Halloween is over at last, leaving us all sad until next year. Time to hand out the yearly prizes.
For the second year in a row, the prize for Most Elaborate House Decoration goes to my neighbors down the block, who constructed an even more intricate probably-fire-code-violating haunted house than last year’s out of tents, fence posts and old bed sheets. There were strobe lights, there were rubber rats, there was a guy who jumped out and yelled “boo!” They were giving out cans of big K for treats at the end, but when Rosie said she didn’t like soda they gave her a bottle of water. Congratulations, neighbors. You get a pumpkin roll.
The prize for Most Appropriate Venue For A Halloween Party goes to Fort Steuben Mall, which hosted its annual indoor trick-or-treat despite the fact that most of the anchor stores are gone, the mall was foreclosed and auctioned off in March, the new owners are trying to salvage it by hanging unadorned drywall with visible plaster streaks everywhere, and there’s an enormous hump in the middle of the main corridor that makes me think the whole building may be collapsing into a sink hole. It was the perfect place for a Halloween get-together, because it looked like a set for a post-apocalyptic sci-fi Indie film. Congratulations, Fort Steuben Mall! You get a fistful of Ring Pops.
The prize for Best Party Ever goes to the Friendship Room, which hosted a free party for the whole city in their backyard. There was a petting zoo consisting of two shy sheep. There were hayrides all over the grim streets of downtown Steubenville. There was a bounce house. There were abundant pre-gutted pumpkins you could carve and take home. There were three different kinds of homemade candy apples. There were hot dogs on sticks. There was a discreet table full of free costumes so any low-income children coming into the party could grab something to Trick-or-Treat in. I’ve never had so much fun. Congratulations, Friendship Room! You’ve won a lifetime supply of hard cider.
The prize for Least Comprehensible Advertising goes to some outfit called GCU, which gave nice cloth bags with their logo on it to all the kids at my Byzantine Catholic church. The bags had coloring books and candy in them, but they didn’t say what GCU was or what the initials stood for. I stood there for a ridiculously long time muttering “Geastern Catholic… no, that can’t be right…” before I concluded it was some kind of credit union. Congratulations, GCU! Tell me what you are and I’ll give you a handful of Candy Corn.(Edit: my Eastern Orthodox friend told me it’s actually the Greek Catholic Union. No one at church bothered to explain, but apparently if you’re an Eastern Christian you’re supposed to know, just like you’re supposed to know how to hold the red napkin under your chin without being told. They sell insurance to Eastern Catholics or something like that. Thank you, Eastern Orthodox friend! You win a bag of antidoron.)
The prize for Clothes Horse goes to me. I managed to make not one but two villain cosplays out of the clothes I had lying around in my drawers and a couple of fifty cent thrift store things. The only items I bought special for the costumes at a regular store were a discount bowler hat and a Dollar Tree pair of false eyelashes.
…for the night is dark and full of chocolate. Yes, I was so inspired by the Kroger clerk who mistook me for Melisandre that I went home and mocked up a deliberate cosplay of her. Congratulations, me! I’ve won a hot toddy.
The prize for Most Indecisive Child goes to Rosie, who was excited for weeks about trick-or-treating as Mr. Rogers. Then, two weeks before Halloween, she scrapped the idea and said she wanted to be “An Unusual Jedi,” by which she meant a rebel pilot from Star Wars: A New Hope. Then, when a friend gave her a beautiful new Captain America costume for a birthday present, she wore it to the indoor Mall trick-or-treat but begged for a Darth Vader cosplay for actual Halloween. I didn’t have time to make her a costume, but we did have a mask in her dress-ups.
She wore this to the Friendship Room Halloween party, then decided she was to cold to go trick-or-treating when we got home, then changed her mind an hour later and put her Captain America suit back on to go trick-or-treating after dark when it was even colder. Congratulations, Rosie! You get to eat candy alone in the living room while Mommy finishes her blog post.
(first image via Pixabay)