Call it the whoooos-hoo of fall décor.
Owls those horn-rimmed birds of prey are the "it" item that those who are wise to décor trends will include as they seasonalize their home interiors.
Just why owls are so in this year (actually, they've been around for a while, now) isn't completely clear, but a quick trip through some of the shops at McHenry Village in Modesto proves the point.
"Owls are ridiculously huge," said Sarah Grover, owner of Portico in the Village. "And we thought we had a lot of owls last year ... .
"They're a little retro, they have a distinctive look," she suggested as to why they're so popular. "They're graphic and homey ... flexible."
At Keller's, also in McHenry Village, co-owner Joyce Keller agreed owls are a mega-trend and said it's one that will carry through Christmas and into spring.
"Owls are crazy, they are everywhere," she said.
Everywhere, and in nearly every imaginable material: There are wooden owls, fabric owls, glass owls, ceramic owls, those in pottery, glitter and, yes, even feathers.
Of course, owls aren't the only item key to fall decorating. The tried-and-true stand-bys remain, as well pumpkins, gourds, autumn leaves and berries.
Fall decorating has exploded the past few years, giving Christmas and Halloween a run for their seasonal money.
"Many people have told me fall is their favorite time for decorating," said Cheri Merenda, owner of Farmer's Daughter in the Village. "We do a big fall business the kids are back in school, so the moms head out shopping."
Arlene Lichty, co-owner of vintage-inspired shop Mulberry Lane, agreed that fall decorating items are extremely popular. In fact, she was putting up a store display of wooden blocks that spelled out FALL when approached for this story in late August.
"We have done a good business with our fall line for a long time," said Lichty, who thinks the trend might have something to do with summer fatigue.
"(People) are ready for the season to change; they're ready to be in their homes and for summer to be over." she said.
Keller agreed that the demand for autumn décor has been growing.
"Every year, it gets bigger," she said. "What we see is as the kids go back to school ... people start thinking about transitioning into fall. We sell a lot of wreaths, a lot of pumpkins, a lot of garlands."
Changing out their décor helps people who are done with summer welcome the chance to stay indoors and relax in autumn's warmth and coziness.
The colors of the season certainly nurture that desire browns, deep burgundies, golds, rusts, oranges, dark greens and yellows as do the textures and aromas. And while most seasonal décor is more about whimsy (think Halloween and Christmas), autumn decorating can have a more sophisticated flair.
"Christmas is fun and festive, but fall looks really good," said Portico's Grover. "People just love the natural elements, the nostalgia thing."
Fall décor also is built to last: You can put out a base look with pumpkins and leaves in September; add a few Halloween items to the same a week or so before that holiday; then switch out the ghosts and black cats for Thanksgiving's turkeys and Pilgrims.
"It's fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving it's a process," said Grover.
For some, a love for all things fall can dictate more than just their seasonal décor.
"I've had some customers who like it so well, they don't take it down," said Merenda of Farmer's Daughter. "It makes them happy."