What Your Childhood Halloween Costumes Said About You

In celebration of Halloween, we’re pulling this one out of our archives. It’s all in good fun – your childhood costumes meant NOTHING – but it sure is fun to look back at the best afternoon party of the whole school year.


Your childhood never really leaves you. As we discussed in What Your School Portrait Backdrop Said About You, the choices that you – and your parents – made in your early years say a lot about who you were then, and who you were likely to become. This is never so true as with Halloween costumes. What you wore on October 31 really laid it all out there – your finances, interests, skills and beliefs.

The Super Deluxe Tier at Party City

This is either called Georgia Peach or Disgruntled Bridesmaid.

Remember when those Halloween costume mailers would start coming with the Sunday paper?  The company used vague category names so nobody’s feelings got hurt – but kids aren’t dumb. The “quality” costumes were for normals, and “super deluxe” costumes were for rich kids. Scarlett O’Hara, Southern Belle, Pretty Witch – these costumes were the best.

If you wore one of these, you probably came from a family with disposable income or were an only child. But there’s also a chance that your non-crafty parents felt bad they couldn’t make your costume, so they only bought you the best. Or maybe you were just really into Vivien Leigh. Either way, you probably knew that some of your friends were shopping in the Quality tier, but you didn’t let that stop you from going for what you really wanted. You had money, and you had ambition, and you were raised to believe that you deserve the good costume. None of those are bad things.

Elaborate Hand-Sewn Costumes

These costumes really meant you had it all — a high costume budget, a parent with advanced sewing skills, creativity somewhere in your family line, and a parent with enough time to devote to making it. In my day, big plush M & M costumes were in vogue. In fourth grade, one girl was a Queen of Hearts – she was not only dressed as a queen but her face was somehow embedded in a big playing card. One kid was Mini Me from Austin Powers, with a metallic jumpsuit and bald cap. If my awed tone 20 years later didn’t tip you off, these kids were pretty damn enviable. Money, imagination, and a quality family situation – these kids were on the road to success.

Low-Budget Costume You Made Yourself (usually with thrift store involvement)

Faces covered to protect the innocent. I’m the tiny apprehensive one.

As a person whose childhood costumes all came from Goodwill, household items and borrowed clothing, this is me. One thing that cobbled costume kids have in common is a sense of silliness and imagination. How about the year my whole family dressed as a six-pack of Diet Coke? Or in sixth grade, when I created an over-the-top Marge Simpson costume complete with a two-foot-tall hairpiece? My mom even got in on the action in a sort of Andy Kaufman-esque way. She was a teacher and would dress up as Mrs. O’Brien, an elderly ‘substitute’, every year. She had a voice, mannerisms, everything. A good subset of the kids could never figure out if it was really her. The kids who did know were sworn to secrecy for the next year.

It hasn’t stopped. A few years ago I dismembered a cheap baby doll to become Junice from SNL. The year before, I mined a Goodwill to become Clarissa Darling. A while ago, I took my nephew to Salvation Army, where we pieced together a curly-mustached villain from a 1920s silent film. We didn’t break character for hours. Cobbled costume kids: we may not have had the most money or skill in our corner, but we worked hard and weren’t afraid to look goofy.

Dollar Store Costumes

Not even Joanie loves Chachi enough to wear this mess.

Oh, you poor dears. You didn’t have a costume budget, you didn’t have time or inclination to make something, and nobody in your family could sew.  These were the costumes that had a cheap, hot mask was secured with one of those white elastic strings that you find on birthday hats, and it always broke. The worst part was the plastic smock that came with these. It was a tunic that was about the same consistency as a plastic grocery bag and – most offensive of all – it usually had the name of the character on it. Come ON. Spider-man doesn’t walk around wearing a shirt that says spider-man. Holly Hobby doesn’t wear a shirt that says Holly Hobby.  Dollar Store Costume Kids had some good qualities, though. They had to be content with what they had, and appreciate the joy that even a low-budget costume could bring.  I bet most of these kids are non-materialistic, well-adjusted adults now.

