We're now two weeks away from the greatest night of the year, and, not to get uppity, but we implore you not to half-ass your Halloween celebration.
We know, the date snuck up on you yet again, but we've also suffered enough bad Halloween shindigs to know that if you're just now starting to plan your party, it's already too late.
However, if you insist on powering through, then please give Samhain his due and consult our list of fall faux pas before you embarrass yourself and ruin All Hallows Eve for everyone.
Strike 1: You're decorating with Fun-kins
These artificial pumpkins promise all the fun of Halloween without the mess. Listen, we know that you'll lose your security deposit if you get one more stain on the apartment's carpet, but have some respect for tradition.
Legend has it that the jack o' lantern was originally a hollowed-out turnip lit by a coal from the Devil himself and given to a sinner damned to wander the darkness for eternity. Every year, in preparation for our own night of gluttony, debauchery and carousing, we pay tribute to the tormented Jack (he of the lantern) by plunging our fists into a stinking, stringy gourd. It's both our penance for all the sin we're about to embark on and also a great source of pumpkin seeds for early November snacking.
If you can't be bothered to make this simple sacrifice to the party god, your little soiree is as good as cursed.
Strike 2: Your DJ is a Drew's Famous CD
You're standing in line at the party store, waiting to fork over your cash on an armload of lame decorations (a happy skeleton in a top hat? Really?) when the king of all impulse buys beckons you. The Ultimate Halloween Party Soundtrack - as done by mediocre cover bands.
For years, every spooky movie score has been given the Drew's Famous treatment, reducing the ominous atmospheric dread of The Exorcist's Tubular Bells to a version you might hear Aunt Eunice play on her omnichord. Heed our advice here and avoid this at all costs. The only thing worse than the Purple People Eater song is a badly engineered, karaoke rendition of it.
Strike 3: You've Got the World Series on TV
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It's horrible timing, but every year, some titan of athleticism will take his team all the way right in the middle of Halloween week. We get it, baseball is popular, but if your TV is tuned to anything other than a classic horror flick, you might as well quit, turn on the lights and head to Applebee's. Clearly, you're not cut-out for this kind of party.
Strike 4: Too Many Dudes and Not Enough Chocolate