I blame my sister (costume edition)

When I was in elementary school, my family would get really into decorating the outside of our house for Halloween. My older sister, who was a teenager at the time, was especially into making it legitimately creepy.

One year, when I was in fourth or fifth grade, I had just gotten home from trick-or-treating, and my sister and her boyfriend were passing out candy. I was dressed as a gypsy girl. As we stood on the porch waiting for the next round of kids, my sister had a vision. “Kelly!” she said. “Go sit in that chair and pretend to be dead!”

Obediently, I draped myself across the chair, eyes closed, mouth slightly agape. I must have been like that for a while (and possibly fallen asleep), because by the time I heard the rustle of candy dropping into plastic bags, I was over it. I abruptly stood up – at which point the little costumed boy on our porch let out a blood-curdling scream. Apparently he’d been a little too convinced by our ruse, and thought I’d either woken from the dead or was a dummy come to life.

His mom was pissed. It was very awkward.

WTF, sis?

Fast forward ten years…

This time it was not actually Halloween. However, I was home on break from college, and my sister excitedly called to tell me that she and her neighbors were throwing a Napoleon Dynamite-themed costume party. I was pumped and started crafting the perfect outfit to be Deb: calf-length leggings, a short, pastel tie-dye dress, fanny pack, slouchy socks with sneakers, and of course – the piece de resistance – a major side ponytail.

I showed up to the party feeling pretty good. I walked in, and it was a scene straight out of a movie – music blaring, everyone’s heads turning in slow motion to stare at me, and my heart thumping with the realization: no one else is in costume.

Soon my sister emerged from the crowd, covering her mouth with her hand to hold back laughter. “Oh my god,” she said. “Oh my god, I forgot to tell you we changed it.”

Shortly thereafter I grabbed hold of a bottle of wine, and thus began an epic failure of a night, the details of which do NOT need to end up on the Internet – but all of which I do blame on my sister.

Happy Halloween, sis!

Don’t ruin Halloween

Recently, for a freelance assignment, I was researching ways to have a more “green” Halloween.

To be honest, I had never given much – okay, any – thought to the environmental impact of Halloween. Probably because when you’re the one picking out plastic-y costumes from the party store and rolling around in candy wrappers, you’re a child. And then after that, you’re more concerned with a costume’s impact on your boobs than its impact on the environment.  And after that, you’re not really concerned with Halloween at all until you have your own kids.

So I had never really thought about it. But once I started reading about it, it made sense, and there were actually a lot of really simple ways to make Halloween a bit more eco-friendly. I found myself nodding in agreement with the reasonable suggestions.

The way it should be

But then. Oh then… Then my head exploded. Several of the sources I found advocated handing out organic, fair-trade dark chocolate to trick-or-treaters. Another suggested giving them soy candles. SOY CANDLES. I had to read that one like 12 times to make sure I was understanding it correctly.

Ok. If I, as an adult woman, show up at your house trick-or-treating, feel free to give me organic dark chocolate and a soy candle. I welcome it. However, if I were a child and received this, I’m pretty sure I would throw myself on the floor screaming. In fact, even now I’d probably be pissed if I didn’t get any Smarties or Reese’s Pieces. Also – if you do this, you should probably expect to have your house egged by an angry mob of children. Just a fair warning.

Can’t we be environmentally responsible without ruining childhood? That’s all I have to say.

(Actually, no it’s not. It’s ridiculous standards like these that make actual important causes seem so elitist/inaccessible to people. Isn’t it better to give everyone simple, affordable ways to make a difference rather than suggesting you need to spend $350 on chocolate at Whole Foods to be a good citizen?  End rant.)