I went trick-or-treating. Yes, I am 59 years old. Yes, I thought it was appropriate.
Some friends and I went to Disney World to participate in Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This is an extra admission (of course, because why wouldn’t we pay another 75 bucks for the privilege of spending a few hours at a park to which we have already laid out hundreds of dollars to buy annual passes?) event that celebrates the holiday most people observe on October 31. Disney celebrates that holiday on numerous select evenings in the Fall… starting in August. In Florida
Let’s just be clear. There is nothing like a crisp autumn evening creeping into a spooky, chilly night when the sun goes down early and the harvest moon spreads an icy hand over the earth. And this was nothing like it. We went in mid-September. The sun didn’t go down until nigh on eight o’clock. “Crisp” doesn’t really exist in Central Florida. In September, the weather is more accurately described as “limp.” There is enough humidity in the air to drown a goldfish. Disney has to pipe pumpkin fragrance into the crowded streets because real pumpkins would rot on contact with the atmosphere.
When a friend called to ask if I wanted to go to the event, I hesitated. I’m not much of a night owl. I rarely go out after dark. My bedtime, forged by years of rising at zero dark yesterday for work, is ridiculously early. I don’t get up super early anymore, but I also don’t seem to go to bed any later than I did when I was working. I just don’t seem to have any endurance for more than twelve hours or so of activity each day. I also don’t like driving late at night. When my friend said she would drive, I decided my stick was stuck way too firmly in the mud for my own good and I agreed to go.
I’m kind of glad I did not look the event up on the internet until after I committed to attending. When I did look at the website, I noticed that the party went from 7:00pm until midnight. For a “not so scary Halloween party,” that seemed pretty scary to me. If I had known the witching hour for the party actually was midnight, I might not have gone.
I am a grown woman. It really shouldn’t be a problem to stay up past the end of prime time. Since I had committed to go, I tried to let the whole “I can’t stay up too late” thing go and just chillax. I didn’t quite succeed. About a week before, I broke down and texted my friends to see how late they intended to stay. I was relieved when they shared that they planned to stay until after the fireworks, which I figured would be over by about 10:30. That would mean getting home around midnight, which is still later than I’ve stayed out in years. However, somehow leaving at 10:30 seemed MUCH more doable than staying until midnight and I was able to manage my irrational anxiety about actually seeing the moon in the sky.
The evening of the party was…. SURPRISE… hot. And humid. I was wearing a black polyester t-shirt with orange witch-hat-wearing Mickey Mouse heads all over it. Given the weather, I fully expected that the pattern would infuse my skin and I would have Halloween Mickey Mouse heads more or less permanently tattooed on my body when I peeled the shirt off at the end of the night. The park was also pretty crowded. I thought that the idea of paying the extra event admission was, at least in part, to minimize crowds. I thought wrong. The other thing I noticed throughout the evening was that there were a lot of people in those crowds who weren’t behaving very nicely. I go to Disney fairly often, so it isn’t like I have no experience with theme park manners meltdowns. I have to say, though, that I have never heard so many impatient, rude remarks as I did that evening. I think a lot of people had been park-haunting in the heat all day before the party even began and desperately needed a nap, preferably one in an air-conditioned room.
The trick-or-treating portion of the evening was pretty fun. There were candy stations all over the park. I have heard tell of people collecting enough candy in a single evening to stock a small store. I’ve seen pictures on line showing serious hauls of five pounds of candy per trick-or-treater. My friends and I can go to Walmart and buy candy, so we were not that interested in schlepping around the sweet equivalent of a five-pound free weight the entire evening. We just visited the first candy station. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that our treat package of candy was…, CHOCOLATE! It was even more impressive that the chocolate remained formed into bars and had not melted into chocolate goo. I had figured that hard candy and jolly ranchers would be the order of the evening, as I just didn’t see chocolate holding up to the weather. Go figure. Must have been a little pixie dust magic!
The lines for rides and character meet-and-greets were not shorter than regular Disney waits. In fact, I’d say they were longer. We went on the Haunted Mansion because, well, we were celebrating Halloween… and there was some pretty cool entertainment outside in front of it. We also went on Pirates of the Caribbean, which was a fantastic surprise because Disney had changed some of the ride details and had incorporated some live pirates into the mix. We tried to watch the show and the parade and the fireworks and we saw a little bit of all three events. The crowds were so large, it wasn’t really possible to really see anything. I fancy it was a bit like being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. You aren’t going to really see anything more than a few inches away from you, but you still have an exciting, electrifying experience.
In fact, the entire evening was sort of like that. We had a really fun time, but not because of any particular entertainment. It wasn’t about the rides or the shows or any of the normal Disney daily delectables. The event is called “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” and the emphasis is on the party. There was music and people and energy. It isn’t so much an evening at the Magic Kingdom as it is a happening. The most fun was watching the people in costumes, getting carried away by the mood, and enjoying the fine art of play. And doing it all with friends.
So, thanks to my friends Babs and Kathy for pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the shadows for a not so scary evening!
Have a boo-tiful Halloween!
What do you have planned for Halloween? Is your celebration different now than in an earlier time in your life? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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