Set Design

Julian, our 14-year-old, is the Halloween man. He’s been into the holiday since he was very small, collecting decorations and storing them in the attic from year to year. He used to run a lemonade stand and would often save the profits to pour into October 31.What started as run-of-the-mill ghosts-out-of-sheets in trees has morphed into a design worthy of any magazine cover for creepy places.

This year he outdid himself. When informed that he actually had no “budget” this year (meaning no parental coffers would be emptied towards this addiction of his) he initially went into a deep pout, threatening to pitch every other decoration he’d amassed. We looked at him. He backed off.

And two days later, he broke out the jigsaw (yes, power tools were involved) and the hammer and got to work.

Someone came in with their eyes open big as moons. “You guys really do it up!”

“It’s Julian,” I said. “All him. My work? It’s inside.” I gestured to the dining room table filled with food. Veggies and dips, shrimp and sauce, chips, cheese, crackers . . . everything except dessert – after all, it WAS Halloween!

And I realized that set design, good set design, is about playing to your strengths. It’s creativity and finding the small details and putting them in the right place, but it’s also in trusting yourself enough to let it fly.

I’ll set design a party table any time. Julian will reel them in – I’ll feed them. We make a badass team.

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