Half-Assed “Scary” Costumes

You all were playing lip service to the spooky part of Halloween. You know who you are – the boy with the cheap nylon vampire cape and a single streak of red lipstick as “blood.” The girl with the regular black dress and the witch’s hat. The zombie who was just wearing normal clothes with a latex mask. You don’t shun the crowd – you dressed up, after all – but you don’t get all swept up in it either. These days, you use your trusty Nokia and shake your head at the folks waiting for the new iPhone.  When your friends reminisce about stupid trends they followed, you laugh with them – but you are secure in your knowledge that nothing about you has been so over-the-top that you’re embarrassed later.

Legit Scary Costumes

Sometimes a kid would come in looking so creepy that even though you knew who it was, you were still skeeved out by them. These guys had the same creativity as the Goodwill costume kids, but with the budget of the Party City Deluxe Crowd or the skill of the Elaborate Hand-Sewn kids. But they had something else that set them apart — a sadistic joy in creeping out other people. These kids had to be innovative, but they also had to know how to read people in order to know what would sketch people out the most. They took an idea and really ran with it.

Superheroes Or Disney Princesses

You were maybe guilty of a little hero-worship, but you were drawn to charismatic characters and you emulated them. That’s not all bad, and can serve you well in your adult life.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Did you get your Batman costume from the Dollar Store? Did your parents buy the Super Deluxe Jasmine? Your childhood interest in popular characters is only part of the story – you have to look at what KIND of superhero or princess costume you had. It’s like when you’re born at the cusp of two Zodiac signs – you will have traits from both categories.

Occupation Costumes

well this is adorable.

These can be a tough sell with kids: it’s Halloween, not a Social Studies unit on community helpers, right? But kids who went in for these are probably the ones who had researched colleges by Sophomore year of high school, never changed their major, and update their five-year plan every six months. The closest I came to this was one (non-Halloween) day in fifth grade, when my friend and I decided to dress like teachers, with turtlenecks, thick tights, and embroidered vests. I get the appeal — when you’re not a grown-up yet, it’s fun to play at it. Plus, if you actually dressed up as something you became as an adult, that’s adorable.

 

A Fall-Themed Outfit Instead Of A Costume

Your parents were the reason the school had to change it from a Halloween Party to a “Harvest Celebration.” Your very presence – and the letter your parents sent the school board – reminded us that not everyone celebrates Halloween.  If you were a kid whose parents didn’t believe in Halloween, but you wanted to dress up and trick-or-treat really badly, you probably learned how to do without and then asserted the heck out of your independence once you were 18. If you agreed with your parents, I have to commend a kid who sits out of something that all of your friends are excited about because you think it’s wrong. So, I kind of hate to be the one to tell you this, but Halloween is the coolest. I think you always suspected that, though.

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Best of 2015: Dear Future Fiance (A Note on Proposing)

It’s Christmas! And that means there are some fuckers out there getting ready to or have already proposed to their significant others. Here’s a pro tip from someone who’s never been betrothed before -DON’T DO IT.

Dear Future Fiance,

Thanks to the magic that is Facebook, I’ve been #blessed with waking up in the morning and seeing which of my friends or friends’ friends is set to take the plunge with their significant other. This number is higher during certain times of the year, most notably the holidays. Now I’m not being a Bitter Betty about this or intending to put anyone down if they DID get engaged over the holidays, I just am expressing what I want in a potential proposal. As the wise and beautiful land mermaid Amy Poehler wrote in her book Yes Please:

So in an effort to not be part of the cliche statistic, I’m writing this to set a few ground rules. If you already have a problem with me saying this, then maybe we shouldn’t even get married in the first place.

– Do not propose to me on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I like the spirit of it, I like the traditions that come with it. I am accustomed to doing the same thing every year and I like it that way. Some kind of big dinner, candlelight service at church, pictures with the fam before we change out of our nice clothes. It is also my mother’s birthday, so, not a good day to steal her thunder.

– Do not propose to me on Christmas.

Christmas already comes with presents. I do not need an additional diamond/jewel of your (my) choice to be added under the tree. Whatever is on my list is a perfectly acceptable gift. I’d much rather get the complete Dawson’s Creek series on DVD rather than a non-creative proposal. Also it is Jesus’ birthday, so, not a good day to steal his thunder.

– Do not propose to me on New Year’s Eve.

