October 31, 2006

Halloween... DIY.

Homemade costumes are absolutely dominant once again this year in Madison, Wisconsin. No one thus far has turned up in a store-bought packaged costume. I just had a group of girls who were the characters from the game Candyland. Before that were two boys. One was "a blue screen" -- do you know what that is? yeah! The other was Gordon Freeman -- "a research scientist." I'll have to look that up.

37 comments:

MadisonMan said...

My wife reports that we ran out of candy after an hour. Oops. Under bought.

Ann Althouse said...

Hmmm... I'm not getting that much. I've turned on all the lights, but I don't have a pumpkin. I'm afraid kids are passing up my house.

Anonymous said...

Halloween in my 'hood simul-blogged.

Simon said...

I live in a very blue town, so last year, I toyed with putting on a robe and going around with the kid as the (then recently-confirmed) Dread Justice Roberts. Nightmare on First Street NE! But I don't think that there are enough nerds who love The Princess Bride to make the reference stick.

Plus, I had a ponytail at the time, which wouldn't have worked.

Ti-Guy said...

What'd you dress up as Ann? A dull, insipid, solipsistic, talent-free, Hamdan-decision-fumbling law professor?

...*eek*

JohnF said...

Am I allowed to suggest a related topic? If you had to dress as your favorite character from a court decision, who would you pick?

I'd be Mrs. Palsgraf, with some scale weights hanging from me. Palsgraf was the first case I read in the first year of law school that made no sense at all.

MadisonMan said...

My son trick or treated over in the Heights this year, crossing over to the north side of Regent Street for the first time. He came back with more candy than he'll ever eat. Almost half a standard sized pillow case. He eats maybe one piece a day. -- why he didn't inherit his parents' sweet tooth is a mystery. Then in March we throw everything out.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to look that up.
Somehow that just struck me funny.

I know blue screen too well.

Internet Ronin said...

I'm feeding the demanding little tricksters as I comment tonight. Looks like a record turnout for my neighborhood, probably because the apartments down the street are now fully occupied.

To folloow on Simon's riff, as for costumes here in a very red portion of a blue state (that is going to vote for a blue congressional candidate while the state votes Reds into most statewide offices), the mix is about 75% store bought.

Elizabeth said...

Wow. Those are some cool costumes.

To quote Charlie Brown, "I got a rock."

One set of kids and that's it. Nada. Zip. The pumpkin's carved and fired up. Got a flashing skull in the window. But it's just our house and maybe two others on the block that are decorated. I think people just pass right by our corner because it looks dark.

Bummer.

Daryl Herbert said...

Gordon Freeman is a Ph.D. from MIT.

For a while he was working with anomalous materials, but lab politics intervened and in the shuffle he eventually ended up with the Lamba group.

He test-fired a rocket engine and later sent a communications satellite rocket into orbit, and done a few other astronaut-related things.

In his travels he's acquired a lot of hands-on experience with xenobiology.

He's somewhat of a cult figure. A lot of people hold him in very high esteem (they think he's the one person most likely to save the world). Go figure.

Simon said...

Ti-Guy said...
"What'd you dress up as Ann? A dull, insipid, solipsistic, talent-free, Hamdan-decision-fumbling law professor?"

You know, one of the most interesting things about this blog, in contradistinction to most other popular blogs, is that the crowd of regular readers and commenters are not, for the most part, united by any particular shared philosophical commitments or politicaly views, or any particular affinity for the host's (or in this case, hostess') political and/or legal views. This is the furthest thing from an echo chamber you can imagine. Rather, I think most people are drawn here by, in greater part, an affection for reading what Ann has to say, and in lesser part, for the pleasent coffeehouse atmosphere that she's fostered here. But If you have such a low opinion of Ann... What are you doing here? Why waste the time to get that statement off your chest, "Ti-guy", when no one here really gives a flying fuck what you think?

Internet Ronin said...

Elizabeth - I know how you feel. For years, I only got a handful of kids at the door despite living in a tract teeming with children because almost everyone at my end did not have kids and few were home.

When I moved further out in the country a couple of years ago, where the land is decidely NOT level and the houses spaced a few hundred feet apart, I expected very few kids and ended up running out of candy really early. Go figure.

