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Tips for a Great Halloween

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When you’re a kid, Halloween typically ranks high up there on the list of preferred holidays, easily behind Christmas but ahead of Thanksgiving. You get to dress up however you want and patrol the neighborhood collecting on candy debts? Awesome. And for parents, it’s not too bad either. Purchasing a couple bags of candy isn’t nearly as expensive as that new video game system, and certainly not as time-consuming as dyeing smelly eggs funky colors and consoling little Suzie when she cries from cracking hers on the floor.

But what about those times when Halloween isn’t so great? And I’m not talking about when the masked psychopath escapes the sanitarium and murders babysitting teenagers. My concern with Halloween is about eliminating the inconvenient and annoying. It’s about those times when you’re walking around in your skin-tight Superman costume, thinking, “Man, I’ve got a terrible wedgie,” or when you reach deep into your bag to pull out a handful of vegan candy bars. Halloween is a holiday of spooky, harmless fun and free chocolate (no matter what the uptight Christians, dentists, or Christian dentists try to tell you), so here are some tips on how to keep it that way.

Do NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, be the people who give out toothbrushes. Every year, all over the nation, there are some people who think that by giving out toothbrushes at Halloween, they are somehow servicing the overall dental health of their neighborhood. Not true. To start, roughly 90% of the time, the toothbrush will be angrily cast out of the bag. If that doesn’t happen, it will eventually be set aside as a toilet scrubber, as they are typically too cheap to even satisfy their intended purpose. If neither of the above two things happen, the kids most definitely won’t use it before scurrying to bed Halloween night, as they’re so hopped up on caffeine and fructose that they may never sleep again. Thereby, Toothbrush Guy’s efforts prove utterly futile. I state this theory first, as it is incredibly depressing to have to pick between neon pink and canary yellow toothbrushes.

The longer your driveway, the better your treat ought to be. I happen to recall one particular elementary school holiday when I constructed (with considerable aid from my father) an elaborate, silver robot costume, which many south Tulsa homeowners considered “wonderfully creative.” Eventually, while trick-or-treating, I found myself struggling up a massive hill, with cardboard and tinfoil chafing against my small body, greedily lugging a fifteen-pound bag of joy behind me. Upon finally reaching Everest’s peak, I was welcomed by an elderly couple who rewarded my effort with a single mini-Milky Way bar. I was crushed. The juice was certainly not worth the squeeze. Visions of caramel apples, homemade fudge, and full-size candy bars had danced in my young head. I now live on the third story of an apartment complex, and you can be damn sure that I’ll be supplying visiting trick-or-treaters with multiple Reese’s cups for their efforts.

Frightening children is a blast. This is the single night of the year when it is not only legal, but encouraged for you to try and psychologically maim impressionable children. Therefore, I strongly suggest going “all out” on this one. My favorite houses to trick-or-treat as a kid were always the ones where the owners rigged up something special to freak us out. A few personal favorites of mine were the vampire in the automatically opening casket, Tales from the Crypt Guy who answers the door and (oddly enough) acts natural, and the all-time best, Guy Who Jumps Out of Bushes with a Fake Chainsaw. The level of detail that can go into these effects is often staggering. Creepy music, strobe lights, fake cobwebs, and blood all make for a great scene which kids will remember until they’re old enough to blog about it for college credit.

Scary movies, when utilized appropriately, can be an incredible means of behavior modification. My dad informed me one Halloween that, after viewing A Nightmare on Elm Street, he knew Freddy Krueger’s phone number. That genuinely freaked me out for a while.

Harmless pranking can do wonders for your kid’s self-esteem. Nothing makes little Kevin cooler than being able to go back to school on Monday and regale the other elementary school kids about how he and his buddies showered old man Simpson’s front lawn in toilet paper (that is such a cliché). For a few moments, that brilliant spotlight shines on him as he describes, in full, vivid detail, how awesome it all looked, and how fast he and his buddies booked it out of there when the living room lights came on. A little attention every now and again counts for a few points in the self-confidence department. Just make sure that it’s coming from the kids down the street and not Detective O’Malley at the police station (also a bit cliché).

Parents, let your hair down a little. People are so sensitive to everything these days with all the politically correct “Happy Holidays” and “Fall Festival” bullcrap that ultimately holidays are watered down to complete meaninglessness, and there’s only parental ignorance to blame. If parents took a more active role in their kids’ educations (i.e. reading to them more often, helping with their assignments, etc.), they would be more capable of impressing on them what is important and meaningful, thereby instilling children with values they can defend – as opposed to Mommy’s crusade to remove all the jack-o-lanterns from the neighborhood because they represent Satan’s offspring or whatever. Every year, it seems people manage to do something to spread the gene pool thinner and thinner.

Halloween ought to be a happy time of free candy and slightly mischievous fun. Hopefully these tips will help you to maintain its spooky innocence. Last, yet most important: for your sake, please, please, PLEASE don’t be the dude who gives out toothbrushes. You’re just begging to get hit with toilet paper, rotten eggs, shaving cream, and just about every other weapon of mass neighborhood destruction available to your standard 11-year-old.

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  • Sarah Gray

    touche matt carney. this is great.

    I remember when I lived in minnesota, a particular house near my neighborhood had what seemed like a mile long driveway on a steep slope. it was awful to walk up, but thankfully she had THE BEST candy. and when I say the best candy…I am king size candy bars and a can of soda. so at least my efforts were rewarded =)

  • Thanks Sarah. You’re a baller.

  • dkings4HIM

    As Christians, we are not to judge any individual. I pray that this comment does not come out like judging the writer.

    We need to educate our children on how “Halloween” came to be a national holiday. The Bible tells us that we perish for lack of KNOWLEDGE. Perishing is what’s happening to our younger generation because we are allowing things to happen because of “customs”. Just like time changes after each generation, so does the customs that we are used to. Before, we did not have to worry about pediphiles amongst us, now we do. So we can’t let our hair down to letting our children go on their own before their time (of age). I now question wether the “adversary” had
    a huge part on the writing of this article. May God bless the person who wrote it and especially our society.