Life Advice


Health & Spirit

HOA's rules may make for a scary Halloween

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband and I live in a medium-sized townhome community in a large city. We have a homeowner's association (HOA). We've had no issues with the HOA, up until now.

The president of the HOA recently sent an email to all owners, saying that any Halloween decorations that included "representations of the occult or supernatural" (skeletons, witches, vampires, monsters, and even jack-o-lanterns), were unacceptable and would result in a fine. The only decorations permitted would be of a "general fall theme," and not Halloween-related.

My husband, as a lifelong fan of Halloween, absolutely flipped out. He replied to the email, told them they were overreaching, and that their religious preferences are not our problem. They responded that he will be fined if he breaks the rule, and that the rule is meant to preserve the aesthetic of the exterior of our homes, and doesn't have to do with religion.

Over the last week, he purchased every tacky Halloween decoration he could find.

He is intent on making a point, and the potential of a fight with the HOA is stressing me out. I agree that this is an overreach on the HOA's part, but I don't think it's worth fighting over.

Do I continue to allow his protest, or do I push back?

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-- Unsure

Dear Unsure: Do you have the power over your spouse to allow (or deter) a protest? If you possess this influence, please bottle it and send me a dose.

Many HOAs can control the color of your house, what plantings or fencing you are permitted to use, and many (seemingly trivial) aspects of the outside look of your home that seem (to me) like a basic trampling of a person's freedom to exercise their own bad taste at their own home.

However, this is the life you two signed up for.


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