I already dislike New Year’s Eve as it is. It’s always one of those nights where everyone asks you what you’re doing, and makes it out to be some big elaborate thing with a lot of high expectations. Speaking of expectations, I personally expect a proposal is supposed to be a surprise (more or less), something to catch you off-guard. Getting down on one knee on a night where thousands of other men are doing the same thing isn’t a surprise. Also it’s the New Year’s birthday, so, not a good day to steal its thunder.

– Do not propose to me on Valentine’s Day.

If your significant other needs a pre-determined day to do all the romantic things he can possibly think of on only one day out of the year, something’s wrong. I don’t want to go out to dinner and find a ring in a chocolate box (I’ll probably eat it) or at the bottom of my champagne glass (I’ll probably drink it). Again, proposing on Valentine’s Day is cliche and unimaginative, so don’t do it then. Also it’s Cupid’s birthday (not really), so, not a good day to steal his thunder.

– Do not propose to me on my birthday.

It is my birthday, so, not a good day to steal my thunder.

Sincerely,

The Woman Of Your Dreams

Dear Future Fiance (A Note on Proposing)

Dear Future Fiance,

Thanks to the magic that is Facebook, I’ve been #blessed with waking up in the morning and seeing which of my friends or friends’ friends is set to take the plunge with their significant other. This number is higher during certain times of the year, most notably the holidays. Now I’m not being a Bitter Betty about this or intending to put anyone down if they DID get engaged over the holidays, I just am expressing what I want in a potential proposal. As the wise and beautiful land mermaid Amy Poehler wrote in her book Yes Please:

So in an effort to not be part of the cliche statistic, I’m writing this to set a few ground rules. If you already have a problem with me saying this, then maybe we shouldn’t even get married in the first place.

– Do not propose to me on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I like the spirit of it, I like the traditions that come with it. I am accustomed to doing the same thing every year and I like it that way. Some kind of big dinner, candlelight service at church, pictures with the fam before we change out of our nice clothes. It is also my mother’s birthday, so, not a good day to steal her thunder.

– Do not propose to me on Christmas.

Christmas already comes with presents. I do not need an additional diamond/jewel of your (my) choice to be added under the tree. Whatever is on my list is a perfectly acceptable gift. I’d much rather get the complete Dawson’s Creek series on DVD rather than a non-creative proposal. Also it is Jesus’ birthday, so, not a good day to steal his thunder.

– Do not propose to me on New Year’s Eve.

I already dislike New Year’s Eve as it is. It’s always one of those nights where everyone asks you what you’re doing, and makes it out to be some big elaborate thing with a lot of high expectations. Speaking of expectations, I personally expect a proposal is supposed to be a surprise (more or less), something to catch you off-guard. Getting down on one knee on a night where thousands of other men are doing the same thing isn’t a surprise. Also it’s the New Year’s birthday, so, not a good day to steal its thunder.

– Do not propose to me on Valentine’s Day.

If your significant other needs a pre-determined day to do all the romantic things he can possibly think of on only one day out of the year, something’s wrong. I don’t want to go out to dinner and find a ring in a chocolate box (I’ll probably eat it) or at the bottom of my champagne glass (I’ll probably drink it). Again, proposing on Valentine’s Day is cliche and unimaginative, so don’t do it then. Also it’s Cupid’s birthday (not really), so, not a good day to steal his thunder.

– Do not propose to me on my birthday.

It is my birthday, so, not a good day to steal my thunder.

Sincerely,

The Woman Of Your Dreams

The White Elephant In The Room

Every year, our LA fam does a Yankee Swap – or White Elephant depending on your pref – and every year, I secretly try to buy the gift that everyone wants to steal. I don’t even care if that’s selfish. I just want people to be pleased with their gifts, okay. So in my attempt to find a stellar present, I do some research on items under $20 that would be good in a Yankee Swap situation. And I don’t know what it says about the gift-givers on the internet, but basically everyone wants to hand out joke gifts for Yankee Swap. I don’t believe in that. Sure, it’s funny at the party, but if I can’t use it outside of said party, it’s no good to me. Not even sorry about my need to win a practical present. Yankee Swap is like Russian Roulette, y’all.

In hopes to sway people away from the gag gifts, here’s a list of real Yankee Swap/White Elephant items that people will actually want – and hopefully fight over – at your holiday party.

Trader Joe’s gift card

Everyone needs groceries, and the mere fact that somebody else is paying to keep you from being hungry is one of the best gifts that can be given.

