Halloween Stats 2020: How New Candy Protocol Saved the Night

Halloween decorations!

Longtime MCC readers have seen a few of these decorations before. All a part of the tradition.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: each year since 2008 I’ve kept statistics on the number of trick-or-treaters brave enough to approach our doorstep during the Halloween celebration of neighborhood unity and no-strings-attached strangers with candy. I began tracking our numbers partly for future candy inventory purposes and partly out of curiosity, so now it’s a tradition for me. Like many bloggers there’s a stats junkie in me that thrives on taking head counts, even when we’re expecting discouraging results.

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Halloween Stats 2019: Into the Valley of Death Rode the 14

Halloween Decor!

Some of our yard decor. I really need to stock up on some new gear, though.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: each year since 2008 I’ve kept statistics on the number of trick-or-treaters brave enough to approach our doorstep during the Halloween celebration of neighborhood unity and no-strings-attached strangers with candy. I began tracking our numbers partly for future candy inventory purposes and partly out of curiosity, so now it’s a tradition for me. Like many bloggers there’s a stats junkie in me that thrives on taking head counts, no matter how discouraging the results.

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Halloween Stats 2018: 78 Minutes of Human Connection and Candy

Lowes Witch!

When the Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations all compete for shelf space at the same time, it gets hard to remember which holiday is WITCH. EEEEEEH-HEE-HEE-HEE-HEEEEEEEE!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: each year since 2008 I’ve kept statistics on the number of trick-or-treaters brave enough to approach our doorstep during the Halloween celebration of neighborhood unity and beneficent snack donation. I began tracking our numbers partly for future candy inventory purposes and partly out of curiosity, so now it’s a tradition for me. Like many bloggers there’s a stats junkie in me that thrives on taking head counts, no matter how discouraging the results.

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Halloween Stats 2017: Kudos to the Comeback Kids

Lowe's Skeletons!

Happy couple enjoying their minutes in the Halloween spotlight at a local hardware store before Santa shoves them out of the way.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: each year since 2008 I’ve kept statistics on the number of trick-or-treaters brave enough to approach our doorstep during the Halloween celebration of neighborhood unity and beneficent snack donation. I began tracking our numbers partly for future candy inventory purposes and partly out of curiosity, so now it’s a tradition for me. Like many bloggers there’s a stats junkie in me that thrives on taking head counts, no matter how discouraging the results.

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Halloween Stats 2016: Rattling Sabers at Absent Neighbors

David S. Pumpkins!

Oddly, I never took a single Halloween-related photo this year, so instead please enjoy this nearly irrelevant salute to David S. Pumpkins before he changes into his Thanksgiving gear.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: each year since 2008 I’ve kept statistics on the number of trick-or-treaters brave enough to approach our doorstep during the Halloween celebration of neighborhood unity and beneficent snack donation. I began tracking our numbers partly for future candy inventory purposes and partly out of curiosity, so now it’s a tradition for me. Like many bloggers there’s a stats junkie in me that fiends for taking head counts, no matter how disheartening the results.

Right this way for our annual holiday stats round-up!

Halloween Stats 2015: The Comeback Before the Storm

Star Wars Halloween!

At Walmart, The Force infringes on the Great Pumpkin’s religious turf.

Once again our annual Halloween traditions were besieged with lousy weather that interfered with the one day out of the entire year that my neighbors and I agree to look at each other. Fortunately, this year Mother Nature compromised: temperatures were in the rather hospitable low 50s, much preferable to last year’s anti-seasonal snowfall, and the rains didn’t arrive till around 7:30. In fact, the precipitation was so gentle that we no idea it was even raining till I went to shut off the lights at 8:30. That went a long way toward explaining why we’d gone a full 55 minutes with no further visitors. Duh.

Right this way for three more photos, including my wife’s first costume in years!

Halloween Stats 2014: Snow Falling on ‘Treaters

White Halloween!

Maybe next year we can buy new Halloween decorations with voice chips that sing Christmas carols.

The photo at left was taken earlier tonight, on Halloween night. No, those aren’t real birds. Yes, that is real snow. This kind of poorly timed, anti-holiday pandemonium is what happens when you live in a state that refuses to legislate holiday weather. THANKS, YOU PARTISAN HACKS. I’ll remember this next week on Election Day and all of you will pay somehow.

We knew tonight would be rough. Everyone around us has been talking about the ominous weather forecast for days and preparing for either disappointment or pneumonia. Last year’s event wasn’t freezing or flurrying; worse, it brought a severe thunderstorm that forced Indianapolis to take unprecedented drastic measures and postpone Halloween till November 1st. I didn’t blame them, but the rescheduling killed our turnout. If there were a cartoon nemesis actively trying to end Halloween as part of his master plan to take over the world, he probably spent that night cackling and proposing toasts to himself.

Tonight’s Halloween proceeded on schedule, despite some early light rain and sharp, gusty winds all throughout. I understand snowflakes showed up much earlier in other parts of Indiana, but ours came later. Regardless, the damage was done. We saw very few kids under age five, very few loners braving the harshness solo, and very few young Method actors opting out of winter gear in the name of costume integrity.

Right this way for this year’s attendance figures!

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.

