Halloween 2020

Joyce decided to do Halloween different this year. After that amazing haunted house she made for me two years ago, and after it just being the two of us last year, she decided to make it into a little party…with costumes, games…plus masks and social distancing…and only three guests: me, Keaton and Mrs. LaSalle, who attended via Zoom and drank absinthe the whole time. (Me and Keaton had more than just a couple beers each – we drove over together and Keaton ubered home – and Joyce had a couple of those Mexican Cokes she likes so much.

Whenever I have to come in costume anywhere (like the party I met Monica at three years ago), I come as a baseball player. Joyce said I couldn’t wear my Crawdads jersey, so I compromised and came wearing my Corey Seager one and a Dodgers hat with baseball pants…but no spikes. If anybody deserved to be dressed up as for Halloween this year, it’s Corey Seager.

Mrs. LaSalle dressed up as a witch, although she told us she only had on the top half of a costume. (She got up as a joke and showed us she was in a bathrobe from the waist down. We all got a good laugh out of that.)

Keaton’s exactly the kind of guy you’d think would hate getting dressed up for Halloween, but to my surprise he actually got into it…and came as an ER doctor in full protective gear. I’m not sure where he got it all…but y’all probably know by now that Keaton’s the kind of dude who knows where to get things lol.

And what about Joyce? She blew our costumes out of the water by coming as…the coronavirus. She made a flowing dress out of a shimmery fabric and – this was the awesome part – made herself a…it’s more than a hat…that looked just like the pictures of the virus they’re always showing on the TV. I’ve known people who are crafty (Melanie Kate is awesome with a glue gun), but Joyce is original as well as crafty. The unanimous vote was that Joyce won the costume prize.

If Joyce’s costume was original, so was the color scheme this year Instead of orange and black she decided on black and white. When we got to the house, she’d already lined the walk through the front yard in pumpkins she’d painted black with white stems and white with black stems. It looked super cool, but, then, I’ve yet to see Joyce decorate for a holiday and have it not look super cool.

She got some black lights for inside the house, so, when she had them on, the white pumpkins looked decidedly eerie. I don’t know how she got a pumpkin as big as she did (or how she lifted the thing), but there was a life-size Jack Skellington head on top of a body she’d dressed in clothes she told us she got from the Goodwill and painted with black light paint. She had that fixed up in the dining room, complete with the smoke machine she used when she made the haunted house and more black light. The thing looked dang creepy. Keaton was especially pleased with that: he says that Nightmare Before Christmas is his favorite holiday movie…and that you can’t really appreciate it until you’ve seen it in Dutch lol.

So we could keep up social distancing and generally be good about COVID like they tell us on the news we should be…and since it was still warm enough to do it…we ate outside. I was surprised that Joyce made shish kebab – she said Mrs. Bedrossian on the show gave her the idea lol – the Persian way, which she had explained to her by one of her coworkers. The lamb kebabs were served with a lot of rice that you mixed up with an egg yolk and some red powder that’s apparently sumac…but not the kind of poison sumac they warn you about in boy scouts lol. It was actually pretty great, and Joyce said she was glad to have had the chance to use the shish kebab set she got with her grill lol.

Next up was pumpkin carving…at which I totally suck. We took three of Joyce’s black pumpkins and, well, I was kinda ok at cutting out triangles for eyes and kinda a smile for the mouth. (Keaton: “only bubba would make a smiling pumpkin in 2020.”) Joyce and Keaton got all ambitious trying to cut out teeth and stuff. Joyce’s turned out awesome, of course, but Keaton kinda fucked his up. At first he got pissed off at himself, but then we all had a laugh and that was good.

Mrs. LaSalle (she took a break from us when we were having dinner) was in on the pumpkin carving too, and she did something pretty terrific with a frowning face and a nose as well as eyes. We all agreed Joyce’s was the best and that Mrs. LaSalle came in second. I’ll admit that even Keaton’s looked good when got candles inside them. And black jack o’lanterns are a pretty cool twist on the usual orange ones.

Then we played a pair of silly games. The first was bobbing for apples, which Joyce made sure was CDC guideline friendly by having a different pot of water for each of us. Keaton turned out to have a hidden talent for bobbing for apples lol and came in first. Joyce had a Target gift card as a prize for the winner. (Joyce: “you can always find something to buy at Target.”)

Then we played a game that Joyce said they play in one of those mystery novels she likes where the murder happens at a Halloween party. It’s pretty dang weird but we got a lot of laughs out of it. It’s called snapdragon. You start with a dish of brandy and some raisins and you light the brandy so it’s flaming. Then you put the lights out in the room – we had just the light from the jack o’lanterns – and you grab for the flaming raisins and put them in your mouth. When you close your mouth the flames go out, don’t worry. It’s a little like those fire eaters you see, only on a way smaller scale. Joyce had never tried it before and we were all a little scared of picking up something that was on fire, but we eventually got the hang of it…and you do look a little like a dragon as you put the flaming raisins in your mouth. Like I said, it was pretty weirdass, but pretty hilarious too.

Finally hot fudges sundaes (Joyce said she looked for orange ice cream but couldn’t find anything at the three stores she went to)…and a scary movie. It had to be a classic of course, since this was Joyce’s party, so we all watched the 1930’s black and white Dracula. It was a little funny to hear the dude playing Dracula try to pronounce his lines (Joyce said that, when he did the play on Broadway before making the movie he had to learn his lines phonetically because he didn’t speak English), but the movie’s actually pretty creepy. Mrs. LaSalle was watching it too…and she and Joyce both told me that I was better looking than David Manners, who plays the hero. I know Joyce gives me compliments like that all the time, but this was the first one since I became Baseball Boy. After that, I don’t know who – or what – I look like anymore.

Then Keaton called an uber, Mrs. LaSalle said good night, and me and Joyce were left alone. I helped her clean up and we went to bed and watched something silly on TCM called I Walked with a Zombie. It wasn’t really scary, so I didn’t have to put my arm around my girlfriend to protect her from the movie, but I did anyway…which is a good thing to do with your girlfriend on Halloween lol.

So even with COVID we got to have Halloween, which was cool. Joyce even sent each of us home with a bag of candy…I had to drop Mrs. LaSalle’s off on Sunday morning. (Mrs. LaSalle through the intercom when I told her what I was delivering: “I used to love frozen Milky Ways…but my teeth can’t handle them anymore…so eat them while you’re young, Hunter.”) We all had a good time…and we all learned a new game. Y’all just be careful when you play snapdragon at home lol.

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