Mystery Chocolate Box

I love those presents that when you open them, it’s not what you thought it was on the outside – not judging a book by its cover, if you will. This gift gives a whole new meaning to ‘life is like a box of chocolates’. Plus, a bonus is that you have to put those chocolates *somewhere* (in your mouth).

Dry Bar gift card

Last year, I picked this bad boy up, only to have it stolen from me, then it was stolen from that person and I think that person eventually got it back? Either way, I ended up with a cute crossbag purse I still use to this day, and a lot of girls were fighting over this Dry Bar GC.

Starbucks Bev Kicked Up a Notch

This particular mason jar is filled with hot chocolate mix, with shots of Baileys and a Starbucks gift card attached to it, but feel free to do any variation of this. Or just fill the mug with all Baileys. No judgement.

Clothes Folder

We’re all adults here. So if you want to act more like an adult, you can fold your clothes just like the Gap does!

Adult Onesie

Speaking of being an adult… if you’ve never tried it, don’t knock it. I mean look at how much fun all these folks are having.

A Game Good For Groups

The bonus of this is that you can play said game after everyone’s done with exchanging presents, and you’ll have it at the ready at future gatherings.

Movie Night Basket

I find that presents with multiple components are always a good time, and with a gift basket like this, it’s like a one stop fun shop. That Google play card can be a gift card to iTunes, Fandango or local movie theater of your choice. Don’t act like you’ve never snuck candy into a theater either.

Christmas Tree Made Out of Nips

Because you need to get through the holidays with your family.

Scratch Off Tickets

If you decide to do this, you should probably make a deal with whoever takes it home that you get a cut of whatever money they get. Win-win.

Travel iPhone Charger

So I bought this very iPhone travel charger and it’s changed my life. Also it’s a flashlight, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Some Sort of Appliance

Even if you don’t cook, an appliance like a Crock Pot is super easy to use and as the gift giver, you can even throw a few ingredients in there to get them started!

GiftRocket

GiftRocket is basically a gift card you can use anywhere. Say I want to give Beyonce a gift card to 7/11. I would go to the Giftrocket website, pick the 7/11 closest to the Carter home in LA, specify I want to put $20 on the ‘card’ and put in blueivysmom@surfbort.org. Now when B wants to go buy a Slurpee, she just goes to the 7/11 that I picked near their home (the location is verified by GPS) and she’ll get a link via email to confirm her location. The $20 goes into her PayPal account and theoretically, I just bought her $20 worth of Slurpees. It’s a little convoluted (an automatic PayPal acct is created if the recipient doesn’t have one) but it works – just ask Bey! (Don’t ask Bey.)

O Come Let Us Adore… Holiday-Themed Sitcom Episodes

ATTENTION: IT IS DECEMBER. IT IS THE LAST MONTH OF 2014. WHAT HOW HUH.

Ok now that I’ve made you feel like you’ve done nothing this year, it’s time to introduce you to our special holiday playlists of the month, because we like spreading joy here at Cookies + Sangria.

If you are a frequent reader of our blog, you know that we usually have a Playlist of the Month featuring our favorite songs based on the given theme. For December, we decided to give our gifts to you early (yay!) and have THREE ‘playlists’ that are all holiday themed. Today we’re kicking it off with some of our favorite holiday sitcom episodes. If you’re like us, you enjoy watching stuff like this to get into the spirit, so break out the egg nog (or just like, wine or something) and kick back with some of the best Christmasukkah crap TV has to offer!

Molly’s Picks

Parks and Recreation – Citizen Knope
{Season 4, Episode 1}

Guaranteed to bring on my annual Yuletide happy-cry, in this episode Leslie learns that as much love and dedication as she has for her friends and community, they have for her. Leslie always gives almost obsessively perfect presents, but after her rough suspension she receives the best gifts a gal could ask for: the love of her friends, a gingerbread facsimile of her workplace, and a campaign staff.

Seinfeld – The Strike
{Season 9, Episode 10}

Yes, my family has celebrated Festivus. The Feats of Strength were a real bummer because my brothers are both 6’5, but I think the Airing Of Grievances hurt more. If you don’t know what those things mean, you need to watch this episode.

