"Oh, The Weather Outside Is Fright-Full"

As I write this, it's Halloween. I love Halloween. More than Christmas. If they gave presents out on Halloween, I'd be in Nirvana. Something about getting dressed up and going door to door begging for candy I like. Which I'm sure scared my parents to no end. Thankfully, I outgrew the begging for candy as soon as I could afford to buy my own.

It's tough being a Halloween lover as you get older. The true magic of the holiday is trick or treating, and when you're in your twenties, trick or treating is frowned upon. Trick or treating is one of the best reasons to have children, so you can dress up and tote them around to do their trick or treating. And teach them the finer points of toilet-papering a house.

This year, I'm going down to Sixth Street. For those of you not in Austin, Sixth Street is a massive party on Halloween. There's all kinds of people in costume walking the streets, in an impromtpu parade mixed with bar hopping. The last time I went, my friend and I spent three hours playing "costume or lifestyle." That's where you watch the pierced, tattooed, leather-bound people walk by and try to figure out if they're dressed up for Halloween or they always dress like that. It's a frighteningly low percentage of Halloween costumes, that's all I'll say.

What's really frustrating is coming up with a decent costume without spending gobs of money. This year I spent $150 on a relatively simple Men In Black costume that probably no one will even recognize. And that's darn cheap compared to what some of these people spend. You know the ones I mean. The guy dressed up as an alien from Independence Day, complete with holographic spaceship overhead and three scriptwriters in tow creating plot holes for him to jump through. The girl who has transformed herself into a life-size Statue of Liberty. Those costumes that must have taken the better part of a year to develop and build, and probably took a governmental grant to afford.

Then there's the other end of the spectrum, the cheapskates who couldn't be bothered to come up with a costume. The frat guy whose costume is "I'm dressed as a guy from a different house!" or the chainsaw-wielding maniac who thinks that multiple murders makes him a costumed party-goer on Halloween. You kill a few people, suddenly it's a theme, not a major felony. Like they weren't asking for it. Like that guy didn't laugh at you and basically beg you to pick up the chainsaw and grease it with his stinking, smug blood! Like...whoa sorry, off on a bit of a tangent there. I'm better now.

Anyway, I guess any costume is better than no costume, and Sixth Street is better than sitting at home. But I miss being able to trick or treat. Maybe I need to borrow some kids. Or an easy-going midget.

Randy W. Lander

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