A Newcomer’s Review On Halloween

I have survived my first real celebration of Halloween. I never knew this would be the most complicated holiday. You’ve got your political ‘Christ in Happy Holidays’ Christmas celebrations, a Thanksgiving rid of political correctness, probably because there’s too much to correct to stay thankful, Columbus Day, also known as ‘a Monday’, Independence Day (still on the bucket list, but seems pretty straight forward to me: America on steroids), and then those days like Easter that do come with decorations, but are celebrated on a Sunday and do not really count. Out of all these, Halloween is the most complicated by far. I will present the next three arguments and the accompanying questions: decorations, costumes, candy.


The gas station around the corner had an inflatable Dracula-in-coffin that kept creeping out. Cute. One of the places we went garage saling the other week had a fake cemetery in the yard, including hands breaking open the graves. Also, they had a four year old daughter. I’m no four year old girl, but I know those things would freak me out every time I’d look out the window after dawn. What kind of feelings are those people harboring throughout the year? I can imagine people that would love to have Christmas decorations all year long, but who is eagerly waiting for the day he can finally get everything out of the attic, where all the zombie hands, white skulls, and plastic graves are stored for the rest of the year? What if someone forgets they’re up in the attic, looks for his camping gear and grabs a zombie hand? What if I go look for someone else’s camping gear, grab that zombie hand and fall down the stairs? Maybe I’m crazy, but I can see real problems here.

Also, I don't think not cleaning the house for a year is worth the two weeks of showing off decorations.

Also, I don’t think not cleaning the house for a year is worth the two weeks of showing off decorations.

Picking a costume replaced picking a birthday gift in complexity for all the same reasons. A gift isn’t just a gift, it’s a reflection of the relationship you have, the thought you put into it, and showing lots of creativity. A Halloween costume should be all that: a showcase of creativity, wit, and, if you’re recently married, the shared ability to dress up in hideous clothes. I shot only blanks this year, and so I was standing at the Walmart Halloween costume aisle, nervously going through my options. Why is a boring black dress suddenly a Halloween dress just by calling it a ‘witch dress’? How does nobody get offended by very non-political costumes in a country where the diary of Anne Frank gets banned in schools for pornographic images? On the subject of political correctness, will my idea for a ghost costume be interpreted the wrong way? What size dress did Mrs Missouri wear again? Tough questions, that in the end made me go for a mustache, and look online what men have mustaches (I decided Ron Swanson over Mark Twain). When applying the ‘stache, I looked like a famous German politician strongly linked to Anne Frank, so I cut it up and dressed like a weird guy with really thick eyebrows.

Turns out I went as Eugene Levy

Turns out I went as Eugene Levy

Then there’s the candy. Again, picture me hopelessly wondering through the candy aisle. How many kids actually lived in our neighborhood? How much do you give each kid? Can you give out one fun-sized chocolate bars if kids are used to gallons of soda for just over $1? Would we be home in time for trick or treating, or would we miss some of the kids? If we have leftovers, what would I be willing to eat up until Thanksgiving? It’s enough to drive you crazy. I bought Reese’s (not my favorite) and Snickers (my favorite). We ended up with a salad bowl full of candy and a whopping four kids on our door, leaving us with the notion to get much less candy next year, and the need for an exit strategy for a lot of chocolate.

Trick or Treat?


15 thoughts on “A Newcomer’s Review On Halloween

  1. Reblogged this on That's a Jenn Story and commented:
    The Tuesday Reblog

    Conveniently this year, Halloween was on a THURSDAY, so I could’ve totally theologised about it here. Inconveniently, I didn’t have time to untangle the morass of Halloween-y, theological thoughts. (Well, inconveniently for me. It might be a relief to you, I suppose.) So here’s somebody else’s (far more entertaining) Halloween-related post. Enjoy.

  2. Yes, Halloween is complicated. Especially the timing. I always end up staying home to hand out candy to trick or treaters while T and the kids go trick or treating themselves. We have those gravestones and hands and skulls, too, but only since last year. R is 14 now. Halloween could be seriously scary for our kids when they were little and people just weren’t thinking. Halloween parties were usually a no-no because there’d always be a bloodstained zombie, even when they knew the party was for adults and kids. And the candy? I’ve gotten very good at gauging how much to give out so we don’t run out early and we don’t get left with a lot, either. If the stream of kids starts to slow down and we still have lots of candy, I start handing it out by the handful. This time I think we had about 10 candies left.