The Office – Christmas Party
{Season 2, Episode 10}

Remember those sweet, early ‘will they/won’t they’ days of Jim and Pam’s relationship? When a Christmas gift exchange turns into a forced Yankee Swap, Jim’s gift to Pam is in jeopardy. She ultimately gets the teapot he bought her, but not before Jim removes the note he wrote her … then gives it to her like 7 years later.

Guys. I really miss this show sometimes.

Friends – The One With The Routine
{Season 6, Episode 10}

Do you guys remember Millennium Fever? Survivalists were freaking out about Y2K and everyone else was under heavy pressure to have the best New Year’s ever. When Monica and Ross land a spot on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, they decide to bust out their childhood dance routine.

Surest sign you were a tweenaged Friends fanatic in the late 90s: you watched the episode (taped on VHS, naturally) over and over until you had that routine down. Guilty.

30 Rock – Ludachristmas
{Season 2, Episode 9}

This one had me at the title. What can I say, I love a good portmanteau. But the episode itself seriously delivered. Jack’s mom (Elaine Stritch) is in town, as is Liz’s family (including her brother, whose brain injury makes him believe that it is perpetually 1985). The TGS Christmas party is ruined when Kenneth takes it upon himself to teach everyone the Real Meaning Of Christmas, and saved when Tracy decides to ignore his alcohol monitoring bracelet.

The Simpsons – The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire
{Season 1, Episode 1}

I was a big Simpsons fan as a little kid, and this is probably my favorite of their Christmas episodes. Homer gets a job as a mall Santa, but still comes up short on Christmas Eve. He and Bart hit the racetrack, and come home with the best present of all – Santa’s Little Helper, the losing greyhound they bet on.

Traci’s Picks

The Office – A Benihana Christmas
{Season 3, Episode 11}

This isn’t just one of my favorite Christmas episodes, it’s one of my favorite episodes of The Office – ever. There is so much going on in this episode that I don’t even know which storyline is my favorite. So let’s break it down. First we have Michael, whose realtor girlfriend, Carol (and Steve’s IRL wife) breaks up with him, leading him into a spiral of depression. To help him with the pain, he goes out to lunch at Japanese restaurant Benihana with some of the guys in the office. Michael and Andy pick up two of the waitresses (Kulap!) and bring them back to the office for the annual Christmas party. Except Michael can’t remember which Asian waitress was the one he was hoping to hook up with, and after a heart to heart with Jim, Michael realizes he really likes someone else and invites them to go to Jamaica with him (spoiler alert, it’s Jan). Speaking of the party, there are actually two dueling parties between Angela’s Party Planning Committee and Pam and Karen’s margarita-karaoke party. This is important because it’s the first time Pam and Karen are actually getting along despite the fact there’s the whole Jim love triangle. Eventually the two parties merge, and all is fine. Oh and as a Christmas present to Jim, Pam has been playing an elaborate trick on Dwight which involves the CIA. This episode is The Office at its finest. It has the perfect mix of humor, heart, and plot progression that will fit in a special hour-long episode. Ugh, I miss this show.

Friends – The One With The Holiday Armadillo
{Season 7, Episode 10}

This is obviously one of the more iconic moments of Friends – even though it’s from one of the much-debated later seasons. Ross wants to teach Ben about Haunukkah, since he’s half Jewish, but all Ben wants to do is talk about that Santa dude. Ross gives in, but it’s too late into the season that all the Christmas-related costumes are sold out, so he settles for an armadillo – the Holiday Armadillo to be exact (who is Santa’s representative for all the southern states. Annnnnd Mexico!) But because Ben has uncles who love him a lot and want to help out, Joey and Chandler dress up too, and the result looks like the Easter Bunny’s funeral.

Full House – Our Very First Christmas Show
{Season 2, Episode 9}

When I was a kid, I always thought Corduroy and his story was just the coolest. The fact that this bear came to life and gets to wander around a department store at night when it was closed just seemed so intriguing to me. Basically, any plot that involves people (or inanimate objects coming to life, I guess) being stuck in a place where they’re not usually supposed to be is great to me. In the first Christmas episode from Full House, the fam is on its way to Colorado for the holidays, but a blizzard forces the plane to land in a rando small airport and they have to spend the Christmas Eve in the baggage claim waiting room. Jesse’s dad tries to get Jesse to kiss Becky under the mistletoe, Deej is mad that their gifts have gone missing, Steph is upset because she doesn’t think Santa will find her in the stupid airport, and Joey doesn’t get a real storyline because this is Full House. Eventually some guy Steph was afraid of on the plane turns out to be the real Santa, and they all get their presents. It’s full of cheese, but what else do you expect from this show?

