I’m not generally a party person. I don’t like to drink and I’m not incredibly sociable, so hanging around with a bunch of people I don’t know all that well who’re all getting drunk is really not my idea of a fun time. I’m also not terribly good at costumes, so Halloween parties are doubly difficult. This year, however, I let myself get talked into going to a costume party being held by some friends in Virginia, largely because they’re very cool people and I actually feel utterly comfortable with the idea of doing something social with them. Not to mention I trust them to throw a party that’ll be anything but a bunch of drunk people being loud.
So, Saturday my husband and I got all dressed up (that was rather fun–I picked up some pseudo-garb, which is to say not at all historically accurate but damned cool-looking, at the Ren Faire this year, so I wore that) and went to the party. My husband actually came up with a very cool costume. I managed to find an old cloak I’d made (of very nice crushed black velvet–good quality, not the cheap shiny stuff) that was big enough that it fit him. We printed out a photo of a runestone from Wikipedia and used black greasepaint to copy lines of runes all over his exposed skin and dressed him in dark clothing. You see, this is the same family we play D&D with, and in that game there is of course a particular evil wizard. My husband decided that this wizard is a forgetful sort who tends to misplace his spellbook a lot, so he brought it to life so that it wouldn’t get lost again. His costume, therefore, was a spellbook in human form. Our DM, who was one of the party’s hosts, has of course informed us that this will come back to haunt us. I don’t doubt it!
The hosts had an awesome sense for how to pace a party, and they know lots of very cool people, so we had a blast. We met some great folks, spent time with friends, won a couple of prizes in various entertaining and silly games, and came home all buzzed on a sugar high and tons of fun.
We don’t tend to do a lot of decorating for holidays, but we have our “witch flying face-first into the door” decoration that we’ll put out mostly so kids know to actually knock on our door for Halloween. We got plenty of candy; it’s always better to have too much than too little, so we usually end up with extra. Toward the end of the night we end up handing out fists full of candy. We get oddly polite kids here who try to take only one or two candies even when you tell them to take lots, so I just started grabbing as much as I could in one hand and dropping it into their bags myself last year.
Halloween is cool because you have a license to be creative (the whole costume thing) and indulge. Even when I wasn’t allowed to eat anything artificial as a kid (special diet because of having ADHD) my mother let me have Halloween candy. One day out of the year doesn’t rot your teeth or ruin your health, after all. Which is why I can’t understand articles like this. That author is someone who truly doesn’t understand the point of Halloween. Not to mention doesn’t understand a lot of other things about Halloween. They recommend hand-making and packaging treats for kids, for example. Given the number of stories I’ve heard of slightly “off” people making “treats” that included anything from bad-tasting ingredients (mustard or tabasco in cookies) to ingredients that could make a kid sick (laxatives, for example), I’d NEVER let a child eat anything they got from a stranger that wasn’t pre-packaged, and I wager most parents would throw such things away. Besides, given the number of kids with odd allergies out there, you don’t want to risk someone having an allergic reaction to your cookies.
Then there are the suggestions like this one:
Spend your time, energy and money on the decorations as the treat. Turn your front yard or porch into a wonderland that kids will marvel at. Use light and sound to greatest effect. Tell visiting kids that the display is their treat; it had better be good though, or you’ll be in for a trick!
“It had better be good” nothing. You’re in for an egging at best if you pull something like that. If you want to make the display the “treat” fine, but then go inside, turn off the porch light and inside lights, and don’t answer the door–let folks enjoy the display on their way past rather than rubbing their noses in the fact that you think your decorating skills are far better than the candy they were expecting.
Really, if you’re that opposed to giving out candy, just don’t participate in trick-or-treating. There’s no need to waste a bunch of stuff that’s going to get thrown away at best, or dumped on folks’ lawns at worst.
By the way, check out the related FARK comment thread for many entertaining Halloween trick-or-treat stories.
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