Halloween Stats 2013: Citywide Raincheck Crushes Holiday Spirit

cheap Halloween mascots

My two perennial centerpieces, the disturbing duo of Plastic Faceless Reaper and the Bewildering Spider-Skull . And MCC readers who look closely will recognize a character from a previous entry!

First time in my life, as far as I can recall: this year the city of Indianapolis postponed trick-or-treating until November 1st due to a severe thunderstorm forecast for Halloween night. Considering how the eventual storm left thousands of residents without power for hours, I can’t dispute that it was the right call from a public safety standpoint. Our household was spared the worst of the ostensible onslaught. Our lights blinked once, and one of my Halloween crows fell on its side. If there’s a problem level more insignificant than “first-world problems”, that’s where our threat level fell.

The unavoidable rain delay killed our neighborhood turnout, though.

I was optimistic about moving the festivities to a Friday night instead of a school night. Tonight was also a lot warmer (and drier!) than Thursday night. The environment was much more hospitable than last year’s chilly affair, which forced kids to wear bulky, non-photogenic coats over their meticulously manufactured costumes. I even stopped after work today and bought extra treats just in case. One helpful perk: bad weather is useless against the fixed schedule of post-holiday sales. Kroger stuck to script and gave 35% discounts off Halloween candy to Kroger Plus Card users. Advantage: this guy.

I spent a couple hours Wednesday night shuffling around our Halloween decoration collection into a different shape than last year’s. It’s this little thing I like to do for the strange visitors we only see once per year. Thursday’s storms somehow moved nary a tombstone out of place, possibly because the limbs I trimmed from our front-yard maple tree last month finally came in handy as prop stabilizers. For once I had a showpiece setup that didn’t require daily repairs.

Halloween cemetery

Cemetery curated over the course of years from various half-off post-Halloween sales. This was my first time using tree trimmings as both ambiance and support. I aim to keep things noticeable without going extravagant.

Savings and aesthetics notwithstanding, my overstocking and design efforts were nearly in vain. This year’s trick-or-treating experience performed like so:

First TOTer arrival time: 5:48 p.m.
Final TOTer departure time: 7:54 p.m.
Total number of trick-or-treaters for 2013: 36
Gain/loss from Halloween 2012: -37.93%

Quite an alarming nosedive there.

As I explained last year in my first Halloween stats summary for this site, I count heads every year as they line up at our door. It helps me with inventory control in subsequent years and lets me put a finger on the pulse of local Halloween. This year, Halloween wasn’t dead, but it cried out for some kind of iron lung.

Those dedicated three dozen with the fortitude to uphold the tradition donned costumes such as:

Optimus Prime
Tow Mater
Elmo
Batgirl
2 Batmen
Wolverine
an adult Spider-Man
an all-pink female Spider-Man (resembled none of Marvel’s established Spider-Girl or Spider-Woman uniforms)
2 witches with webbing-based dresses
3 reaper skeleton Death things
1 glow-in-the-dark skeleton
2 angel fairy princess ballerina things
4 ninja
six-armed insect thing
dragon
vampire

I wasn’t happy that our obnoxious tiny dog yiped loud enough to make one little girl cry. Otherwise the interactions were uneventful. I suspect kids were flummoxed at the idea of celebrating a holiday off-holiday and walked their appointed rounds in a disoriented haze. More than half the kids said their lines, but several had a glassy look in their eyes as if they were appalled to be doing this in November. I can’t blame them. November is not Halloweenical.

For those who couldn’t figure out what I meant by my caption on the first photo, here’s a closeup of this evening’s very special guest:

praying mantis

Quoth the mantis: Nothing. Snore.

A full ten days after we first discovered him lurking on our front door, our new friend the mantis — about whom I wrote a very special poem last week — is still hanging around our house. Despite my pleas, despite the raging storms, he’s still squatting on our property. Wednesday while I was outside decorating, he finally walked down the left side of the front door, ambled in an arc around the front porch, and then proceeded to climb up the right side of the door. Even the cobweb halfway up the door frame didn’t faze him.

This afternoon I was surprised to see him navigating across the top of the bush like Chow Yun-Fat in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and making a methodical beeline for Plastic Faceless Reaper. I have no idea if any of our trick-or-treaters spotted him later in the dark. I like to think he found safe harbor inside the Reaper’s cloak and cuddled up until the intruders went away.

As he insists on acting like part of our family and is cuter than a few of our relatives, I’ve decided his name is Mr. Deadly. Even though dozens of kids stood us up and presumably contented themselves with other candy-collecting activities this week at local malls or churches or gas stations or whatever, at least Mr. Deadly was there for us. I appreciate that he’s quieter and less annoying than our dog, too.

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