Parks and Recreation – Ron and Diane
{Season 5, Episode 9}

Because Leslie Knope is the greatest, she dresses up in this elf/santa’s workshop worker costume to tell Ron he is nominated for an award from the Indiana Fine Woodworking Association for a chair he recently built. Ron invites Diane to the ceremony and Leslie invites herself, and therefore meets Diane for the first time (cameo appearance from Tammy 2). Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are planning their annual Jerry Dinner – every time Jerry does something stupid, they put a dollar in the box, and at the end of the year, they use the money to treat themselves to a dinner. But on their way to spend the $500, Tom, Donna, April and Andy pass by Jerry’s house only to find out that the Gengriches, including Christie Brinkley, are having a big Christmas party without them. Ann, who is a guest at the party, won’t let them in, but they finally apologize and end up giving the Jerry Dinner money to Jerry to help pay for his hospital bills after his fart attack.

How I Met Your Mother – How Lily Stole Christmas
{Season 2, Episode 11}

Lily finds an old message on their answering machine that Ted left for Marshall after Lily left him to go off to San Francisco. He called her a grinch (bitch) and urged Marshall to get over her. Ted tells her that in all fairness she was being a huge grinch during that time, and refuses to apologize, which makes Lily furious. She takes away “Lily’s Winter Wonderland”, in which she decorates the entire apartment full of snow and Christmas items, and it’s Marshall’s favorite part about the holidays, especially this year since he’s busy studying for the bar exam. There are a lot of episodes in HIMYM focusing on Marshall/Lily and Ted/Marshall/Barney, but there are a few which get to focus on Lily/Ted, and this is one of them. Throughout college, it was Mashall, Lily, and Ted as a trio, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that with the Marshall/Lily ship, so seeing them fight and ultimately reconcile in this episode is certainly a Christmas miracle.

Saved By The Bell – A Home For Christmas
{Season 3, Episode 24}

Boy, do I love/hate a teen show which tries to incorporate adult subject matter. We briefly talked about how this show handled drunk driving and drugs during our SBTB Week a few months ago,  and this is no different. Most of the gang has jobs at the mall, and Zack lit’rally runs into this blonde girl and hits on her but he turns around for one second and she’s gone. Separately, Zack and Screech run into a man in the bathroom who they realize is homeless. Turns out, the blonde, Laura, not only works with Kelly at a department store, but is the homeless man’s daughter, and they’ve been living in their car after he lost his job. Zack’s mom offers to let them stay at their house until they find a place to stay. At the same time, the crew is putting up A Christmas Carol, which IRONICALLY mirrors a similar story between Laura and Kelly and their mean scroogey boss Mr. Moody. The episode ends with everyone singing Silent Night around a piano, and S2G, if I watched this episode as an adult I would hate it, but because I watched it so many times as a kid, the corny factor doesn’t even bother me. God bless us every one (esp Zack Morris).

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Blaque Friday, Orphan Black Friday and Beyond: Alternatives To Shopping

It’s Black Friday, and the crowds are hitting the malls and big-box stores. But whether you’re not into consumer culture, already bought your Christmas gifts (show-off!), or are more of an online shopper, you don’t have to brave the masses today. If you have the day off and are looking to celebrate a different kind of Black Friday, read on for suggestions.

Blaque Friday

Remember Blaque? Kind of? The main thing I remember about Blaque, the late 90s girl group, is that they were not TLC or Destiny’s Child but probably wanted to be. But get this: Blaque actually stands for something. No kidding. It’s an acronym for Believing, Life, Achieving, Quest, Unity, Everything. What does that mean? Everything. And nothing. Mostly, absolutely nothing. Still, it makes for a good game if you’re lounging around with friends and relatives. Put a bunch of words in a hat. Everybody has to make up an acronym for the word that they pull. Misspelling the word is fine. So, say you pull Milk. Your Blaque-ronym is Mylk: Miracles, Youth, Love, Knowledge. Or MILKE: Mourning Idaho, Loving Kansas Evermore. The person whose Blaque-ronym makes you laugh the hardest is the winner.

