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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Halloween Dreamin’

It’s late October, which means Halloween is nearly here, bearing down on us like a broom-riding green chick with a bad case of frogface.

As my metaphor might suggest, I have mixed feelings about the Halloween season.

On the one hand, fall is my favorite time of year. It’s not too hot, all the sports are either starting or ending, it doesn’t rain every four hours like springtime, and I don’t live in a house any more, so I’m not raking huge piles of leaves every weekend.

On the other hand, Halloween is a holiday revolving around candy, children and dressing in something other than blue jeans. None of that interests me in the slightest. Taken together, it’s a recipe for a pretty horrifying personal nightmare.

“Dump me in an ill-fitting costume and plop me beside a squealing six-year-old scarfing down Kit-Kats — that’s plenty enough horror for me, thanks.”

You can keep your Freddy Krueger and Chucky dolls. Dump me in an ill-fitting costume and plop me beside a squealing six-year-old scarfing down Kit-Kats — that’s plenty enough horror for me, thanks.

Still, no one’s going to cancel Halloween because of one guy’s October-Grinchy attitude. So says my wife, anyway. And the condo association. And city council. Twice.

And Halloween’s not all bad — mostly due to the adult costumes.

I don’t even mean the “adult” costumes — *nudge nudge wink wink* — though I’m not complaining about those. Or wouldn’t, if anyone I’d want to see in one actually wore one in my vicinity.

(One starts to wonder whether naughty nurse and skimpy Jane of the Jungle outfits are sort of like the things in Penthouse Letters. Maybe they actually happen, ever. Possibly. But not to me, or anyone I know. And certainly not to the parties I get invited to.

Which, to be fair, are the ones that allow jeans, so I suppose that’s fair. You don’t see a lot of leather dominatrix costumes that come with a pair of Levis. Everything’s a tradeoff, right?)

But even the regular Halloween costumes can serve a purpose. I was out last night and saw two people — a man and a woman, at separate tables — in Joker costumes. Not the old-timey Joker, either, or even the Jack Nicholson version. These were caked-on scrawly-faced wild-eyed Heath Ledger Jokers. Scary ones, with green hair and all. And that’s awesome. Why?

Think about it this way. Maybe those two were single. And maybe they each met someone at the bar, and maybe they went even went home with those respective someones for a nightcap. And then those someones woke up this morning, next to one of these Joker impersonators. At that point, one of two things will happen:

Either the partner has forgotten most of the previous night, and looks over to see a green-haired goblin lying on a makeup-smeared pillow that looks like something Jackson Pollock would barf up after a plate of bad oysters. At which point, that person would scream bloody murder, possibly running naked in panic through the streets, and everyone involved would have a good story to tell for years to come.

Or, the partner would remember that they came home with the Joker last night — not “some joker”, as usual, or just any joker, but the Joker — and turn over to see someone with less makeup on, the hideous red grin now fading, and a real live possibly-relatively-normal human showing through. And the partner would think, “Hey. That’s not so bad.

What I’m saying is, scary costume hookups must be, like, the antithesis of “coyote ugly”. If you take the Joker or a scary clown or someone in a Stephen Baldwin mask home… well, you might have some issues. It’s possible you need a therapist — or at least an updated eyeglass prescription. But one thing’s for certain: they are not going to look worse in the morning. It’s true. Just a tip, for you single Halloween fans out there. Also, Stephen Baldwin.

And so, Halloween marches forward, with the pitter-patter of princess slippers and prosthetic rubber hobbit feet, and I don’t personally have the problem of finding a costume or picking out a nightmarish ghoul to wake up beside. My only Halloween task involves having a bowl of candy at the ready when the neighborhood tykes descend on the condo next week, demanding sugary goodies at rotten egg-point.

The question, as always, is: how big a bowl?

There’s no equation that I know of to optimize the amount of candy to have ready for Halloween. There should be, but there isn’t. I want some mathematician to get on it — factor in the number of small children per surrounding square mile, allowing for statistically realistic rates of repeat visits and “double dippers”. Calculate the average number of calories per treat, divide by the number of people in the household forced to eat the leftovers, and figure out how may ass pounds each would gain per undistributed mini-Snickers or Smarties roll. Add it all up, and tell me whether the small bag of candy is too little and will get my windows egged, or whether the big bag is way overkill, and I’ll be dumping Three Musketeers in my cereal bowl for the next six weeks.

Seriously. Somebody who can work a calculator, get on this. For one night, stop trawling bars trying to pick up dates in Scream masks, and give us our candy formula. All of us jeans-wearing Halloween humbuggers are counting on you.

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