Simon said...

MadisonMan -
Every time we go to throw the surplus out, the kid shouts "no, no, I'mgoing to eat it." We still have a small plastic pumpkin nearly full of candy from last year. :p

MadisonMan said...

Simon: Throw it out while they sleep.

I'm so mean.

JimK said...

Here in Hamden, CT we got a TON of kids between 6 and 7, then very few and none at all after 8.

I'm only 36, and when I was a kid we went out at the first sign of a streetlight coming on, and we stayed out until 11 or so. Without parents! We'd come back with pillow cases filled with candy. It was like a job to us...we were serious about costumes, we hit every neighborhood within 5 miles.

Now it's barely an hour, and every kid has one or two parents watching from the bottom of the steps worrying that this is going to be the house where their kid gets snatched. Sad, really.

Simon said...

MadisonMan-
Unfortunately, I've discovered that parenthood is often the art of straddling the fence betwixt being mean and being practical. Sometimes it can be a real pain in the ass. In retrospect, to be honest, I don't know that I was as ready for it as I thought I was.

Christy said...

I have the scary house in the neighborhood - ivy covered, lots of trees, boxwoods lining both sides of the sidewalk to the porch. So, it being such a lovely evening, I sat on the front steps inviting all the kids over for candy. Not as creepy as it sounds. I had 3 Bob The Builders and oddly enough, three girls wearing the same velvety witch's dress with a glittery cobweb on the shoulders. About a quarter of the costumes were store-bought. And 90% of the kids were under 5. My neighborhood has changed from geriatric to young family in the last 5 years.

MadisonMan said...

jimk, I don't know where you grew up. If my kids hit every house within 5 miles, they'd have to take full-sized garbage bags along to stash the stuff. And out 'til 11? They're up at 6:45 to get ready to go off to school! If the son doesn't get 9 hours of sleep, he's a wreck.

dick said...

It is funny in this neighborhood. There are a ton of kids here but none of them play together at all. I have seen 3 kids out there going door to door and it seems as if it is their parents pushing to them to do it. Not at all like the Midwest where I grew up. We were all out there for hours and the bigger kids looked after the smaller ones. The parents predominantly stayed at home handing out the goodies.

The 3 kids out there were in store bought costumes and only seemed to go to about every 4ht or 5th house. Kinda sad for the kids to grow up like this. Seems as if all the playing outside they get is for them to ride tricycles the length of the block on the sidewalk back and forth for half an hour or so and then go back inside. Other than that you rarely see them outside at all, even on the balconies of the apartments.

Elizabeth said...

jimk, I'm 46, and my childhood was much the same. We'd cover miles, and get home about 10. I usually went with my older brothers standing guard for a small group of us. I didn't live in a big city; often, I was on a military base and there was a presumption of safety there that probably was naive. But my memories of childhood are largely of being free to roam and play with minimal interferance from adults. I really pity kids these days, with everything scheduled and monitored. Of course, I also pity the kids who have no one watching them. I suspect there was more supervision than I was aware of at the time.

Shanna said...

I have a ton of candy left over. Alot of the kids were too lazy to walk all the way up the steps to my house I guess. Plus, my dogs ran out and ran 2 miles to a blockbuster on a main road. Stupid dogs.

MKL said...

Should have been BSOD "Blue Screen of Death"!!

I live in Andersonville, GA so don't get that many kids but every year I tend to overbuy. The past 3 years about 9:30-10 PM I get the same 4 kids who know they're gonna get all of my surplus.

I was always out late when I was a kid. My parents didn't have to worry about me being tired at school the next day because by time I got to the bus stop the sugar high was kickin in...

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
R.S.Buck said...

I loved Halloween. It seemed to rain a lot of the time but it didn't distract me. I was always a Hobo.
I did my trick-or-treating just 42 miles west of where Ann does her fantastic blog.

Internet Ronin said...

Fo-
lolowing up on an earlier thread, 5 young girls just serenaded me with a delightful rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!" And, earlier this evening, a couple of wiseacres cracked jokes while reaching for candy. I guess I now know whose parents read the NY Times!

Ken Mitchell said...

