Kathleen O'Brien
Kathleen O'Brien


Halloween, Holidays, Jaunty Post, Kathleen O'Brien


Happy Almost Halloween, everybody!

I grew up in a neighborhood that didn’t have a lot of children, and our family never made much fuss about Halloween.  We didn’t get trick-or-treaters, and unless we went out to get candy with our friends in their more family-friendly neighborhoods, we didn’t do much of that, either.

In spite of that–or maybe because of it?–when I got married and had kids I discovered I adored Halloween.  We decorate the house, buy buckets of candy, create cool costumes, read scary books and watch creepy movies.

And since I’ve become a big fan, here are some of my Personal Best and Worst awards:


Best Candy: Fun-sized Almond Joys.  I can’t help it.  I’m a coconut nut.

Worst Candy: Jolly Rancher.  Probably you’re not supposed to try to chew them, but I always do, and wow.  You could lose your fillings with this stuff.


Best Scary Movie:  The Ring.  It isn’t the creepy kid in the corner that got me in this film.  It was the weird black and white photographs.  Why?  I have no idea.  That’s probably what makes it so scary.

Worst Scary Movie: Saw, any version.  I really, really hated these movies.  To me, more sadistic than scary.

Baby boy outdoors in pumpkin costume with real pumpkins

Best Costume: I can’t chose one of my own, because I literally can’t remember a single costume from my childhood.  So I’ll pick one I made for Girlchild the year she was 12, and fell in love with Shakespeare.  We made a Juliet costume, a red velvet Elizabethan gown complete with fabulous pearl and gold braiding….and a to-die-for Juliet cap. (No pun intended.)  I don’t have any photos of it, though I do have a video, thank goodness. 🙂

Worst Costume:  I have to admit I get tired of the Frozen costumes, even though it makes me sound like a Halloween Scrooge.  I’ve seen soooo many already, and expect this year to be a repeat.

Hands of mummy holding horizontal scroll on dark background. Space for text.

Best Decoration: We had an awesome flying witch who screamed and lit up with red glowing eyes whenever a trick-or-treater walked by. We had to take it down, though, because it scared the little ones to the point of tears.  But boy was she scary!

Worst Decoration: We once bought a spider that was supposed to scurry up and down a wire, making a horrible noise, every time a kid came to the door.  It NEVER worked right, and was guaranteed to do its thing only when I was home alone, and there was no one, seriously, no one, at the door.  He lives in the local landfill now. 🙂


How about you?  Pick any one of these categories, and tell me your personal best and worst!  I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon gift certificate to one randomly chosen poster.

And I’m so sorry that I forgot to pick a winner of the last blog!  I’ll announce both winners this coming Sunday, officially, but in case you’re reading this, Suzanne W, you’re the winner of the Dear Author blog!  Email me privately at KOBrien@aol.com, and I’ll get your prize out to you asap!




28 thoughts on “Halloween Bests and Worsts

  1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    To my daughter’s dismay, I don’t do a lot of decorating for Halloween. I put out a few pumpkins and a wreath. Around here, people have lights and graveyards on their front lawn.

    1. I’m always so envious of the people with graveyards! I wonder what that says about me? LOL

  2. Karlotta says:

    Do not have many Halloween traditions, but I like to carve out a pumpkin & make a pumpkinpie with it. It has lots of muscovado sugar in it. So not the healthier option but…. my pie taste to die for 😉

    1. Oh, Karlotta, YUMMY! I do so love pumpkin flavors. I’ll bet your fresh pumpkin pie is fantastic!

  3. Dawn A says:

    Best Candy: Nerds and Bottle Caps are tied
    Worst Candy: Bit O’ Honey

    Best Scary Movie: The Shining is the only movie that ever terrified me.
    Worst Scary Movie: I agree with you, any of the Saw movies fit this category.

    Best Costume: Several years ago I went to a party as Cleopatra. I looked pretty great, if I do say so myself. 🙂
    Worst Costume: Any of the ‘adult version’ of costumes. Why would anyone want to be a slutty anything?

    Best Decoration: My friends husband does a really good haunted house in their garage. I’m going to say my favorite decoration is anything he does.
    Worst Decoration: I don’t like it when people fill their yard with those blow-up decorations. One or two are fine, but 6 or 7 is too much!

    1. Dawn, can you loan your husband out for Halloween decorating, please? I had to laugh when I read your candy choices. When I was a kid, I liked Bit o Honey, and today I shudder whenever I think back on that!

  4. We eat pumpkinsoup, I loved dressing up as a child but was never anything scary. The worst decoration was a floralpiece I got at the shop & which fell apart minutes after I brought it home. Tried to glue it together but everybody hated it. Favorite candy? Anything chocolate or caramel.

    1. Ooh, I’ve never had pumpkin soup! I love the autumn squash soup Panera has these days, but now I’m dying for some pumpkin soup. 🙂

  5. Charlotte says:

    I don’t watch scary movies as I scare easily and want to avoid nightmares. I only make a line of fall leaves to decorate for Halloween. It’s not so big here and last year not a single child came at the door. What I do like to do is bake an applepie and have it for desert with cinnamon tea. Under the motto of celebrate while you can. Never know what next year will bring so… Enjoy yourself and enjoy Halloween even if, like me, you don’t like scary things.

