Living Gracefully

It’s finally October again. Leaves are falling, the wind has picked up, and your orange and blue boathouse jacket doesn’t seem all that unnecessary anymore. But something else has happened, something far more important than any weather forecast: stores have started selling Halloween candy. (Actually, they’ve been selling it since mid-August, but that’s ridiculous and we’re not going to talk about it.) It’s a known fact at Latin that Halloween is the best holiday of the year—that is, unless you care at all about your family, heritage, religion, or dental health—so make your evening as perfect as it can possibly be. Here’s what you need to know. ***DISCLAIMER: If you don’t dress up for Halloween, please stop reading because I have no respect for you.*** The very core of Halloween, of course, is the costumes. There are so many genres, so many options. Will you be a character from a TV show? A nameless police officer? A celebrity? A clever joke? The possibilities are endless as long as you follow these easy guidelines. First, make sure that your costume doesn’t offend anyone. It would be extremely embarrassing to get dress-coded at a school with virtually no dress code. Don’t let it happen to you. On the topic of dress code, don’t wear a costume that’s too short, tight, or suggestive. You’d look great, of course. But if history repeats itself, as history tends to do, the temperature will hover around 40ºF with a face-freezing wind chill and an inhumane amount of hail. Frostbite sucks. Cover up. And most importantly, be creative. Nothing kills Halloween spirit like thirty Toews impersonators in the same building. Take one of my fantastic ideas instead:

  1. A bad pun
  2. Donald Trump
  3. Something educational, like a simile or photosynthesis
  4. Your greatest fear
  5. A mannequin in an uncomfortable pose
  6. Donald Trump’s hair
  7. Your Mickey Mouse painting from freshman year
  8. Someone from Parker
  9. “A mouse, duh!”
  10. Kanye West dressed as Kanye West
  11. A college
  12. Millard Fillmore, the 13th US president
  13. Someone who drank the Mars water and now has unusual superpowers
  14. A bean
  15. The Bean
  16. Mr. Bean
  17. Yourself in middle school
  18. Gunther from Friends
  19. A pen
  20. The fire above Adobo Grill
Now that you’ve chosen your costume, you’re probably considering trick-or-treating. “No way,” your friends will say. “We’re teenagers, we’re too cool. Trick-or-treating is for little kids.” If your friends give you this advice, ignore them. Contrary to popular belief, trick-or-treating is in fact most beneficial to students in high school and college. This is true for many reasons, the first being that kids of our age group need more exercise. Would you rather jog three miles or wander through your neighborhood with your closest friends? That’s what I thought. What about the piles of free candy on every doorstep? Think of them as gifts. You’re a model citizen; this is your neighbor’s way of thanking you. It would be rude to refuse. Don’t let toddlers take what’s rightfully yours. And did you know that candy has a lot of health benefits? Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that people who eat candy several times a month are likely to live up to a year longer than those who don’t. Peppermint helps digestion, clears nasal passages, and improves concentration. Certain chemicals in dark chocolate (not milk chocolate, which is fake) reduce the risk of heart disease and even cancer. Stock up! Live forever! Don’t eat too much black licorice, though. According to the FDA, you can actually overdose and die.* Anyway, it’s a sad excuse for candy. Don’t do that to yourself. When your fingers start to freeze, you’ll probably head inside for a party with your friends. There are a few easy ways to tell if you’re at a good party or not. Some signs of a well-executed Halloween celebration include: pumpkin-shaped string lights, candy corn (don’t lie, it’s delicious), fake spiderwebs, popcorn, skeletons that light up and play evil laugh sounds when you walk by them. Every Halloween party should have at least three of those items, if not more. Keep this in mind whether you’re a guest, a host, or a close enough friend to the host that you end up hosting anyway. If your party doesn’t involve a ton of candy and at least one PG-rated movie, you’re doing it wrong. Movie selection is key, so make good choices. I would recommend Beetlejuice if you’re looking for a classic. Another foolproof Halloween activity: pumpkin carving. Buy five sets of tiny knives per person, or ten just to be safe. Try to do that thing where you only carve part of the the way through the wall so there are layers, but do it all the way around and make a glowing yellow ball. Or a clown face. Whatever floats your boat. Either way, there’s really nothing better than the sensation of cold pumpkin guts dripping through your fingers. No matter what you end up doing on Halloween, I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time. It’s a very special night, an opportunity for adventure, the one chance you have every year to dress and act like someone different. (Not you, theatre kids. You do you.) You should be happy, comfortable, and excited for what each moment will bring. As mentioned earlier, you should be well-protected against any and all potential weather anomalies. You should be scared at certain times, but not too scared, because you should never be in a truly scary situation other than a few scenes from Beetlejuice… Sorry, this is too much to ask. You can do whatever you want. This is October in Chicago, with its still tolerable temperatures and quiet parks. This is October at Latin, marking the first easy weeks of the second quarter. You have more free time now than you will until June. So have fun. Celebrate Halloween your own way. Except varsity cross country, you guys have to run at sectionals. That’ll be scary enough.   *All candy nutrition facts confirmed by multiple Internet sources, because I trust everything I read online. Black licorice article here: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm277152.htm]]>