Ask Clare: My neighbor asked me to take down my Halloween decorations

Welcome to Ask Clare, our advice column.  Have a question, dilemma, or quandary?  Send it to Clare in an email.



Every year we go all out for Halloween. Our yard is littered with bones and gravestones. We’ve got ghosts in the trees and creepy figures in the windows. The problem is, last week the nice neighbor lady asked us if we would consider not decorating our home because her son can see it from his bedroom and it gave him nightmares last year. She was really polite and I told her we’d think about it. Any advice?
– Halloween house

Halloween house,

Is there any way to tone down the decorations that are visible from her son’s room? Maybe you could suggest a barrier of some kind. It’s great that your neighbor was nice – she’s asking you for a favor, so she should be. You can politely suggest some solutions that still allow you to have the haunted house of your dreams (or nightmares).
– Clare


Dear Clare,

My girlfriend always complains about being broke. The frustrating thing is that she spends money on such dumb stuff. I also pick up the tab for almost everything we do together. She recently said something about moving in together but I am worried that – A. we’ll start fighting about money and shared responsibilities or B. she will expect me to pay for the lion’s share of rent and bills and I’ll resent that. How do I tell her that her poor budgeting is what’s holding our relationship back?
– Money matters

Money matters,

Finances are a big part of serious relationships, cohabitation, marriage, raising a family, growing old with someone, etc. Your instinct to be concerned is a good one. Hopefully, your girlfriend matures in this way. You should be frank with her about your concerns and offer to help her look at ways to be savvier. Understand, you’re probably heading into choppy water when you judge her spending. Good luck!
– Clare



My supervisor has me do a lot of work that I know he’s supposed to be doing. He makes it sound like I am being honored with more important responsibilities – but it seems pretty clear to me that he is coasting on my efforts. How can I let the head honcho know that I am the one doing the heavy lifting?
– Working hard

Working hard,

You can probably tactfully slip in a mention that you’re involved in these extra projects to the big boss. Don’t try to make your supervisor look bad or throw him under the bus. No one likes that.
– Clare



  1. Do not, do not, go to your boss’s boss. It will become obvious at some point when the Boss’s boss asks the boss for something and he has to run to you to get the answer. Just be patient, or find another job. If you go to boss’s boss, you will be finding another job, sooner than you will like.

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