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We had 704 trick-or-treaters at our house this year. We live in the part of town where people drop off their kids by the carload to trick-or-treat in the historic downtown neighborhood. Our house isn’t even in the center of the activity. Those houses get over 1000 candy hunters each year. It’s one of those traditions that, even with all the changes in our world over the years, make me feel like I could be back in the 1980s running around the neighborhood in costumes with friends trying to get as much candy as possible. I’m glad that, in some places, those kinds of traditions don’t change.

My husband and I have been married for almost 13 years and together for longer than that. On our first Halloween together, we decided to dress up as Elvis and a Vegas showgirl for a night out on the town. The following year, we continued with our couple’s costume routine and dressed up for school (we’re both middle school teachers and teach in the same building) as Gilligan and Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island.

That was how our costume tradition started, and as time went on, it was not a question about whether we would dress up or not. Our friends and family and students grew to expect it, and we had fun with it too. So, the question was only, What will we be? And, Can we try to top last year’s costumes?

These have been our costumes so far:

2010 – Elvis and Vegas Showgirl

2011 – Gilligan and Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island

2012 – I think we didn’t dress up that year. We just stayed home and passed out candy and sent our daughter out trick-or-treating with friends.

2013 – Elvis, Ace of Hearts, and Queen of Hearts (This was a school costume when our daughter was in 6th grade and was in both of our classes.)

2014 – Schroeder and Lucy from Peanuts

2015 – Mary Poppins and Bert the Chimney Sweep from Mary Poppins

2016 – Popeye and Olive Oyl

2017 – Dolly Parton (my hero) and Willie Nelson

2018 – Sheldon and Amy from Big Bang Theory

2019 – Charles and Caroline Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie

2020 – Morticia, Gomez, and Pugsley from The Addams Family (Our dog Malibu even dressed up that year, and we still had over 400 trick-or-treaters during a pandemic.)

2021 – Another year that we did not dress up. Our principal decided there would be no costumes at school since student behavior had been so bad so far that year. We needed a year where students could just learn how to do school again after the pandemic. My husband also had a symphony concert on Halloween that year, so we just skipped the costumes in 2021.

2022 – The Grinch, Martha May Whovier, and Max from How the Grinch Stole Christmas

2023 – Charles and Lettie Conrad – They are the founding family of our town. My husband Hank and I are both tour guides at the Conrad Mansion in the summer, so we even got to make our Halloween costumes more authentic by taking some photos inside the Mansion.

It’s fun to look back on all our costumes over the years. It’s a little scrapbook of what was going on in our lives and the time on October 31st for the past 14 years. I must say that the real reason this tradition got started for us is because of my husband. He loves Halloween and the creativity in coming up with new costumes. He also still carves our pumpkin every single year even though we no longer have a child at the house. I’m lucky to have a partner in life who gets excited about these kinds of traditions. It makes life a little bit more memorable and a lot more fun.