The Halloween Countdown got a bit derailed from the hurricane. Pictured above is my super-scientific “hurricane barometer.” I figured that the fake cobweb would tell the story of how bad the wind was getting. The thing about that cobweb is it sticks to everything. So I knew if the cob completely blew down at any moment, it was the time to freak out. About 30% of it came down, which is just about right.
In the Baltimore area, we mostly ended up dodging the bullet—or rather, the cannonball. Really, the worst thing that happened here was the wife beat me in an intense, close game of Operation while we sat in the basement all day waiting for it to fill with toxic sludge.
And here’s the thing I’ve learned: after eight hours of obsessively watching the news coverage—the reporters blowing around and standing knee-deep in water—you will not suddenly figure out what to do if the toxic sludge spills into the stairwell and rapidly begins to rise in your basement. Or when a seventy-mile-per-hour wind gust takes out one of fifty trees directly behind the house and sends it careening into your roof. Or when you see a cow blow past your window outside. Actually, I think that was just a trashcan. But the point is, the news doesn’t help with any of these. It just scares the crap out of you.
I was prepared though. I’d been monitoring the storm all week. I had D-batteries and water bought way before the mad rush began. And then I went back to buy more. In fact, I even bought the VERY LAST gallon of water on the shelf at Food Lion. I didn’t need it, but it felt like a trophy. I felt like Quint in the movie Jaws, grizzled, world-weary, and completely obsessed.
I also felt like Kevin in Home Alone rigging makeshift traps for the burglars. But in my case I was rigging makeshift traps for the stream that forms in our backyard in heavy rains. This was my basement. I had to protect it. I was prepared for about five different worst-case scenarios to daisy-chain together and go off one by one like a minefield. I had tarp. I had trenches. I had a top-of-the-line sump pump, a battery backup, an extension cord to the neighbor’s generator, and finally a bucket to manually bail it out, down on my knees screaming YOU WANT MY BASEMENT SANDY? COME AND GET ME FIRST!
In my two years as a homeowner, I’ve learned the two words “sump pump” fill me with all kinds of existential dread. Basically, my next house is going to be on a mountaintop in a desert. And don’t tell me there’s no mountaintops in the desert because I will personally build that mountain myself.
Last night after the last of the threat of rain and wind finally passed, it was time to get back to Halloween business. In fact, this was the most crucial of Halloween business: the annual murdering of the gourd. No fancy carving tools. No stick on kits. No crayons.
Just KNIVES, people.
Since you’ve all seen the extent of my artistic talent with various projects, I keep it simple with the design of the pumpkin carving. I’m good for a couple upside-down triangles and straight lines. (Which even then I managed to screw up a little with that weird curved part of the right eye.)
The other tradition we do is make candy bags for the trick-or-treaters. This year I found these awesome mini-drawstring bags to fill:
We made about fifty bags for the little trick-or-treaters and those who are prompt and early. We have “overflow” candy for the teenagers and stragglers who come knocking on the door after nine.
And most importantly, here’s the loot inside the bags:
Every bag comes with two toys and five to seven pieces of candy. Some rare bags have three toys and extra candy. I just like to think that sometimes the universe picks you and gives you something extra awesome.
Possible toy combinations include:
- Plastic fangs
- Eyeball ping pong ball
- Glow in the dark snake
- Plastic spider
- Snoopy Halloween tattoos
- Halloween eraser
Possible candy combinations:
- Milky Way
- Almond Joy
- Three Musketeers
- Mini Poptarts
- Halloween Fruit Snacks
- Eyeball bubble gum
- Bit O’ Honey
And what can I say about the Bit O’ Honey candy? Sometimes the universe picks you and HATES you.
That wraps up the Halloween countdown for the year. It’s Halloween! Have fun. Watch scary movies. Eat candy. GET FAT.