Happy Halloween! If you're tasked with passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, you know what you have to look forward to tonight: An awkward few hours of getting up from the couch every 3 minutes or so. Because really, what do you do to occupy yourself? We've come up with 10 ways to keep busy. These are all in good fun and should be taken with a grain of salt...or maybe a grain of sugar? It is Halloween, after all. This is a night to enjoy cute costumes, eat some candy, and be pleasantly surprised that most kids are very cognizant of saying "please" and "thank you."
10 (Maybe Not So) Productive Things to Do Between Trick-or-Treaters
1. Host a Secret Costume Contest
Nothing quite like judging the neighborhood childrens' costume choices to keep things interesting. If you're passing out candy solo this year, keep a running list in your head of best and worst costumes, for no real benefit other than your own entertainment. If you've roped a friend or family member into helping out, play a low-stakes betting game: Each person announces at the beginning of the night which costume they think will make the most appearances, then keep score. Whoever tallies up the highest number of outfit repeaters wins a prize, whether that's one dollar or a few pieces of "good candy" that was set aside earlier in the evening.
2. "Watch" that Popular New Show
You'll be getting up from the TV every few minutes anyway, so put on that show everyone's been talking about at the office. Keep it playing in the background while you go to the front door. It's okay if you don't remember any of the key plot points, just pay enough attention to form a lukewarm opinion on the main character. The next morning at work, you can say you finally got around to watching it, but you don't think it's the show for you. No harm, no foul.
3. "Organize" your Pantry
You're home on a weekday night anyway, might as well be productive! Start by taking everything off of the shelves, then organize the items by type. Group together 3 soup cans, then get up to answer the door. Sit back down and continue grouping. Wonder why you own 6 cream of mushroom soups. Get up. Sit down. Accidentally kick over a box of pasta. Groan, then get up. Sit back down, then immediately pop up as the doorbell rings ONCE AGAIN. Offer the neighborhood kids a bag of stale breadcrumbs, because that's what you happen to have in your hand at the moment. They don't seem interested. Repeat until the night ends with all your food on the kitchen floor and no desire to organize it. Put it back on the shelves with reckless abandon, vowing to really give it a good clean out before Thanksgiving.
4. Almost Lose Your Dog
This one's for all you dog owners. To our dogs, Halloween is the definition of "too much of a good thing." Dogs love doorbells and guests, but every few minutes? Exhausting. Your pooch is eventually going to go ballistic. Enjoy your evening almost losing Fido 50 times, and grin and bear it when little kids recoil in fear from your furry best friend.
Drag the ol' Dyson out of your hall closet and plug 'er in. It's time to do everyone's least favorite chore. Why tonight? Because vacuuming drowns out the sound of your doorbell, duh. What? Not your fault if you couldn't hear; you were cleaning! Guess you're just going to have to settle for a lot of leftover candy. Bummer.
6. Return that Call
I'm not sure who you haven't called back yet, but I know it's someone. Your insurance agent, your old friend from college, your mom...no judgment! It's safe to say we're all guilty of taking our sweet time returning calls. Use this time to make good on your promise to "reconnect soon!" Odds are the person you're calling back is also passing out candy--and therefore can't come to the phone--or you'll be getting into the thick of the conversation just as the doorbell rings. Well, ball is in their court now.
7. Come Up With an Innocent Scare
I have a vivid memory of trick-or-treating as a little kid. One of my neighbors dressed up as a scarecrow and sat completely still with a bowl of candy on his lap, convincing me and my friends that he was just a prop. As we reached for a generous handful of Reese's cups, he sprang to life and scared us half to death. I have fond memories of innocent little spooks and pranks from Halloweens past, and thinking about it now, I'm sure it was fun for the grown-ups, too. If you're bored, mix it up with this tactic. After all, Halloween is supposed to be a little bit scary.
8. Get a Workout In
Make the most of those minutes in-between doorbell rings. Strap on your Fitbit and speed-walk laps around your house, do a wall sit, or do step-ups at the bottom of your staircase. Might as well break a little sweat, then reward yourself with a fun size Snickers bar. Or three. I mean, c'mon, 2 bites of candy is not "fun!"
9. Get Severe FOMO
One of your friends is bound to have better plans than you do tonight, so check in and see how much fun they're having. Social media makes it easy to wistfully sigh as you see pictures of everyone you know having fun without you. Take a look at your hip young coworker's Instagram post and remind yourself you don't actually have any desire to leave the house, but the grass is always greener...
After the twentieth doorbell ring, throw in the towel. Quickly scribble "TAKE TWO!" on a piece of printer paper and prop it up with your candy bowl on your front stoop. Turn the front lights off and enjoy "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" in peace. Inevitably, one kid will use this opportunity to take the entire bowl's contents, but hey, that's not your problem.