Here on the Left Coast, the number of trick-or-treaters has declined markedly in the last 5 years. There used to be hundreds (a decidedly suburban neighborhood) each year; last year, perhaps 50 and so far this evening (8:30 PT) only about 30, even though the house is BRIGHTLY lit up and decorated.

When I grew up long ago, my folks wouldn't have THOUGHT of walking me around; times have indeed changed. And not for the better.

Maxine Weiss said...

Anyone found any razor blades yet?

Just asking.

Peace, Maxine

Joe said...

We had less than twelve knocks on the door for about two-dozen trick or treaters. This is very low for our area. It was cold, but not raining. There's also usually groups of teenagers that come around 9:30 and we dump the rest of our candy on them. Didn't happen this year. Very peculiar.

dave said...

I'll have to look that up.

Lady, there's a lot of shit you have to "look up."

I'm afraid kids are passing up my house.

Who wouldn't?

altoids1306 said...

Gordon Freeman! Multidimentional, PhD wielding hero. I like the kid already.

Lots of small kids with their parents around my neighborhood. Very cute. Gave them little packets of euphamistically-named "fruit snacks." Reconfirmed my belief that girls mature much more quickly than boys.

Maxine Weiss, I just don't know what to make of you.

pleck said...

Did anyone check out that illegalbriefs.com site? It'll be too late for Halloween, but I've already bought an "I [heart] Habeas" outfit for the dog.

Maxine Weiss said...

Altoids, I was just joking.

Love, Maxine

kettle said...

Gordon Freeman?
Sweet!

Finn Kristiansen said...

I am surprised at the turnout mentioned by some people here, though it reminds me of my neighborhood as a teen in Queens:

Back then kids would hit the streets in groups, some with parents, some without. Generally everyone recognized each other from the neighborhood and it was not uncommon for a mom in one group to check up on another unsupervised group.

Those of us who were above 12 or so, and feeling too old for trick or treating, resorted to mild crime, spending the darkening day throwing eggs at each other, or shooting one another with Nair or shaving cream.

When not hitting up someone's younger brother for loot, we spent the time looking for "the girls" or running from our siblings' older brothers, who hunted us down in vans to pelt us with eggs or spray us with strange goop from modified fire extinguishers.

But everyone knew who everyone was, and generally, the streets were alive.

But Phoenix today was a million miles from there. At my slightly downscale complex in North Phoenix, filled with Mexican families and biker/trailer types, nobody knocked on the door (not that I would have answered anyway), and only once did I hear any kids walking by.

Earlier I took the 7th Street bus down to central Phoenix, and saw but two families (both hispanic) taking their young costumed kids somewhere.

Then, on the return, two young white females, both around 20 or so, got on the bus, each holding a baby, and with a girl of six or so in tow. The older girls were in short dresses, apparently the "sexy" version of goldilocks or Swiss maid or barmaid or who knows what.

One of the girls, fiddling with the stroller at the front of the bus, apparently didn't realize that her costume did not really allow for her to bend over.

Several male eyes became intently concerned about the forward progress of the bus and turned their heads frontwards, no doubt to make sure all was progressing nicely. (And it was. The bus headed west down Bell Road, as certain eyes rested on the distant setting sun, and the vivid female moon).

Sad really. The costumes for kids, cheap and plastic. The holiday stolen by adults. Horror for sex.

Goesh said...

-numbers were down at my place too so I got to pig out later...

A Menken Moment said...

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of homemade costumes, some of them quite clever and artistically applied, like the cat whose whiskers nicely set off the shape of the girl's face. Only about 1/4 of the costumes were store-bought, and even one of those was clever, an alien looking skull (much smoother than a human skull) with a device (at first hidden) that shot streamlets of "blood" down from the top. The children were polite, perhaps because in most cases parents were standing out on the sidewalk. I enjoyed interacting with them, quipping on their grand ambitions and the pillow-case size of their treat bags, but it was a little sad to observe that supervision was needed even(?) in a rather affluent neighborhood. It was not so in the more working-class neighborhood where little ghost Menken, bundled in a spare sheet, went a-haunting for candy--and (gasp!) homemade caramel apples and popcorn balls (sans razor blades).