It goes without saying, the soundtrack to this game is either tunes by Blaque, or the feature film Bring It On which features the Blaque members as high school cheerleaders.

Shirley Temple Black Friday

Pour yourself a Shirley Temple (that’s ginger ale and grenadine) then add a splash of any kind of liquor. Any kind at all. Bam! Now it’s a Shirley Temple Black. Round out your Shirley Temple Black Friday with a selection of Shirley Temple films. Come on, I can’t be the only former community theater child around these parts! Get your inner ham on as you sing along to On The Good Ship Lollipop or Animal Crackers In My Soup. Have a Shirley Temple impression-off with your friends and family – especially fun if you’ve already knocked back a few Shirley Temple Blacks.  Sick of Thanksgiving leftovers already? Order some international food, because in her adult life Shirley Temple Black served as an ambassador to Ghana and the former Czechoslovakia.

Orphan Black Friday

Haven’t seen Orphan Black yet? Have access to BBC America On Demand? Today’s your lucky day! You can easily watch all 10 episodes in one fit of glorious laziness. While everyone is evading human stampedes and knife battles at Wal-Mart, you’ll be immersed in a world of mystery and intrigue.

Already seen Orphan Black? If you aren’t up for a re-watch, get your butt to a crowded mall. They say that everyone has a twin, or in the Orphan Black world, possibly at least 8 clones. Play a human matching game! Single out someone distinctive – odd walk, crazy hair, wonky features – then keep your eye out for their closest human match. Takes people watching to a whole new level.

Sirius Black Friday

The Harry Potter movies always feel like Christmas to me. That’s probably because ABC Family aired them as part of their 25 Days Of Christmas for so long that I finally acquiesced. Fine, ABC Family, you win. It’s a Christmas movie. Spoiler if you haven’t read/seen all of the Harry Potterses: Sirius Black seems super shady, but is actually in Harry’s corner the whole time. So today, do something nice for that person you absolutely can’t stand, on the chance they aren’t so bad after all. Or just say screw it and have a Hogwarts-themed feast. There are recipes for Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and more online.

Orange Is The New Black Friday

Much like Orphan Black, this is an excellent series that you can watch in one sitting. If you’re off of work and in a food coma, this might be the right time to see what the buzz is about.

Maybe you already have seen it, though. And maybe OITNB gave you greater empathy for the incarcerated (We all make bad choices. It’s just, some of us got different bad choices to make). Well, you can use some of those Black Friday bargains for good, then. There are several organizations that accept new and gently used books for prisoners – for instance, the Prison Book Program. Either grab some discount reads after the crowds have died down, or use your time off to sort through your bookshelves. Literacy, especially critical literacy, is instrumental in helping individuals become fully participating members of society, after all. Okay.  I’ll stash my soapbox, now.

Paint It Black Friday

Rolling Stones tune strictly optional. If you’re decorating for Christmas this week, grab some ceramic ornaments and acrylic paints and have yourself an ornament painting party. It’s fun and you’ll have decorations when it’s done! If you have more than enough Christmas decor, spread the cheer by dropping off some ornaments with someone who could use a little holiday magic. You can have great ornament painting contests, too — best, worst, weirdest, whatever.

Wiggida Wiggida Wiggida Wack Friday

It’s as true today as it was in the early 90s: Kris Kross will make you jump, jump. But what really makes me jump, jump is this Kris Kross remix. The day after Thanksgiving is all about recombining your leftovers into something that feels new and interesting. It’s also a good day to do the same thing with music. Put on some mashups of your old-school favs and get your dance on — I still like the Girl Talk mixes for this. We can all use a little exercise now anyway.

Baby Got Back Friday

Sometimes it seems like everyone has the opening rap and chorus of this song memorized, but they have no love for the rest of it. Well, today is your day! Sit down with the lyrics and iconic music video until you have this down. Sure, other people are out buying gifts today. I’d argue that having this song in your repertoire is a gift to the world.

Booze Before Chews: A Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Drinking Game

Thanksgiving is our day. Our blog is named after a snack and an alcoholic beverage, need I say more?  However, everyone who’s had to correlate the cook times and temperatures of 10 different dishes, and schedule dinner around football games and children’s naps, knows that as much as Thanksgiving is about food, it’s also about multi-tasking. Oh, and gratitude.

