We got through Halloween without much damage. Nobody came by to stomp our pumpkins. Also, we lost power about an hour before some friends came over, so we made an executive decision and headed over to their house. They live in a much more populous neighborhood than we, and also quite a bit more affluent. It’s adjacent (i.e. a few blocks from) the homes of Seattle’s uber-wealthy, software creating, neurologically pioneering, online shopping jungle running people. It was cold. It was a bit rainy. It was, frankly, Seattle in October.
It sucked. For a lot of reasons, it suuuuuucked. Not in a good way. Wasted Costume Efforts. Weather. Other Kids. Costume unawareness. Unfriendly candy-handers. And for what? Candy. That’s it. Some candy. I know it’s “for the kids,” but that’s what people say when they lack the creativity about how to manage an event. (I’ll post something about the “For The Kids” cult another time.)
After watching my wife spending a LOT of time to procure the materials for, and creating costumes for the kids (they were characters from the Build-Grow-Kill-FreakOut video game Minecraft), I was sure this wouldn’t work. Not because of her effort, but due to the format of the main part of the costume. Here’s the first issue: Costume Operational Viability. The kids had huge cardboard boxes on their kid heads, with 2, 2”x2.5” slots cut out for eye holes. Zero peripheral vision. Almost no fake costume-head stability, heads were waggling all over the place. The heads were great for pictures, and totally useless once the kids started moving. So they didn’t wear them for trick-or-treating.
Not that the costume would have mattered. I saw a lot of kids just wearing a Seahawks jersey and boom, here comes candy. Why even try? Plus, the candy-handers get so inundated with the various costumes that a quality costume has to be immediately eye-grabbing to be really noticed. And the reward? Maybe an “Oh, wow!” or hey, here’s an extra 3-bag of Whoppers. All that work for zip-point-Whoppers. Costume Unawareness. They just want to say “Hey, hi” and get back to letting that Tylenol PM kick in (not a sponsored ad, yet).
The waves of other kids, wow. The neighborhood we were in was awash in pre-teens to toddlers. The only thing they had in common was that they wanted candy. Not all of them were in costume, and the 10-12 year olds (judging by height, though with today’s kids not eating peanut butter or drinking milk, there could have been a few community-college freshmen in there), were screeching, loud, annoying, and should all be in a church parking lot for candy and counseling.
Mix up all the hours of effort to create a costume the kids love but can’t wear, getting candy regardless of the costume quality, hormonal pre-teens, and 40 degree weather, and I was totally ready to set things on fire. More than usual, I mean.
Next year I will be making a strong case to keep the festivities to our carport, inviting over a few families and their kids, have a shame of a Costume Contest (everybody wins a bootleg copy of “Evil Dead 2”), and we can drink hot booze drinks outdoors, undercover, in the semi-dark while wearing weird masks, the way Benjamin Franklin would want it.