Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love costumes and take every chance I get to dress in one. Last year I was in Jinghong, China on Halloween and didn’t have a chance to properly celebrate. I tried to find chocolate (take my advice–avoid Chinese chocolate at all costs) but ended up with a small piece of “milk candy.” Apparently, sometime during my quest for chocolate candy I became so desperate that I began to hallucinate. I saw the words “milk candy” and thought “milk chocolate!” Boy, was I disappointed.
My costume last year–a Canadian tourist–didn’t go over very well. This year I decided to be Trillian from the recent film version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (Photos of the original costume) Although I have been planning this costume since I was on my trip and actively looking for fabric for the past three months I only finished sewing on Saturday. Because the costume is rather unique I was forced to draft the patterns completely from scratch. The lines on Trillian’s suit are made with piping which must be sewn between two pieces of fabric. This meant that each section of the suit needed to be a separate pattern piece.
Testing the pattern for fit: too small! // Lots of pattern pieces
In total I drafted 24 distinctly shaped pattern pieces–most of which were repeated on the opposite side. Drafting the pattern was a lot of work, and covering 20 yards of cord in fleece to create all of the piping was a bit tedious.
My Trillian costume // Details of the piping
Every year I start planning my costume in the Spring. Because my costumes often times take a lot of work I try to start early. Sometimes I help out other people as well. This year I made two other costumes for friends–Han Solo from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Lando Calrissian from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. I finished those two costumes late last week and managed to get my costume ready for a friend’s pre-Halloween party Saturday night. On the way to the party I stopped by a bar to see my friends in their Star Wars costumes. Everyone was impressed, store bought costumes just aren’t the same.
Han Solo // Lando Calrissian
Very few people knew what my costume was, mostly because hardly anyone saw the movie. Other people were dressed up as a Hufflepuff, boxer, sorceress, Alice Cooper, Trixie, Willy Wonka and Violet, vampire, and Run DMC. The party went on quite late and I left around 3am.
Partaay // My trick-or-treat booty
On Sunday I relaxed, cleaned up the three rooms I had used to make costumes and waited for Halloween to come.
Monday was Halloween and, as usual, it was overcast and windy. When I was young Halloween was a free for all. Kids would start trick-or-treating as soon as they got home from school. If Halloween happened to land on a weekend you could expect kids all day long. The first village ordinances were put into place to stop kids from trick-or-treating all day on weekends. I believe trick-or-treating officially started around 3 or 4pm when I was a teenager. The rules have gotten progressively restrictive and now trick-or-treating was supposed to end at 7pm. Although it gets dark at 6pm in late October the real fun of trick-or-treating is after dark–especially for teenagers looking to get away from their parents and 10 year old boys looking to cause trouble.
Our first trick-or-treater was around 3:30–a neighbor girl dressed as a princess. Sadly, we only had three trick-or-treaters in total not including when my mom locked me out of the house and I had to ring the doorbell. I had even bought metal jack-o-lantern hanging lights for the walkway to encourage kids to walk up the long driveway. It didn’t work.
Waiting for trick-or-treaters
After our first trick-or-treater I rain upstairs and put my Trillian costume on. I was sure we’d get a lot of people this year, it wasn’t even raining (yet)! I’m not sure how many of you have never gone trick-or-treating, but most kids stop going out when they are about 13 years old. There are always a few high school age kids who go out, usually late and often after drinking. I never stopped trick-or-treating. For a few years around 19 years old I got nasty comments and disapproving looks when I rang a doorbell, along with the accusatory “how old are you!” comments. However, I truly believe that you are never too old for free candy. So I enlisted my 19-year old neighbor and headed out around 6:30pm. We walked around the two streets in my neighborhood, me dressed as Trillian and her in a gorilla mask. I was a bit disappointed that she was wearing a mask because I was counting on her young looks to lend a little legitimacy to me. As long as I didn’t smile (and show off the smile lines around my eyes) I figures I could pass for a lot younger than 28. She suggested that people might think I was her daughter and I refrained from slapping her. I did used to baby sit her but she’s only 9 years younger than me!
Trick-or-treating really comes down to strategy. You have to decide what you want–a lot of candy or a smaller amount of good candy. I live in a village with no sidewalks, no street lamps and long driveways. It’s hard to get a lot of candy when walking between two houses can take a few minutes. When I was younger walking around the dark, deserted streets was lots of fun. Every 30 minutes or so you would run into another group of kids and hope they didn’t throw eggs at you. A few years ago I went into town where there are sidewalks and houses close together. There it’s possible to hit four times the number of houses. But there are so many kids in the area that these houses routinely run out of candy and more often than not give out little pieces of bad candy. I’d rather not even take a tootsie roll! But it is fun to see all of the little kids walking around and it’s definitely more safe for kids–more than one dog around my neighborhood has been eaten by wild coyotes. I planned to go into town to get better pictures of the wee trick-or-treaters for you all to see but I figured the corresponding questions from parents wouldn’t be worth it (when did everyone become so paranoid of photography?).
We avoided the houses of neighbors my friend knew and was too embarrassed to be seen by and ran into a witch and her brother, Billie Joe. This kid was 9 years old and dressed as the lead singer of Green Day. I started listening to Green Day before he was born! Green Day, I’m sorry, but when nine-year olds start dressing up as you any possibility of maintaining your punk rock cred is gone. He did look pretty cute and was insulted when I told him he didn’t have enough eyeliner on. He held his red tie out and yelled back at me “I do have eyeliner on!” Then it started raining.