    • That would complicate things even more so. We don’t have any kids, of course, so it was just the two of us waiting for others to come to our door. Also, I think we know how much to get for last year. We did end up handing out a lot more than what I figured we would. As the new neighbors, we had to make a good impression ;).

  3. I’ll take all the Reese’s you don’t want.

    I agree with you on the gore. Most trick-or-treaters are young kids – why be so scary? Keep it fun.

    Canada has not gotten quite so caught up in the commercialization of Halloween, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • Yeah, I might have taken some creative liberty with saying how much there was left. We really did just have four kids and a whole lot left, but we gave the leftovers to the neighbor’s kids and the Mrs took the rest of them to work. We don’t really eat candy, so it was a great opportunity to give away. You’re not the first I have to disappoint with my empty half promises.

  4. Great post which I found from Jenn’s reblog ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can so relate to your experience as I too have written about my take on Halloween as a Brit who lived in California for 17 years and raised my children there until we returned to the UK in 2003.

    Having not grown up with the Halloween that America celebrates and I learnt to adopt it as a time of dressing up for my kids which of course they loved. I didn’t know what a ‘trick or treater’ was until I first went to America when I was 19 and watched the film ‘Halloween’!

    Keeping my children away from all the scary stuff when they were little was a challenge. I remember when my daughter would cry everytime we went to Wal Mart as they would have a screaming spider-thing hanging in the entrance which was motion sensored so everytime somebody walked past it (all the time in other words!) it screamed. So did my daughter. Ahh, those were the days!

    BTW I do have to say that is a magnificent house decoration ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Thanks for stopping by! I actually grew up in a catholic town in the Netherlands, where they celebrate Saint Martin’s Day. Kids craft their own lanterns and go door to door, where they sing a song in return for candy. When I moved, it turned out it wasn’t a national tradition. No dressing up though, which of course is a lot of fun.

      I don’t know how I’d ever lived through the Halloween days as a kid. I was absolutely scared of everything, and my imagination didn’t help. Seeing all the decorations they put up here, I’m almost certain it would have been terrifying. I’m not a fan of being freaked out, so I still would hate the screaming spider (although I really hope I wouldn’t cry). I think people should just keep to clever dressing up, but to be fair, I didn’t even manage to do that this year.

      • That’s really interesting about Saint Martin’s Day, and especially since it wasn’t a national tradition. We didn’t even do that growing up in England. Halloween was a time to hide away until Guy Fawkes Night!!

        Yes, I would have been the same as you growing up. I always liked to try and be creative with my children’s Halloween costumes and found that to be the most fun. I would make up something for myself too at the last minute so I’ve been everything from a man, Princess Diana, a cat, a medieaval bar wench and a gangster’s moll. All great fun ๐Ÿ™‚ This year though I just handed out candy to the trick or treaters!

        There’s always next year and hopefully you will be able to dress up then… ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hoi Bas,

    Leuke blog en erg herkenbaar. Ik heb mezelf dezelfde vragen gesteld als die jij in je blog aankaart. Hier in de buurt waren er ook talloze mensen die een ‘gezellige’ begraafplaats in hun voortuin hadden gecreeerd. Het zag er zelfs zo echt uit dat toen ik het voor de eerste keer zag ik pas na 5 minuten doorhad dat het voor Halloween gedaan was. Niet grappig en zeker niet leuk voor kleine kinderen. Ben dan ook blij dat ik dit als kindzijnde niet heb hoeven meemaken want ik was als de dood voor dit soort dingen..en nog steeds ๐Ÿ˜‰ Doe mij maar gewoon een gezellig kerstfeest ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Sorry voor de late reactie ๐Ÿ˜‰ De kerstversieringen zijn een stuk gezelliger, sommigen mensen maken er wel een circus van haha, iemand van ons in de straat heeft allerlei verlichte disneyfiguren in de tuin staan en daar tussen ergens een verlichte Kerststal (ik zie de link niet :-p) Hoe is het in Missouri, gaan ze daar ook helemaal los?

      • Hangt een beetje van de straat af, hier zijn er maar een paar. We hebben wel een park hier om de hoek dat een soort droomvlucht is. Helemaal versierd en voor $10 kun je erdoorheen rijden. Dus wat dat betreft wel helemaal los.

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