Students decorated their apartments for Halloween. Many of them say outdoor decorations share the celebration with the neighborhood. (Alyssa Regis)
Several off-campus BYU students bought, made and thrifted their Halloween decorations this year to share the holiday culture of Halloween.
Aretta Gardens resident Dallin Salway is locked in a neighborly competition for the best Halloween decor.
Salway said he enjoys decorating for holidays because it brings joy and excitement to his mundane day-to-day.
“As a kid, you’ll dress up for Halloween and go trick-or-treating, but as an adult, you don’t necessarily do that,” Salway said. “Decorating helps you still feel the holiday spirit.”
Salway said he finds most of his supplies at Dollar Tree and Walmart and prefers places that include a wide variety of Halloween options. “I used to love to make things, but now I feel like time is more of an issue with college, so I just buy cheaper things or thrift,” he said.
Mariah Miller also lives in the neighborhoods south of BYU campus with her husband and said she thinks it is fun to thrift and craft decorations for the holidays. She recommends reusing decorations when you are on a budget.
“All the stuff that I’d say you do need to buy, even if it’s cheap … there’s no reason for that to be a single-use thing,” Miller said. “You can keep using these things for a long time.”
She said be on the lookout for thrifting items, such as yarn, jars, buckets and lights. She pointed out her garland of felt ghosts and explained how she found them in the kids’ crafts section at the store.
“I feel like if you’re thrifting, it’s easy to find it after season,” Miller said. “You’re never going to find Halloween decorations around Halloween time.”
Decorating her apartment for holidays — specifically Halloween and Christmas — is important to Miller, especially after serving a mission in New Zealand and seeing the lack of holiday celebration there.
“There’s no decorations,” Miller said. “People don’t really have a connection to it.”
She said she believes part of why holidays are so huge in the U.S. is intense commercialization, but she also just thinks they are part of our culture, and that is why she decorates.
Both Salway and Miller said exterior decorating takes priority on Halloween.
“I think it helps build community when you drive around and see everyone’s cute windows or cute pumpkins,” Miller said. “You can really see how seasons change.”
Salway also said decorating outside is important for Halloween because of the trick-or-treaters.
“But for other holidays like Christmas, I usually prefer to keep it inside because it’s more of a joyous feeling to have that surrounding you the whole time,” Salway said.
Policies on exterior decorating can vary between apartment complexes. Salway’s manager, Aspen Ridge Management, said they don’t have specific rules, though some apartments have homeowner association rules.
“The rule is that if they don’t damage anything, then your Halloween decorations are fine,” their receptionist Amelia said.
Miller said she enjoys her outdoor decorations every time she leaves the apartment.
“When I come and go in the morning, I think it’s fun, and I also think it’s a fun part of sharing that culture,” Miller said.