Some of us never need to be persuaded to go out on Halloween night. For us, Halloween is the perfect holiday — it's like New Year's Eve, a birthday party, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, and that orgy from Eyes Wide Shut all wrapped up in one. We Halloween true believers will keep going out on Halloween until we're 80 and break a hip running around in a "firefighter" costume that's just some heels and a sarong made out of flame-resistant Lycra. Some of our friends, however, need a little convincing before they'll go out on Halloween.
I know, I know, I'm shocked, too. But for some of your friends, the big night is less Great Pumpkin, and more Oh Great, I Just Got Puked On. These spooky party abstainers would like nothing better tonight than to change into some sweatpants at 6 p.m., like to celebrate by watching the Halloween episode of Felicity on Netflix, and going to bed at a reasonable hour. These friends present logistical issues on any Halloween, but especially on a year like this, when Halloween falls on a weekend, their madness must be stopped at any cost!
Here are five reasons your friends might have for not wanting to go out, and the best ways to work a little persuasive black magic on them that'll get 'em out of the house and busting their best "Thriller" moves in no time at all.
1. "I didn't get a costume"
Your friend dillied, she dallied, and now the only costumes left at the store are "sexy notary public" and "a Pokemon character that, let's get real here, looks like a scrotum." She'd rather spend the night in than suffer the indignity of trying to chat up attractive strangers while dressed as "Ballsachu."
Solution: "I actually have a super easy group costume idea that we can pull together now!"
Scan a list of group Halloween costumes for something easy to throw together, and agree to wear that and kick your extremely expensive Maleficent costume to the curb if she'll come out (yes, guilt isn't just for the traditional December family holidays — it's good all year round!). Also, not telling you what to do, but if you have a bandana, a denim shirt, and hot rollers, you guys could pull together a Rosie the Riveter look in about fifteen minutes.
2. "I won't wear a costume"
Who knows what this friend's problem is —maybe her parents accidentally forgot her for a few hours in a Party City as a child and she never got over it. For whatever reason, this friend takes a hard stance against wearing a Halloween costume, and she's using this stance to protest taking part in your planned Halloween activities.
Solution: "That's fine. I'm sure there will be tons of people there without costumes"
Not having a costume is no deterrent on adult Halloween. This isn't some kind of trick-or-treat situation, where a cruel grown-up can punish you because they think your t-shirt with the word "ghost" written on it is not worth a mini-Snickers. This is a Halloween party, where everyone just wants to listen to that "Somebody's Watching Me" song and watch a drunk vampire grind on a thoroughly wasted Rubik's Cube on the dance floor. We're the adults now and we make the rules, which actually makes adult Halloween the ideal setting for anyone who had crappy childhood Halloweens. Take the power back! Also, everyone at the party will just assume that she's wearing a really obscure hipster Halloween costume, anyway.
3. "I hate all the drunk people"
This one is pretty easy to empathize with, even if you generally are one of the drunk people in question. While the great thing about Halloween is that it's like New Year's Eve with zombie costumes, the terrible thing about Halloween is that it's also like New Year's Eve with zombie costumes. Sometimes, the prospect of entering a bar that looks and feels like a deleted scene from World War Z is enough to keep even your most horror-loving friends in on All Hallow's Eve.
Solution: "We don't have to go to a bar"
Contrary to popular belief, adult Halloween isn't just about slamming candy corn-flavored Jell-o shooters til you barf in your "Scream" mask. Your area is probably chock full of Halloween night activities for adults who don't like the bar scene, like horror movie marathons, ghost-centric historical walking tours, and haunted hayrides. You can enjoy all of these things while stone-cold sober, and get your friend back in touch with the things she dug about Halloween as a kid. Then, once you've loosened her up, you can ask about the bar thing again (kidding!)(kind of).
4. "There's way too much scary stuff out there tonight"
If you're someone with a low fear tolerance — i.e. someone who saw Final Destination and then just kind of curled into a ball for the next six days, afraid to take a shower or look at your toaster — adult Halloween can be tricky. Folks assume that any adult out on Halloween is, at the very least, desensitized to the sight of a disembowled rubber corpse — making the Halloween night party and club scene an absolute mine field for those made queasy at the sight of any blood (even the fake kind you buy in a tube at Rite-Aid).
Solution: "We can go do something that is not even slightly frightening"
Your friend isn't the only one who would prefer to not spend tonight staring at a bunch of people with fake neck wounds. Instead of going to parties or club nights with words like "Scare," "Fright," or "Dangling Eyeball" in the name, you could hit an upscale cocktail lounge that's doing a classier Halloween celebration. Lots of bars that cater to a mixology-oriented crowd do Halloween, too; they just usually do it with something subdued, like a 1920's theme party or tarot card readers, instead of chainsaws and hockey masks. Burlesque shows are a good bet for non-frightening Halloween revelry, too, and there's always, always, always a showing of the thoroughly delightful and completely un-scary The Rocky Horror Picture Show happening somewhere on Halloween night.
5. "Everything about Halloween is just so unhealthy"
It's true — Halloween is a tribute to unhealthiness in all its many forms, a holiday based on a strong foundation of candy, booze, staying up way too late, and wearing some highly-flammable capes. It's basically a contest to find out how many unhealthy things you can fit into a single night (and I'm not even counting the emotional unhealthiness of hooking up with a coworker just because he has a really dashing Han Solo costume on).
Solution: "I'm willing to take it easy if you come out with me"
If you want your most all-natural, organic, and GMO-free friend to come out with you (yikes, why are you friends again?), your best bet is to limit your own imbibing (of both boozeahol and those Twix that are shaped like pumpkins) so that she doesn't feel like she's the only one not playing beer pong. You can also plan to call it an early night, and maybe even throw in the promise of an early morning run or exercise class the next day to show that you're committed to a healthy-ish Halloween.
Sadly, all that may not even be enough. Some folks just can't be convinced.
And in those cases, there's nothing to do but bid them adieu, climb back on your broom, and fly off to join some other folks who know how to celebrate this most enchanting of holidays. Get your jollies in tonight, people — after this, it's just two straight months of hanging out with your extended family.