October is a time of sacrifice and supplication for us. We sacrifice our fingertips to the pushpin gods and plead daily with the muses of dreadful décor just to entertainment you. Yes, Halloween for us means throwing our customary gigantic party and all the work that that entails. We put our lives on hold in order to deck out two floors of our house for this shindig. We start arranging prizes, ordering medals, and sewing costumes as early as August. It’s a massive job. What is wrong with us?
This year marked our thirteenth time attempting this task. In honor of that woeful anniversary let me share some startling party stats that might have you screaming in disbelief or not screaming in incomprehension. Since the collection of decorations we use for our party varies slightly each time these stats aren’t necessarily exactly representative of every year but they should give you an idea of the magnitude of our undertaking:
The normal number of attending guests? 35-70. This year we had 66; that’s close to a record.
The adult to child ratio at our party? The number of kids in attendance annually increases at a rate proportional to the proliferation of offspring but right now about 38% of our guests are children.
The number of Rubbermaid storage bins used to stow our decorations? 24. We also have quite a few cumbersomely-large items that just won’t fit in containers.
The average amount of time Jason and I spend on party preparations? This year in the week before our bash alone we spent roughly 35 hours apiece arranging cobwebs, designing creepy scenes, creating a custom playlist, optimizing lighting, and removing our normal furnishings. Since there are two of us that means that 70 man-hours of labor went into those finishing touches. Keep in mind that that’s about a third of the complete time we consumed getting ready for this thing. So if I had to guess I’d say that we’re looking at something in the ballpark of over 200 hours in total prep. That does not include the time it takes to clean up and take down everything so add on another 50 hours, which makes 250, and you’re probably close to our entire time investment. Would you put that much effort into a gathering that only lasts a few hours? I think not. That’s what makes me and Jason so special and so stupid.
The number of strings of lights hung? 73. Yes, just putting up the lights for our party takes an enormous amount of time.
The number of ravens? 39. Jason’s a sucker for the crows.
The number of rats? 11. That’s a tragically small number. Who called the Pied Piper?
The number of candlesticks? 39. Most of these are battery or outlet powered. Open flames, little kids, and Jeremy Rowley: that sounds like the makings of my own personal horror movie.
The number of pumpkins? 25. From the friendly to the sinister these are a Halloween necessity.
The number of skulls? 89. No, that is not a typo.
The number of tea lights? 28. Tea lights are essential to generating a spooky atmosphere while simultaneously creating focus on specific areas.
The number of eyeballs? 97. You were being watched.
The number of creepy cloths? 28, some of which are over 16 feet long. That amount does not include the yards and yards of cheesecloth we use every year. It would be too hard to tally up our cheesy bits because we use dozens of pieces in every room.
The number of bats? 38. You can’t create creep without suspending some rodents.
The number of camouflage nets? 14. Jason loves these. I think he would form a swamp in our basement too if I’d let him.
The number of spiders? 52. You can never have too many spiders.
The number of batteries used? 88. It literally takes us half an hour to turn everything on before our party and even then there are always a couple lights or devices that get forgotten.
The number of creative geniuses behind this affair? 2. Okay, so we may not be creative geniuses but forming a unique atmosphere every year is quite the originality challenge. We never display our eerie decor the same way twice and that makes arranging everything significantly harder. My brain hurts just thinking about it. Jason and I are either ambitious or ludicrous…probably both. We do make one fantastic duo though. We keep working at the spookifying together until it’s done. We don’t get ornery with each other and we don’t slack off. I couldn’t make it through this madness without Jason and he definitely couldn’t do it without me. We are the best team ever!
The festivities this year were another success. We had nearly a record number of attendees and a greater throng of kids than ever. My thanks to all of you that were part of that large mass of humanity. It’s rewarding to hear that so many of your children look forward to this event like they were waiting for Santa Clause.
And the costumes this time? Fantastic. I’m amazed at some of the things you people came up with. We had Totoro, Bloo, La Forge, and Bender present. The competition was pretty cutthroat so anyone that won should definitely take pride in their victory.
I’d like to shout out a big thank you to the kind individuals that aided in the maintenance of our sanity. Becca and Nicole assisted us during the party. Awesome! And Cameron, once again, came back after his kids were dropped off to help us sort out our kitchen disaster. Also awesome!
Owing partly to that help our event didn’t make us completely crazy but, days after the festivities, Jason and I are still totally exhausted. Yet we have a whole lot of take down and pack up left to do, which will probably take us weeks to finish. We survived another huge party production though and I’m pretty sure that some of you enjoyed yourselves at our shindig. So I’d say that at least a few of the ridiculous number of hours we spent on our gathering were justified. Two hundred and fifty though? Maybe not.