How To Halloween

It’s the day after Halloween, so naturally now that it’s no longer relevant I have all sorts of things to say on the topic! Maybe I should just schedule this to be posted in 11.5 months.

Keep all your kid’s fingers

If the measure of a good parent is sending your spawn off to college with all the same body parts they were born with, then you probably want a way to carve pumpkins that doesn’t involve handing a preschooler a giant knife.

Enter: Fright Lights! 

Worth more than its weight in gold in our house.

Yeah, stupid name, I agree, but seriously everyone should buy one of these. Probably two, because I’m pretty sure this is one of those promotional things that they’ll never make again, because The Man has to find new ways to get you to buy carving kits every year, otherwise the entire Jack-o-Lantern industry would go belly up.

I digress. This thing is genius, and has kept my petit fromage busy for days now. Basically, it’s like a Lite-Brite for your pumpkin.

Because nothing says “Halloween” quite like a glowing clown grinning at you.

This is how we did it:

  1. Cut the top, scoop the insides. Obviously, you should hand the child your biggest, sharpest knife to stab repeatedly into the top until something like a lid forms from the erratic gashes. Or just do it yourself. Then probably also scoop out the insides, even though that’s the most obviously kid-oriented part, because your diminutive angel has suddenly developed a horror of getting his hands dirty, even though this is literally how he ate dinner last night:

    messy spaghetti

    This was actually the clean part.

  2. With a trembling hand and great trepidation in your heart, hand your developing human a permanent marker. See your life go flashing before your eyes as you suddenly realize how many surfaces of your house are not covered in scribbles. Let the kid go nuts drawing whatever they want ON THE PUMPKIN, then snatch that Sharpie out of his hands the second he starts to slow down.
  3. Punch holes along those lines. They don’t actually provide you a way to pre-punch the holes, and the pegs are totally flat, so you’ll have to get creative with an ice pick or something. Me, I used a punch thingie from another kit, but honestly anything sharp should work. Make sure that the cherub gets no ideas about punching holes in his or anyone else’s heads. No, seriously, the only thing keeping most tiny people from becoming serial killers is it hasn’t occurred to them that sharp objects can be used like that.
  4. Hand cramp!

    the injustice of it all


  5. Flail like a break-dancing chimpanzee while the mongrel laughs his head off. Resolve to bring up his delight in your pain during his wedding toast some day.
  6. Okay, so hopefully you’ve got a pumpkin that looks a little like it was attacked with a machine gun (because it has holes all over it, though now I’m imagining a pumpkin in pinstripes and a snazzy hat). Stick that thing on the floor with a bowl of brightly-colored pegs and the world’s least effective hammer, and let the diminutive artist go to town! Lean back and enjoy the sight of your kraken entertaining himself for 10 minutes. Try not to think about the 45 minutes it took you to set this up.
  7. Turn off the lights, and shit son, you just made a sparkly Light Bright pumpkin!

    Fancy AF.

Whenever the little goldfish gets bored, he can rearrange the pegs however he sees fit. Over and over again. And the “candle” is battery operated, so he can carry that thing to every room in the house if he wants to, and you don’t have to worry about a fire hazard.

Seriously, this thing is pure genius.

Create as much stress as possible for yourself

My mini-me loves this show, Sarah and Duck (quack), and wanted to be Sarah for Halloween. This is Sarah:

In this family, we smash the patriarchy by dressing as cartoon characters. OF THE OPPOSITE GENDER!

Dude, world’s easiest costume! I’m one of those people who go totally overboard on Halloween, spending truly embarrassing amounts of time and money on costumes, so this year I was resolved to embrace this gift the universe had just given us. Easy costumes for everybody!

Fast-forward to the day before Halloween, and I was full of rage, sitting in traffic, trying to get home in time to paint stripes on a sweatshirt two sizes too big for the sprog, design and paint a duck on a shirt, paint a hat to look like a duck, and fucking sew a god damned beanie. You know, those hats that you can buy for $1? Yeah, I used $6 and 3 hours of my life sewing one so that it could look 1/3 as good as a store-bought hat.

Wait, why are you painting stripes on a sweatshirt, you ask? Why not just get a stripey sweatshirt to begin with? BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST, ASSHOLE.

Sorry, sorry, it’s a sensitive subject for me. I spent at least two hours online checking every store I could think of for a kid-sized pink stripey hoodie of any description. If I was a pregnant woman, I would be drowning in choices for some reason, but I guess pink stripes are totally unfashionable in the under-8 set. So in addition to those 2 hours wasted, I then spent at least 2 more painting stripes badly onto a sweatshirt, while freaking out that I was going to run out of fabric paint halfway through, and wondering if there’s such a thing as a 24 hour craft store.

God dammit, they even make one for DOGS?!

Yeah, all of this could have been avoided, but Amazon decided that “next day shipping” on the stuff I bought so that I specifically wouldn’t have to make anything would mean, “Somewhere within the next few months.” And I’m bad at understanding how time works, so suddenly it was the day before, and we had, at best, half of a costume done.

How a hoodie and hat turned into a whole day’s labor, complete with lower back pain, swearing, and longing for a cold beer, I shall never know.

The pot of gold at the end of my rainbow.

Big kids are the worst

In general, I have no beef with tweens. They’re just trying to figure their shit out, while their brains tell them that giggling like a deranged circus performer, or spraying enough body spray on to fill an Olympic pool, is probably a good way to pick up boys. Life is rough when your brain isn’t done yet!

A medically accurate image of the average 12 year old’s brain.

But oh man, they turn feral on Halloween. They’ve got costumes on, so they’re already primed to pretend to be someone that the rules don’t apply to. Then they’re organized in roving packs, with disinterested adult supervision at best, and we all know how well groupthink always turns out. Then, they’re basically mainlining sugar while being explicitly instructed to run around and gather as much free candy from strangers as they can possibly carry.

What I’m saying is that if your goblin has short legs, I recommend keeping to side streets and back alleys like a convict on the run. Anything to avoid getting trampled by those savages in Hamilton attire.

I saw at least three of these, roaming the streets of Berkeley and singing showtunes at the top of their lungs.

Steal candy from a baby

My last bit of advice hardly needs saying out loud, but here it is: steal your kid’s candy the second you wrestle their sugar-addled bodies into bed. The benefits are twofold:

  1. You’re reducing the amount of candy sitting in your house, calling its sweet siren song of hyperactivity and diabetes to your offspring.
  2. You get candy.  And isn’t that what Halloween’s all about?

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