I started to worry about Halloween a couple years ago.
Right around the time when my hallowed hangover started to creep into November 2nd, my friends started staying home because they couldn’t find a sitter. Just as 10 p.m. began to sound a little late to head out to a costume party, my Facebook feed blew up with pictures of tiny humans in tiny pumpkin costumes.
This year, it seems official: I’m in Halloween purgatory — I’m wise enough to know the true cost of an open bar, but still selfish enough to steal Reese’s Cups from your little pumpkins.
But while there are a lot of holidays I’ll surrender to my 20s (it was real, New Year’s), Halloween is not one of them. I grew up in the Northeast, where trick-or-treating was a competitive sport, where tightly packed row houses meant all the candy you could carry — and then a second helping after emptying your pillowcase at home.
So how to celebrate a proper Halloween when you’re not a kid anymore — and don’t have one? It’s easy, but there are some rules.
No: Pumpkin-picking hayrides
When it comes to Linvilla Orchards as a childless adult, the Waterpark Rules apply: If it seems creepy, it probably is and you should get in another line. Browsing the heritage gourds at the General Store? Perfectly OK. Piling on the hayride to pick your own pumpkin? Not as awkward as the corn maze, but you don’t belong here.
Yes: Haunted hayrides
As it turns out, chainsaw-wielding clowns become more terrifying as time goes on and you’ve met more clowns. Combine them with a trip to the suburbs, and Feasterville’s Valley of Fear is a pretty spot-on nightmare if you’re in the market for a scare.
No: The Barbary
You’ve known this for awhile, but The Barbary belongs to the college crowd — especially during Halloween. Is there a tiny part of you that wants to go to their Through Being Zuul party? Of course there is. Gently explain to that tiny part that you can’t listen to Saves the Day anymore — not even on Halloween, not even when wrapped up in an amazing “Ghostbusters” pun.
Yes: Making Time
Of all the wristband parties, this is one of the better bets – especially now that it’s set up shop at Union Transfer. Refer to their “Lost Boys” tagline before whining about how late it goes, grumpy vampires: “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die.”
No: Pumpkin smashing
This is obviously unacceptable after middle school — and yet, if you grew up in this city, there’s a part of you that will always want to toss that Jack O’ Lantern in the street where it belongs.
Maybe: Pumpkin stealing
You can try to get your mischief fix by stealing Halloween decorations in South Philly, but remember: If it’s caught on camera the Internet will unite in cohesive, deafening outrage.
No: Candy duty
Yes, this seems to be our calling, childless friends. But if we wanted to bum around the house and cater to the whims of sticky-fingered monsters, we would have had kids. Moving on.
Yes: Pet costumes
Finally, a Halloween category we adult children own. Think you can come up with a better dog costume than me? I’ve had all month to plan, and no one to distract me at AC Moore except a nagging inner voice I learned to ignore years ago. What am I doing with my life? Winning my office’s pet costume contest for the second year in a row, thank you very much. See you on the podium, pumpkins.
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