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October 18th, 2009


This Extra Ink was written by Betsy.

The leaves are falling, the air is cool, and I'm pulling the hats and mittens I knit last winter out of storage. Fall is my favorite time of year! I do live in New England, so I'm biased--I get a gorgeous foliage show every year and do things like drink cider and frolic in apple orchards. Still, I think fall will always be my favorite season, no matter where I live. Why?

One word: Halloween. If you ask me (and even if you don't, I'm gonna tell you) it's the best holiday of the year. People of all ages get to play dress-up, carve pumpkins, and--best of all--demand free candy from their neighbors. Free. Candy.

Once you're past the cute little kid stage, however, you need to put in some effort to convince people that they should give you their chocolate and gummies and whatnot. Sure, when you were five you could cut two holes in a sheet and be the most adorable ghost this side of Hades, but the time has come to step up your game. Read on to make this the best Halloween ever!

Packaged, licensed costumes are totally boring, and you could end up in the exact same costume as someone else at your school. It's so much more fun to craft a costume yourself, and you're guaranteed an original, one-of-a-kind creation. Some DIY ideas:

Go as a particularly eccentric teacher or coach. Observe them carefully for a few days, then rummage through your parents' closets for the perfect outfit. The key to success with this costume is your attitude: you've got to walk and talk like that teacher, so that everyone who sees you will immediately know who you are.

Time traveler: Wear slightly anachronistic clothes, like a concert tee paired with a 1950's poodle skirt or a shirt and tie with 1980's parachute pants. You've arrived from hundreds of years in the future, and everything you know about 2009 you learned from history class. Take voice notes about 'primitive society' whenever a friend does anything. Ask people where the jet pack fuel is. Try to fit in to the current time, and fail miserably. You get the idea.

Messy room: I have a friend who did this one year, and it was awesome. Cover yourself with old homework, video game controllers, socks, comics--and then enjoy your mystery as people try to guess what you are.

Mime: a white shirt, black pants, suspenders and facepaint are all you need--well, that plus some mad skills. See how many teachers will put up with your mimed answers to their in-class questions.

Grapes: Inflate a bunch of balloons, tape them to yourself, and wear a pointy green hat. Epic. (Just make sure none of your friends have latex allergies!)

Last but not least, a costume for a group of friends in a generous mood: go as treat givers rather than receivers. Dress up as old ladies and carry around a cardboard door frame and a bowl of candy--or toothbrushes if you want a scary costume! When you go trick or treating, close your door as soon as someone opens theirs, and tell them to knock. When they do, open the door and exclaim over their 'adorable costumes', then dole out candy and pat their heads. You'll make their day!

No matter what costume you choose, there's one thing you should always keep in mind. Parents and siblings are expert candy-stealers, so nosh until you get a bellyache, and then hide the rest. No one likes a candy thief.

Happy Halloween!

If you have questions or ideas about this or any other Extra Ink, e-mail me at betsy@teenink.com.

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