open the door while the world's oldest man sat in his La-Z-Boy watching Live at 5.

This makes me worry.

What if OUR house smells, too? And we just don't realize it because we live in it?

Not old-people smell of dusty apples and brittle bones. But just...a distinctive odor. One that we have become so accustomed to, we're immune. What if everyone that comes over is assaulted by our rank house smell???

What if the kids who come trick-or-treating remember our house as "the one that smells weird" and don't want to come back next year?

What if the snotty moms who bring their kids right to the door (so they can stick their heads into the foyer and get a good glimpse - I'm on to you nosey broads) notice our secret funk and whisper to all the other local bitches and we don't get invited to the neighbourhood Christmas party?

What if...what if the people who have already been there think our house smells off? Then it's too late.

I'm actually legit stressing about this now. I'll be burning the pumpkin-scented candles at both ends all day Sunday leading up to trick-or-treat time. They can say what they want about our decor or the quality of the treats we give out but I'll be damned if we get branded as the Halloween house that smells weird. This is going to be one fragrant mofo.

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  1. Oh dear, we just bought a house and yesterday, hubby painted our entrance way. When I came home, it smelled like paint and garlic bread, which persisted through to this morning, and it's not a good now I'm worrying about my rank house funk too.

  2. I just found you on hipest snippits and I am in love.
    Old people's houses for the win.
    Love it!

  3. One memorable Halloween encounter was when I peeked in to an old lady's house and she had one of those stuffed kid dolls, you know the kind that are standing and hide their faces? I thought it was real and it scared me sooo bad!!

  4. Kim - paint and garlic bread does not sound like a good combo! Although personally I love the smell of garlic :D

    Traveler@large - Ooooh Hippest Snippets! You just reminded me about that site. Glad you like!

    Alexis - That is scary - I hate dolls and especially dolls that look like children!

  5. do pumpkin smelling candles smell good.......??? i can't imagine.

  6. This is why my mom was a big believer in airing out the house even in winter.

    She'd open all the doors, windows and let the wind flush out all the smell.

  7. Kathryn - mine do but they're more of a pumpkin *spice* than hollowed-out-pumpkin-guts

    FB - we did that growing up too and i'm sure i'll continue. i love having the windows open even in winter, although now that we're paying to heat our home i'm sure that'll change!

  8. Leave a little bowl of vanilla extract (the vanilla you would bake with) in the room. The scent takes no time to fill the air but not in that gross, too-much-perfume-y way. Or boil a pot of water with cinnamon & bay leaves on the stove. That's a nice scent as well.
    Then you'll be the nice smelling house on the block!

  9. I didn't know the vanilla or cinnamon tricks - thanks! I had baked cupcakes in the afternoon so I think we were all set :)