That little bomb right there is one of the heftily-filled loot bags I’m giving away for trick-or-treat on Halloween. This thing is packed with good stuff, which I’m about to show you. We made forty-eight of them, but one of the bags split open and the guts spilled out. So there are only forty-seven, and there’s one kid out there who doesn’t know it, but cosmically he or she was meant to get a loot bag filled with toys and candy, but will get a Tootsie Roll instead. Then at some point in the night, their costume will snag and rip on a branch. Cosmic streaks are a real bitch.
I had been looking for those Ziploc Halloween bags with the spiders on them everywhere. But I always wait until the last minute—by which I mean an appropriate time to go Halloween shopping, since all the stuff has been out since July—and those Ziploc bags are gone at this point. In fact, I had to desperately pick through what was left of the Halloween goods to turn up the last two packs of Snoopy bags. Next year those Ziploc bags will be mine. But I kind of dig the Snoopy bag anyhow.
As I was making these bags, I was doing some algebraic calculations to make sure all the bags would contain a solid ratio of candy and toys. Important Halloween math. I was even using a paper and pen and calculator. The wife asked why I was trying to impress the neighborhood kids so hardcore. It was a good question. I mean, I don’t even like these kids. We icily glare at each other as I’m trying to maneuver past in my car while the mobs of them reluctantly and slowly part out of the middle of the street.
The middle of the goddamn street! Seriously kid! Get out of it! I hate your ball and I hope I run over it!
I’m not trying to impress them. I’m impressing my eight-year-old self. When I was a kid, I wanted ALL THE THINGS THAT THERE ARE. I wanted the crayons AND THE FANCY MARKERS. I wanted a candy bar AND THOSE CHEESE DANISH THINGS OVER THERE. I wanted the toy car AND A RACECAR. A WHOLE BIG ONE THAT REALLY DRIVES. I COULD DRIVE IT. I COULD.
OKAY LOOK SANTA, I’LL MAKE A DEAL WITH YOU AND JUST TAKE THE POWERWHEELS VERSION.
I’m still this person as an adult—only now I can buy all the things that there are. So I did.
These are the bulk or foundation of the loot bag. Every bag has a handful of these guys. It’s the cheap stuff that’s not real chocolate, but makes up for it with amazing foil wrappers. Check them out. There’s so many, and they’re all awesome. Who cares if it’s not chocolate, but instead a murky co-mingling of butter, sugar, and vegetable oil? I’d eat anything wrapped in werewolf foil. Anything.
Every bag has at least one toy, and these are one of the toys you might get. These are also my favorites. These packs were only a buck each, but these look great. The thing about finger puppets is the crappier they look, the better they look.
3. WHISTLE POPS
I loved whistle pops when I was a kid. When I saw that whistle shape at the end of the stick, my heart would leap. My eight-year-old self is pleased.
There’s only six maracas, so getting a maraca bag is like getting the rare chaser bag. How cool would it be to get a freaking maraca in your trick-or-treat pail?
Okay, so it’s probably only worth about two minutes of noise-making fun to a kid before they realize they can’t eat it and throw it aside to dig for more candy. Still, that means I’ve contributed at least twelve minutes of fun into the universe.
5. MINI SKATE-BOARDS!
I don’t know what these are for. The designs on them kind of suck, but I couldn’t resist mini-skateboards. THEY HAVE LITTLE WHEELS!
6. GUMMY BODY PARTS!
There’s eyeballs, mouths, feet, hearts, and thumbs in here. And maybe a brain or two.
One year after Halloween, I had bought this giant coffin-shaped tub of body part gummies. It was massively marked down at like 75% off. I was like DAMN THEY’RE PRACTICALLY GIVING IT AWAY. There were hundreds. I think I ate ten of them, tops. That tub was still full by Easter. I met the wife around that time of year, and I’d have her over to my apartment where the only food I’d have to offer was the coffin-tub of body part gummies from last Halloween.
Oh yeah! Bubbles! The wife, who works with kids, assures me that kids still freak out over bubbles. It’s good to know that in the world of iPads and HD 3D TV, kids still play with soapy water.
Halloween Crayons! I think there’s nothing as exceptionally beautiful as a brand-new, fresh-from-the-factory, sharpened crayon. They have an aesthetic and brilliance about them that’s as pleasing as any work of art. Crayons are every artist’s and writer’s first tool, first inspiration. There’s nothing like a new box of crayons.
Some bags have a combination of crayons/toys, some have crayons/body parts, and some have the mother lode of all three.
9. MORE CANDY!
10. MONSTER POPS!
I fell in love with these pops at the grocery store. That one guy looks like one of the OBEY guys from John Carpenter’s They Live. I might just save it for a special trick-or-treater. And that might be me.
11. MICROWAVE POPCORN!
These don’t fit in the treat bags, so we’re actually giving these out to the teenagers who are really pushing it in the age department for trick-or-treating. I had bought them originally because they’re candy corn flavor, which seemed ridiculously exciting and review-worthy. But then we popped a bag and it really sucked. It tasted like plain, dry popcorn with the occasional note of sugar. Gross. So take that, teenagers who are too old to trick-or-treat. They’ll probably be like, what the hell, these people gave me a bag of fucking microwave popcorn. Which is what I’m thinking, too. Who does that?
And that’s it, all of the things that there are. But I still want a racecar and a pack of fancy markers. And those damn Ziploc bags with the spiders. And cake. Special Halloween cake.