    1. I love your life philosophy, Charlotte! There can never be too much celebration. 🙂 And the apple pie with cinnamon tea sounds like the perfect gentle fall treat.

  6. Amy says:

    I do have a few decorations out, but nothing scary. I don’t lean that way in decorating or movie-watching. We haven’t had trick-or-treaters in years. Our dog scares anyone away. My best costume memory is when I made my toddler into Alvin the Chipmunk. He loved Alvin and the costume had to be as close to “real” clothes as possible, or it was going to be a no-go.

    1. I bet your son looked adorable as Alvin! And isn’t it funny how absolute and inflexible they can be about details like that? I remember that so well! 🙂

  7. Kirsten says:

    My favorite halloween costume was the ghost. A white cape en facepaint my mom helped me with. Super simple and cheap, but I loved it 😀 You don’t need much to be happy on Halloween as a kid. Seems like yesterday thinking back on it.

    1. That’s so true, Kirsten! When we’re kids, our imaginations can provide so much extra flair! Although, sometimes, kids can get stuck on some detail and can’t move on unless that’s perfect…like Amy’s son who wanted to have the perfect Alvin clothes. I guess that’s what makes kids so much fun–we never can be sure what their outlook will be!

  8. LSUReader says:

    I’ll mention a Best Costume, since I’m feeling pretty nostalgic about it. When my grown son was 4 years old, he won a church costume contest wearing a lion costume–cute mane and tail, painted face, etc. This year, his animal-loving 4-year old son was in need of a costume, so I dug out the lion. He loves it and it fits perfectly. I’ve bought the face paint already, for our own version of The Lion King, part II. Happy Halloween.

    Thanks for being a JQ. Will miss y’all

    1. How wonderful that you’d kept that costume! Love, love the sense of family tradition it must have brought to the occasion. It sounds like an absolutely terrific costume, although it would have been terrific no matter what, just because of its history. <3

  9. Julie-ann Ford says:

    Best candy – Rolos, Malted Milk Balls
    Worst candy – Candy Corn (sorry, I never liked it)

    Best Costume – I dressed as a man and my bestfriend (who was a guy) dressed as a sexy woman. He looked awesome.
    Worst Costume – those store bought ones with the plastic mask that you couldn’t see out of or breath

    1. Julie-ann, I couldn’t agree with you more about candy corn! It is just waxy sugar, as far as I’m concerned. And double YES about the awful plastic masks that cover your nose and mouth too much. I remember those so well…so I guess somewhere along the way I must have had one. For someone with claustrophobia, like me, it is horrible!

  10. bn100 says:

    not a fan of scary movies

    1. I have a small sweet spot, bn100! I’m not really a fan of being super scared, either, but I do like just the right amount of tingle. 🙂

  11. Eileen A-W says:

    My kids loved getting dressed up for Halloween. I have a Halloween story for you. It was 1991 and I had just finished my first trimester with surpise baby #4. As the time came for the kids to go trick or treating it was starting to snow. We did a quick walk on our block and came inside. My oldest decided to try to go further with one of the neighbors and her dad. Their dad was working the evening shift (6-10ish) at the UPS at the airport. He didn’t come home when I expected him, working late because of the snow. He finally came home ~4am but our car was stuck down the street. He needed my help to move it closer to our house. I drove, he pushed. I think we got over two feet of snow from the storm and a snow day from school.

    My kids’ favorite costume was having me sew capes for them to wear over their coats. It worked well during our Minnesota Halloweens when it snowed or was cold.

    1. Wow, Eileen, sounds as if Halloween can be a real challenge in your area! As a Floridian, I’m in awe of your courage in going out at all! I’d probably hibernate till spring, and to heck with Halloween! 🙂

  12. catslady5@aol.com says:

    Since my children were small we had a pumpkin carving party. Lots of fun with friends and family from small children to my mom at 94. Some of the pumpkins are simple but my daughter and her boyfriend are artists and their pumpkins are fantastic – I usually come in third which isn’t too bad considering.

    1. That sounds like so much fun, Catslady! And hurray for holding your own among such stiff competition! My daughter-in-law is very artistic and always puts the rest of us to shame, but we also enjoy seeing what she’ll create at family craft parties. We’ve never done a pumpkin-carving party, but it sounds like great fun! (If maybe a bit messy? LOL)

  13. Michelle F. says:

    Mounds is my favorite candy now. I saw The Ring a while back and it left me thinking that I wouldn’t want to see it again. Too creepy and weird.

    Favorite scary movies: Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror (I like the originals best, but I’ve also seen the remakes).

    Worst scary movies: Anything really gory, especially if people get chopped up. I remember one called Waxwork (from the ’80’s) and someone was chopping off body parts off a guy.

  14. Barbara Elness says:

    My favorite Halloween candy is Abba Zaba’s. I love those peanut butter filled taffy candies, I can’t resist them. I don’t like scary movies, so I don’t have a favorite, but the scariest I’ve ever seen was Alien. That thing freaked me out.

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Alien scared me, too, Barbara! I don’t know what Abba Zaba’s are, but you have definitely intrigued me, and I’m planning to check them out asap!

  15. We’ve been known to have a kid leave crying with fear… always a proud moment! Best candy: Snickers!!!

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