So, why not multitask during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by getting your drink on? Responsibly, of course – feel free to use water instead and stop when you should stop.

I’m also including a parallel Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Exercise Game (Lose Before Chews?). Use that option if you are saving your stomach space for food (that’s me!), want to work off dinner in advance, or aren’t much of a day drinker.

* This list is from 2013, so we’ve added a few 2014-specific additions as well!

One Sip/ One Set* of Jumping Jacks if you see…

  •  Matt Lauer, and he has an obvious disdain for his cohost
  • Marching band from the midwest
  • Balloon or float featuring a cartoon character you’ve never heard of
  • Reality star from a show you actually watch
  • Nick Jonas, and you have to deal with weird grown-up feelings (he’s of age, it’s fine)
  • Country singer wearing a cowboy hat
  • Muppets!
  • … and you get choked up seeing Muppets for some reason. Really, what IS that?
  • One of the members of KISS sticking his tongue out
  • A float or balloon of one of your childhood favorites that’s been gone so long that it’s cool again (example: My Little Pony; Carebears)

Two Sips/ One Set of Burpees if you see…

  •  Matt Lauer, and the cohost has an obvious disdain for him
  • One of the flag girls having an obvious screw-up
  • One of the hosts or performers wearing an impractical but lovely white coat, a la Olivia Pope
  • Carrie Underwood singing something from The Sound of Music (shameless plug: we’ll be liveblogging the performance on December 5! (of 2013 – oh, what a night it was!))
  • Anyone from the cast of Peter Pan performing (yes, we’ll be liveblogging that too, and yes, you can upgrade a Sound Of Music performance to a “chug” scenario, because that already happened.)
  • Sandra Lee making something that’s technically gross but seems sort of delicious
  • A celebrity with his or her bored-looking teenager or tween
  • Mo’ne Davis, and you cry a little bit (she’s inspirational! it’s okay!)
  • The hosts refer to bad parade weather in the distant past (>25 years ago)
  • Pilgrims in buckle hats
  • ALL of the members of KISS sticking their tongues out

One Gulp/ 30-second plank if you see…

  • A Broadway performance featuring enthusiastic child actors
  • A clearly tangled or deflated balloon
  • A performance by an irrelevant musician (peak fame greater than or equal to four years ago)
  • A circus
  • and you find it really boring
  • A British star even though they don’t even do Thanksgiving JEEZ.
  • A Canadian star even though they already had Thanksgiving JEEZ.

Two gulps/ One Set of Pushups if…

  •  You get interrupted by someone saying “hey, can you come in here and help with…”
  • You have to explain to a child or teenager what KISS/ Gene Simmons is all about (actually, if you’re doing the exercise version you can skip the pushups- you’ve already had a mental workout!)
  • You spot very obviously out-of-sync lip-synching
  • All three Jonas Brothers appear together (they had a bit of a breakup)
  • You accidentally fall in love with Taylor Swift during her performance
  • A celebrity is on a float to which they have absolutely no connection (example: The cast of Law and Order: SVU on a Mott’s applesauce float)
  • The Duck Dynasty guys make a reference to shooting turkeys
  • Jimmy Fallon is there, and he delivers a thank-you note
  • Jimmy Fallon is there, and he brings Baby Winnie
  • Savannah Guthrie is there, and she brings Baby Vale
  • A youth choir sings something inspirational (example: Imagine, Somewhere Over The Rainbow)
  • There is a touching moment between Allison Williams and Brian Williams
  • The hosts deliver a half-accurate history lesson about the first Thanksgiving

Chug**/ Run in place until the next commercial break if…

  • There’s a runaway balloon
  • You accidentally call new Annie, Quvenzhané Wallis, “the cutest kid in the world” in front of children you’re actually related to. Oops!
  • One of the lip-synchers doesn’t even try at all
  • A Cirque du Soleil performer falls
  • At the end of the parade, you realize you missed the one thing that actually sounded like it would be interesting

* A set is however many you say is a set. We’re not Crossfit, here. Again, we’re named after a snack and an alcoholic beverage.

** Don’t really chug. Puking would really screw up your dinner plans.