Forget Thanksgiving — Halloween is October’s holiday of excess. Halloween is defined by a single impulse: bingeing — on sugar for children and alcohol for adults.
Looking back at my childhood, I have mixed feelings about Halloween. Walking around my suburban neighbourhood with my small group of friends in costumes and chanting tacky interpretations of the classic “trick-or-treat” is a time of innocence that is easy to look fondly upon.
What I am not so nostalgic about are the hundreds of grams of sugar that I would eat every day for the two weeks that followed, often past the point of getting sick.
The best parts of Halloween — the costumes, the parties and the friends — have all improved substantially since I became an adult. Sorry, moms, but seeing your friends’ creativity in designing costumes is just so much more impressive.
Additionally, no longer having to brave the elements to knock on doors drops the “must be able to fit my winter coat under this” constraint on your creative self-expression. Add a little substance abuse to the equation, and the potential for fun keeps rising.
Halloween as an adult is a drinking holiday and not really anything else. A couple of weeks ago, I overheard a conversation about it between a few people. They wanted to do something different this Halloween, rather than getting dressed up to stand around in someone’s living room and drink.
They found themselves coming up dry on other activities that people without children might do to celebrate the holiday. Is this a problem? Maybe.
If you’re throwing a party for Halloween this year, here are some party tricks to consider implementing.
Establish a mix station where people can measure the amount of alcohol they are consuming, and encourage them to do so. Most of my failed attempts at drinking can be traced back to the fatal error of a large mixed-to-taste highball.
Either don’t provide booze, or explicitly state that you will provide libation in advance so that folks know to pace themselves. Free drinks are fun, but they can radically alter the amount of alcohol someone consumes in an evening, turning a six-pack type of occasion into a disaster.
Plan to provide designated drivers. Halloween is a tough night to catch a taxi. Drinking holidays are fun, because everyone is drinking, but that also means that everyone is trying to take a cab. It’s a hard reality, but not everyone is going to plan themselves a safe ride home, and it is easy for a host to mitigate the problem.
I think everyone has a grasp on the risks presented by binge drinking, and most people are still willing to take that chance, but I don’t think everyone has a great conceptualization of how much the environment of an event has an impact on its outcome. Understand that — even though the occasion is a reason to get sloshed — you still have to be responsible.
Photo: J.C. Balicanta Narag / Photo Editor