Thursday, October 28, 2010

Q4 Lights N Decor, Halloween Sights N More

More and more, appearances by outdoor lights and decorations have been creeping backward and forward in the calendar in the 4th quarter. What formerly had been prominent displays only during the end of the year started showing up near Thanksgiving, staying around into the following year. This year, Halloween lights and decorations seem to have started as soon as early October.

In past years, simple paper-bag-shape lights lining driveways and walkways seem to have made way for Christmas lights, air-pumped lawn balloons, tree-hanger illuminators, and other lawn decorations. During the years that Christmas displays have become more elaborate, illuminating, and animated, Thanksgiving themes have been creeping in as if they were preludes to the BIG EVENT. Think inflatable pilgrim-outfitted turkeys.

In more recent years, Halloween decorations have gone on display since much of October. There are ghosts and ghouls, jack-o-lanterns, black cats, graveyard scenes, and more. Lights? Lots! A few years ago, they seemed to be primarily orange. Black is a common color for Halloween, but pretty impractical. This year, I've seen several houses that have multiple-color lights.

I think a possible trend could be lights and decorations that segue from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas. Well, maybe not all three events. You CAN have common items for Halloween and Thanksgiving using a harvest theme—pumpkins, orange lights, straw brooms, maybe more. Thanksgiving to Christmas might be less likely for common items. Hmmm, maybe make up an inflatable turkey wearing a red suit? (Yow!) I think that's a worthwhile marketing idea, maybe not too far-fetched! In any case, multicolor lights can make it through all three holidays, starting in early October through a few weeks in January.

Technologically, I wonder how feasible it might be to make strings of lights that are programmable for color. I know there are already light strings that blink, flicker, and chase. If someone could come up with lights that are programmable for motion and color, the lights would be REALLY multifunctional. Maybe a three-color lights gadget (red/blue/green) in a string of many that can display any one color or combination? Maybe a chasing-lights rainbow display? Programmable lights for color could be useful even for Valentine's Day and Easter! Well, one possible obstacle might be the association of red lights to a different meaning ("red light district").

For decorations versatility, companies could come up with inflatable balloons of cutesy kids that wear velcro-fastener outfits of holiday-theme clothing. How about witchy or batty for Halloween, pilgrimy for Thanksgiving, Santa Clausy for Christmas, …. Further use of my hypothetical kid balloons could include outfits with red hearts for Valentine's Day. For Easter, they could wear springy outfits (maybe including duck-bill hats and rabbit-ear headgear) and hold Easter egg baskets.

It might only be a matter of time before marketeers successfully induce mass use of outdoor decorations for Valentine's Day and Easter. They are very good at getting people to prep for those days, seducing us to buy holiday main-course food, desserts, and candy. Speaking of which, we sure don't need to wait for THOSE events to start in on the consumables. There's a lot going on this quarter!

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