Tuesday, November 02, 2010

13 Days of Halloween - Even More Lessons Learned

I hope you've enjoyed reading my Halloween posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.  As usual, I will end the series with a post of lessons learned.  I've listed my previous tips below, but if you'd like to read the full explanation of each one, just click on the year date and it will take you directly to that post.  I hope you all had a safe, fun and spooky Halloween holiday!


1. Temporary hair color isn't necessarily temporary.2. If your costume comes with an explanation, you'll be better off finding another costume.
3. Never ever go first into the haunted house.
4. Wigs are itchy.5. If the candy looks like it was made in the 70s, it probably was.
6. No one has the patience (or appreciation) for black and white horror movies.7. Carving pumpkins isn't nearly as fun as it looks.8. This tip is for all the kids... HIDE YOUR CANDY BAG!
1. If you've started a new job, ask around and make sure people dress up on Halloween BEFORE you decide to show up in costume.
2. If Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday night, don't expect as many trick-or-treaters.
3. Fake blood stains EVERYTHING.
4. If you want a unique costume, check out Goodwill.
5. Don't be THAT house (the one that passes out weird stuff instead of candy).

1.  Murphy's Law is in full effect on Halloween too.  I have discovered that if I anticipate a lot of trick or treaters and purchase several bags of candy, I won't have hardy any kids come to my door and will have a ton of candy left over.  Then, the following year, basing my candy purchases on the previous year, I will only buy one or two bags, only to be inundated with kids, and consequently have to shut my porch light out early in the evening.  Sometimes you just can't win.

2. If you want to rent a costume, then do it in late-September, early-October.  Some of my friends were surprised to learn that I start planning my Halloween costume in September.  Usually it's because I try to put my costumes together from re-purposed items, crafted items, Goodwill purchases, etc. so I need time to pull that all together. However, if you are interested in renting a costume, you should probably investigate your options and reserve a costume early as well.  Most costume shops don't have multiples of a costume for rent, or if they do, it's only a couple, and their rental requests get taken up fast in the month of October.  Not only will shopping early ensure you a good selection, but you will also be able to try on the rentals at your leisure, without having to run into eighty billion other shoppers in the store as you come and go from the changing rooms.  My favorite costume shop in the Valley of the Sun is Easley's Fun Shop.  They are, hands-down, the best around and I heartily recommend them.  My bridal party even rented their costumes from Easley's (but that's another story for another time.)

3. If you leave your carved pumpkin on your porch overnight, you might find javelinas munching on them in the morning.  This probably only applies to those of us who live in the AZ desert, but you can fill in the blank (raccoons, bears, etc.) for animals that are indigenous to your own area.  I didn't personally learn this lesson, but have had this happen to several friends including, most recently, to my friend Chandy

4.  If your costume inhibits movement or limits your visibility, then don't play party games that require physicality.  You would think this would be a no-brainer, but I feel like I must mention it here as a safety advisory. In the eighth grade, I invited my best friend to a Halloween party.  She went dressed as an Egyptian (think Cleopatra). Her mother sewed, so she made her a white column type dress by using a t-shirt type pattern and just extending the length down to her ankles. It looked great, but there was no kick pleat or slit to allow for large strides to be taken.  We participated in a relay race, and my friend, trying to run in a dress that really wasn't made for running, on grass that was somewhat wet with evening dew, fell/slid and slammed into a brick wall. Ouch!  She ended up breaking her wrist, because she'd put out her hand to stop herself, and that's what got jammed into the wall. Not only did that put a damper on the rest of the party, but she then had to spend the next several hours in the ER on Halloween night. She ended up having to get a cast and later had to figure out how to wash her hair with one hand and her head hanging over the edge of the tub, which took about an hour, because instead of buying a wig, she's bought black hairspray and coated her hair with it. Then she had to wear the cast for six weeks. It was a catastrophe of immense proportions on many levels for a tender 13-year-old girl, and she blamed me for ALL of it, because I'd invited her to the party, and it was my idea to go as Egyptians.  Even though we remained good friends she continued to hold that grudge against me all through high school. We've since lost touch, but I'm sure somewhere out there, she's telling her kids about that one time she got hurt at a Halloween party...

5. Shop the after-holiday sales.  Everyone always thinks to shop the after-Christmas sales to get good deals on deeply discounted holiday decorations, wrapping paper and the like.  The shops don't want to have to put these items into storage, gathering dust until the next year, but instead want to get rid of it, so they usually have these items marked at 50 percent off or more.  Did you know this is also the case with Halloween decorations, candy (and sometimes costumes) too?  The biggest deals I found this year were at Michaels Craft Store.  I picked up some Halloween-themed candy molds and cake decorating items, some room decorations, party favors, and fall floral sprays all for a screaming deal.  I went there the week before Halloween, when they'd just put everything into deep discounts to clear the items and make way for their Christmas merchandise.  Of course, waiting this late into the season to purchase something means you run the risk of the store already being sold out of the item, so don't wait on a sale for something you really really need.  But if you're looking to add to your decor collection, or candy supplies, or whatever, it's definitely worth it to wait.

What are some of your holiday tips?  Please leave me a comment and let me know.  And we'll see you next year!  Until then, stay tuned for a year's worth of non-Halloween blog posts and a few new changes coming to my blog in the month of November.


Laurie B said...

Great ideas! Thanks for all the tips.

chandy said...

Yay for my javelina shout out! It was actually pretty cool to see them so up-close. They weren't the least bit scared of us, so we sat in the car with the headlights shining on them for awhile, watching them munch away before they moseyed back into the desert.

I'm curious to see what changes you have in store for November! (You're not quitting the blog, right? ;)

D.L. White said...

@Laurie - Thanks! Glad you liked them! :)

@Chandra - That's very cool. I hadn't thought of this little Halloween warning until your FB status reminded me of it. :)

And no - I definitely won't be quitting the blog. Just retooling the design (hopefully) and refocusing myself mostly.

Jessie said...

OH MY GOODNESS! The 8th Grade story cracked me up! I will probably be laughing about it for a while, now!

And I'm relieved to find out that I wasn't the only one who bought the mother-lode of candy and had about six trick-or-treaters come to the door! Where was everyone? I was bummed, and not I have candy all over the place which is not really a good thing. I'm thinking about handing out candy at future events, like my garage sale this weekend and with my Christmas cards...

Laura said...

We have tons of leftover candy because I didn't get home from the party early enough to get it out for most of the crowd and I forgot to put it out before we left. I wouldn't complain, but I intentionally bought candy I don't like so I wouldn't eat it before Halloween.

Now all the good candy from the kids bags is already gone and I'm stuck with 4 pounds of smarties. Bummer.

D.L. White said...

@Jessie - Glad I could make you smile! I hope somewhere out there my friend has forgiven me for my supposed faults for that evening and is laughing about it now too.

@Jessie & Laura - I bought candy I don't like either for that same reason - so I wouldn't eat it. Last year I was inundated with kids. This year - nadda. But my solution was to take all the candy to my office and leave it in the breakroom. It disappeared in the blink of an eye. ;-)