Click here for dismal results…

Halloween Stats 2012; or, the Decline of Trick-or-Treating Civilization

Halloween decorations 2012Each year for the last five years I’ve kept statistics on the number of trick-or-treaters who graced our doorstep during the Halloween celebration of neighborhood interconnectedness and benevolent snack donation. Up to 2007 we lived in a secluded section-8 apartment that roving candy-hoarders easily overlooked. After we became first-time homeowners, our first Halloween in the new house blew us away as the head count soared without warning from zero to dozens. Our supplies were exhausted so quickly that a few poor stragglers were cursed with rejected Easter leftovers. Three cheers for the eternal freshness of American preservatives.

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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Trick-or-Treaters

Three weeks from now, our fair neighborhood will be observing Halloween, the one day of the year in which we’re all willing to look directly at each other, and maybe even speak to each other if we’re feeling particularly peppy and high on sugar. For once the children leave their entertainment screens behind for the space of two or three hours and patrol the area in search of the best kind of free handouts — the kind with no government strings attached. For me, it’s a form of community involvement, one of my rare opportunities to engage in brief fellowship and do nice things for the people around us whose names I still don’t know.

Kids of my neighborhood, or of neighborhoods exactly like mine: pay close attention. This is your target. It’s called “a neighbor’s house”.

Halloween decorations

2009 file photo. 2012 decorations and setup TBD.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it and your parents aren’t paranoid enough to forbid it, will be to approach houses like mine and undergo the traditional step-by-step procedure to obtain free candy in exchange for ten seconds of human interaction. I realize this is asking a lot from some among you. If you’d rather forgo the expenditure of effort and simply write “LOTS OF CANDY” on Mommy’s grocery list instead, far be it from me to lecture you about all those generations of diligent children who were better than you.

In preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for the evening’s task, I recommend adhering to the following principles to ensure that your candy donors are impressed with your performance and don’t regret spending dozens of dollars on all those giant bags of junk food. Remember, you’re not just out there to mooch from us adult strangers: you’re there to win at Halloween.

1. Dress like the person you aren’t, not the person you are. Your everyday street clothes are not a costume. Makeup is a good start, but should not be your sole costuming medium. If your so-called “Halloween costume” is comprised entirely of clothes you’ll wear more than three times this year, you’re a deadbeat who’s making the Spirit of Halloween cry. Even if your family can’t afford to overspend on store-bought get-ups, at least try to create something that requires the use of scissors, glue, tape, or food — anything that says, “I tried.”

2. Knock or use the doorbell. A single rapping or button-depress will do. More than once is permissible if it’s my fault that I’m taking too long to answer the door. Three times in fifteen seconds makes you look desperate and increases the odds of my throwing your candy at you overhand. Standing motionlessly on my porch, staring at my door, and waiting for me to detect your heartbeat or the fluctuation in the air pressure caused by your occupancy of that space is not traditional door-to-door decorum and I totally won’t hear you. Shyness is understandable, but hardly meritorious under the circumstances.

3. SAY THE LINE. Three words, three syllables: “Trick or treat!” It’s not a secret password known only to members of the Halloween Cabal. Anyone can memorize it. Some of your peers seem to have trouble vocalizing it. No one is expecting you to spout anything nearly as complicated as, say, “supraventricular tachyarrhythmia”. If I open the door for you, your response is THE LINE. Staring at me silently and expectantly will be rewarded with me returning the silence and motionlessness in kind. I can stay locked in that position all night if I have to. I might even make it worse with eye contact. Don’t test me on this.

4. Don’t make me open your container for you. Take the lid off your bucket, open your plastic bag or pillowcase wide, pull up the flap on the hiking backpack, whatever. If I have to do that part for you, from a distance it’ll look as though I’m trying to steal from your stash, to say nothing of the weird violation of personal space required to keep your share of my candy from dropping all over my unswept porch.

5. Don’t immediately look into your bag to evaluate your spoils. That’s just rude. My candy bucket was right there before your very eyes where you could see it, and already you’re inspecting the results? Are you checking for explosives? Are you afraid I pulled a bait-and-switch and gave you broccoli lollipops instead of chocolate bars? Can you really tell my candy apart from the dozens of other treats in your bag? You do know most of us benefactors hand out pretty much the same brand names, right?

6. SAY THE OTHER LINE. Two words, two syllables: “Thank you.” They’re English and they’re common in some circles. If it helps, write them on the back of your hand. Weeks in advance, if need be. Practice saying them to yourself in a mirror. Use flashcards. Have a friend drill you. By any means necessary, learn them. They’re your easiest way to validate me as a human being so I don’t feel like an unloved vending machine that you’re taking for granted.

7. If you’re a baby, see to it that your parent does all of the above for you. If your parent can’t handle the job, cry uncontrollably until they agree to find a cool aunt or uncle to take their place. You may have your whole life ahead of you, but it’s still too short to leave yourself at the mercy of amateurs.

Remember: enjoy the evening; be safe and sensible; travel in groups where possible; and — I can’t emphasize this enough — don’t forget your lines. If five words is too taxing or you’re struggling with stage fright, ask Mom or Dad to stand off to one side with cue cards. Pretend you’re hosting Saturday Night Live and have to succeed lest you ruin the funniest sketch of the night and end up being mocked in a thousand YouTube response videos. Have fun!

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