Infants through two-year-olds: They're completely at the whim of their parents. Whether they like it or not, these kids get dressed up in whatever goofy or "cute" costume their parents choose. When I was two, my mother dressed me in a teddy bear costume she took from an actual teddy bear. I looked ridiculous. At that age, the only recourse was to cry or vomit. I did both.
Three through eight: Kids go trick-or-treating with their parents by this time. Children dress up, in costumes of their own choosing I suppose, and go door to door in the neighborhood filling various receptacles with candy. For kids, this is one of the top five days of the year along with Christmas, birthdays, the last day of the school year and the day the Swanson ice cream truck hits a pothole on your street and scatters about fifteen cartons of ice cream everywhere. OK, that only happened once, but it was probably the most exciting day of my life.
Nine through twelve: The youth of America start to go out with groups of friends and neighbors around this age. It's a pretty exciting day for these kids. Curfews run a bit later and the piles of candy grow. I used to fill a pillow case and eat chocolate until I got sick and nearly vomited. This is the golden age of Halloween.
Thirteen: This is the most puzzling and problematic age of them all-- the beginning of the teenage years. Many of the teens in this crop are too cool for costumes. When I was thirteen I began to prepare for Halloween about three weeks in advance; I would tag along with my father when he filled the gas tank and I bought a dozens of eggs at the mart in the gas station to stash with my arsenal of toilet paper and shaving cream. Needless to say, my neighbors did not enjoy Halloween as much as I did.
Fourteen through eighteen: Here we go again with costumes for those who took a year off. High school kids go to Halloween parties and maybe have a beer, or several, or whatever they can get their hands on. Many girls start to wear revealing costumes. The rest are overweight or feminists. A lot of the guys are still destructive if they're not handing out candy to the kids or getting drunk at parties.
Over eighteen through early twenties: More costume parties and ridiculous costumes. This is when guys and gals start breaking away from the traditional costumes and start getting creative. Some girls go truly revealing (lingerie) and wise guys opt for more offensive outfits (e.g., Duke lacrosse players circa 2006). Here's an idea: go to a Halloween party dressed as one of your friends and follow him or her around.
Mid to late twenties: Halloween parties continue and in some circles the costumes tone down a bit. In others they don't. Some couples chill out and rent a scary movie.
Thirties through fifties: Thirty year-olds probably wouldn't appreciate my grouping them together with the middle-aged folks but for purposes of Halloween it works. This group attends parties, hands out candy or ignores the holiday altogether. Notably, this is about the time that couples attend parties in his and her costumes: Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. You don't have to be a couple to be offensive, though. Here's one: get some silver hair spray, dress like Steve Phillips and hang around the least attractive girl at the party. Or go as Brett Favre and stand at the door all night deciding if you want to go in, or just wear a white coat and a stethoscope and tell people that you're Michael Jackson's personal doctor. The possibilities are endless.
Sixty plus: Frankly, I don't know what senior citizens do on Halloween. I guess they hand out candy or enter their cats into pet costume contests. Sounds about right.
So that's my take on Halloween. And in the spirit of the ever-changing holiday, here are quick hits on the NFL, fantasy football and miscellany:
Ghost: Larry Johnson has been exiled from Kansas City while the team's attorneys are busy scouring his contract to find a way out of some guaranteed money. Who would have thought--even last year--that a player would get suspended for making gay slurs on a social media platform? Crazy. For the LJ fantasy owners out there that had a difficult time pulling him from the lineup...it's time.
Vampires: I need someone to explain to me why vampires are so popular now. My girlfriend ordered HBO solely to watch True Blood and she's read the entire Twilight series, another vampire-themed story (they're films now too). From the 15 minutes or so I caught from the show, and the last page of each Twilight book, I've gathered this much: when vampires get aroused their fangs come out; vampires are social outcasts; and there's a guy named Edward in the Twilight books who has all sorts of superhuman qualities that would probably make him a good football player. Check this out, from Wikipedia, the factual authority on everything: "Edward, like all vampires in the Twilight series, possesses superhuman strength, speed, endurance, and agility, and is described as being inhumanly beautiful." Sounds like a first-round pick to me.
Bones: As if it wasn't bad enough in Washington, one of the Redskins most talented and likable players, Chris Cooley, broke his ankle in Monday's game against the Eagles. The Redskins have gone from a punch line to downright sad. It's not even funny to make fun of them anymore.
Scary: JaMarcus Russell's passer rating-- 47.2. Possibly worse: his attitude. After last week's drubbing by the Jets, Russell said: "I don't think it's me personally, I really don't. It's a bad combination of one guy doesn't do something right one time. Personally, I don't think so." No one is asking him to be a martyr, but he has to accept some blame for that loss, even if he doesn't mean it. He's got one foot on the Ryan Leaf Express... out of the NFL.
Scarier: Derek Anderson's passer rating-- actually worse than Russell's at 40.6. He's completed 43.8 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and seven interceptions. Someone please explain to me why Brady Quinn is not getting another chance. Anyone? I understand that Mangini doesn't want to start a QB carousel, but seriously, it can't get any worse than Anderson this season. Oh yeah, Cleveland doesn't want Quinn to reach incentives in his contract.
Cats: How about that Wildcat offense? It seems like the fad is waning. Either a team has the personnel to run it effectively, or it doesn't. Miami does. Philadelphia apparently does not. Maybe they should run the wild-dog. Sorry, I had to.
Surprise: The Broncos at 6-0, obviously, but how about Alex Smith? I didn't think Smith would start another game in a Niners uniform, but he found a way back after a string of bad performances by teammate Shaun Hill. Smith might even be a viable fantasy option. Just look at his line from the second half of last week's game against Houston: 15-22 passing for 206 yards and three touchdowns, and one interception. Vernon Davis caught all three of those touchdowns and Michael Crabtree may have his head screwed on after filtering out the bad advice from his eclectic group of "advisers", which includes MC Hammer and Deion Sanders (seriously). I think Crabtee just wanted to play football all along but got set back by his peers' greed and/or egos.
Trick: This is hysterical. I'd like to meet the coach that had the guts to call that.
Treat: This Sunday the Giants and Eagles will face off at 1:00 p.m. at the Link, and the Yankees and Phillies will play game four of the World Series at 8:20 p.m. I predict that two teams will win and a lot of "sick days" on Monday.
Scariest: Right here. Terrifying. That freak used to give me nightmares as a toddler. What's scarier than a knife-wielding doll that comes to life and terrorizes people? Nothing. The answer is nothing.
Check back in here every Friday around lunchtime where Brett Smiley will fill you in on everything in the world of sports and fantasy sports from the bizarre to the practical to the relatively unimportant.