How To Survive Halloween as a Childless Semi-Adult


By Jordan Elizabeth. I loved Halloween as a kid. When I was four I wore the dog costume my mom sewed me for the whole year (and was thoroughly taken aback when people had the audacity to stare at me while I walked around the Pick N’ Save). When I was 10 I couldn't decide if I wanted to be a bunny or a princess, so I went as a Bunny Princess. It always seemed to happen that our suburb’s designated Trick or Treating afternoon fell on Daylight savings and I thought it was a great injustice that it meant I had to wait a whole additional hour until I could run out with my pumpkin pail.

And then you turn 16 and it’s not socially acceptable to go Trick or Treating. And then you turn 21 and everyone gets dressed up specifically to go out to a bar and get trashed, but as a slutty “Game of Thrones” character. This I do not care for. Is barfing while dressed as a slutty Dinosaur more fun than barfing as your slutty self? Even if you choose to not be a slutty version of something, it’s just too much pressure to come up with a good costume. The thrifty Midwesterner in me also doesn't think it’s smart to spend money on something you‘re just going to wear once.

Plus, years ago someone told me that in NYC, Halloween is when gangs have initiation nights. According to this rumor, prospective members have to slash innocent bystanders to prove their worth. I’d prefer not to get stabbed just to go out to a sweaty bar so someone dressed as Count Chocula can try and feed me roofied Mallomars. Perhaps more importantly, I find masks terrifying, so Halloween is just a landmine for possible panic attacks.

But then staying in can be just as awful. As you may have deduced, I am a wuss and don’t like scary movies. I watched The Ring 10 years ago, and sometimes when I close my eyes I still that chick's face. Last year I realized I could be the one passing out candy, so I went out and bought all the best candy so I’d have the reputation as being the good house to stop out. The only huge, glaring problem with my plan is that I live in an apartment building, and no one trick or treats there. I think I got a grand total of five kids stop by and I ate the huge bowl of candy myself over the course of the week. Plus I’m already treating my fiance like a domineering ballet instructor in an attempt to get us both into scary-skinny shape for our wedding - candy is definitely on the “eat and you will never be a Prima Ballerina/acceptable groom” list.

This year, I was determined to have a good, safe, semi-grown up Halloween. Here are my tips for how you can enjoy a healthy, not-scary, semi-adult Halloween at home:

  1. Carve a pumpkin. Remember how fun that was! Unfortunately, now that you’re a grown up, your dad won’t carve the guts out for you. But now that your motor skills are fully developed, you can go for something beyond the classic smiley face, like a howling wolf or a portrait of Lindsay Lohan when she was going off the deep end. There are plenty of stencils online you can use, too, so you look more artistic than you actually are.
  2.  Save the seeds and bake ‘em. Okay this is a lot of work, but since you’re staying at home all night, let’s be real, you have the time. Just separate from the guts and rinse in a colander. Boil in salt water for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of Vegetable oil and ½ tsp sea salt, then roast for 20-25 min at 400. Or for something more festive, try this recipe for Chipotle Lime Seeds. SO easy, you can do it totally buzzed!
  3.  Wait for the 5 Trick or Treaters to Come. You know passing out candy is fun and you really don’t want to start your adult life as the mean old lady who never passes out candy, or worse, still answered the door for Trick or Treaters, then rifled around the house for a rotten banana to give (this actually happened to me). Just buy a small bag of fun sized candies so you aren't left to eat the 12-lbs bag of Almond Joys by yourself while you look at the Instagram photos your friends are posting at their “awesome” Halloween party.
  4.  Pop in a Safe Movie. Thank God ABC Family airs Hocus Pocus on a constant loop for the month of October. I usually DVR all the good Halloween movies they air all month, then watch a couple on Halloween night. It’s festive, but Kathy Najimy and Bette Midler probably won’t haunt your dreams.
  5. Get drunk at home. Because you’re an adult and you’re mom’s not there. You can do whatever you want. I plan on making my fiance mix me one of these uber-festive cocktails or one of these. Because in my family, getting married is just a way to get your own personal home-bartender so you don’t have to get off the couch and miss a minute of “Dance Moms.”

This all being said, if you have a friend that will lend you their child for the night and you can take them trick or treating, just do that. Seeing a kid so pumped to say “trick or treat” 100 times to get some stale candy corn is really what this Pagan holiday is all about.