We got back to my house and decided to drive over to my mom’s friend’s house since she never gets trick-or-treaters and I heard she was giving out full sized Mr. Goodbars. She only lives about half a mile away, but it was raining and the main road we would have had to walk down would have not been candy-friendly. Usually, after hitting your own neighborhood you get into a car to hit other neighborhoods, especially the ones with full size candy bars. Kids remember which houses have good candy and it’s not who you’d think. My small village has been very resistant to development. When we moved here in the 70’s the houses were all bigger than average but fit nicely into their lots. Recently a lot of McMansions have gone up and the people who live in those homes are often at odds with those of us who have lived here for over 20 years. They like to show off their money with big houses but they’re much cheaper than the older residents. When it comes to Halloween candy you’re much better off going to a small house who doesn’t get many trick-or-treaters. They will usually have full size candy bars or be so desperate to get rid of their candy you get two handful of “fun size” candy.
Against our better judgment we decided to drive over to some of the biggest houses in our village for fun. By this time it was already 7:30–after curfew but still early enough to push our luck. Some houses we actually drove up the driveway and parked right in front of the front door which felt a bit like cheating. It was raining steadily by the time we parked outside the gate of the biggest house in town. A group of 3 teenagers walked up at the same time and introduced themselves, promptly asking “how old are you guys?” Surprisingly, this was the first time I had been asked and my neighbor answered 19 and I laughed as she said “me too!” I let her assume I was 19 as well and we found the doorbell. The two boys we really excited, literally hopping up and down, because they thought it was Scottie Pippin’s house. As much as we tried to correct them, I’m certain they will be bragging about getting candy from Scottie Pippin’s wife to everyone they see this week. We got our candy and walked away while the kids gushed to the woman about how beautiful her house is–it was really embarrassing. I mean, we wanted to see the big houses too, but we were cool about it. I just thought about how high their heating bills will be this winter and laughed at how unfurnished most of the houses were. These kids had driven here from Palatine, a few towns over. Interestingly, the woman in the biggest house gave us full size candy bars.
At the next house we went to a pickup truck with three high school boys pulled up behind us. They were hooting and hollering (literally), yelling things like “let’s just go get drunk!” and ringing the doorbell incessantly even when it was obvious no one was going to answer. They followed us for a few houses, acting like idiots and telling us how small their houses in Schaumburg (another town nearby) were like shacks compared to these. We were finally able to ditch them and headed back home, stopping at houses still lit up.
In the end, the smaller houses did have the best candy although I was pleasantly surprised by some of the larger houses. One woman gave me a little bag with a witch head printed on it including 1 spider ring, 1 skull ring, 1 purple clacker, 1 gummy body part eye, 1 gummy spider, 1 Kit Kat, 1 Crunch, 1 carmel apple pop, 1 strawberry Laffy Taffy, 1 package of Grunts and 2 Sweet Tarts.
My bag was pretty full after only 1.5 hours of trick-or-treating. It weighed in at 4 pounds! Because I actually enjoy counting and organizing things I give you a list of my booty:
- (10) Unfrozen ice pops
- (2) Mini bags of microwave popcorn
- (1) Strawberry Sour Patch straws
- (1) 1.75 oz Mr. Goodbars
- (1) .60 oz Mr. Goodbars
- (2) “Fun size” Mr. Goodbars
- (1) 2.1 oz Butterfinger
- (1) “Fun size” Butterfinger
- (2) 1.55 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
- (2) 1.45 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate with almonds bars
- (1) .60 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate bar
- (8) “Fun size” Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
- (2) “Fun size” Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
- (2) “Fun size” Hershey’s special dark chocolate with almonds
- (1) 1.69 oz M&Ms
- (1) “Fun size” M&Ms
- (1) “Fun size” peanut M&Ms
- (1) 1.65 oz strawberry/grape Nerds
- (1) 1 oz Cheese Nips
- (4) .67 oz Kit Kats
- (9) “Fun size” Starburst fruit chews
- (1) .75 oz Take 5
- (2) .60 oz Almond Joys
- (2) Smarties
- (2) “Fun size” Twix
- (1) Hershey kiss
- (2) “Fun size” Snickers
- (1) Snicker Mini
- (1) Wonka Candy Donutz
- (5) “Fun size” Krackle
- (1) Tootsie Roll pop
- (1) Cherry Starburst chew pop
- (2) Strawberry Starburst chew pop
- (2) Strawberry Blop pops
- (1) Green apple Halloween pop
- (1) Carmel apple pop
- (1) Chocolate Dum Dum
- (1) Milky Way mini
- (2) “Fun size” Crunch
- (1) “Fun size” Milk Duds
- (1) “Fun size” Three Musketeers
- (1) “Fun size” Sour Skittles
- (1) Red & white peppermint
- (1) Jaw breaker
- (1) Gummy body part eye
- (1) Gummy spider
- (1) Strawberry Laffy Taffy
- (1) Wonka Bottle caps
- (1) Bag of Grunts
- (2) Sweet Tarts
- (1) Roll of 8 bubblegum balls
- (1) Skull ring
- (1) Spider ring
- (1) Purple clacker