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I grew up in Colorado, meaning my mom had to get creative with our childhood Halloween costumes, because it’s not as easy to incorporate a parka and snow boots into a costume as one might think. It could not have been pleasant for my parents to break out the snow chains so that they could chauffeur me from one trick-or-treating station to the next on those snowy, spooky evenings.
Besides designing a costume that can protect you from frostbite, there is a frightening number of Boulder-specific problems associated with Halloween that, left unchecked, are sure to haunt you.
Is it possible to incorporate granola into a Halloween costume? Where can you buy raw, vegan candy for the neighborhood trick-or-treaters? Will I get trampled at the Boulder Mall Crawl? These are the things that keep me up at night as the day draws nearer.
Let’s start with the costume. My advice: try and steer away from your comfort zone of flannel, tie-dye and Birkenstocks. I know it is hard, but dressing up like a hippie for Halloween is not going to win you any costume contests; you’re just going to wind up looking like most of Boulder’s population on any other normal day. Keep one thing in mind when constructing your costume: it is bound to be chilly at night, so design a costume that works with layers and is versatile enough to include a hat and gloves, just in case.
If you’re feeling rebellious and would rather sidestep the misery of choosing a costume, putting it together and then being forced to parade around in it all night, there are other options. Try your luck at The Herd’s Nearly Naked Mile, where costumes (and yes, clothing altogether) are optional. The event doubles as a clothing drive, so you can justify running across Boulder in your underwear by pointing out that you’re doing a good deed.
With Halloween falling on a Wednesday this year, festivities are bound to start early and last for nearly a week. When this became acceptable, I’ll never know. I personally miss the days when Halloween festivities were reserved for one day, and one day only. And herein lies our next problem. Nevermind the fact that unless you plan to ride the Nearly Naked wave for the entire weekend, you’re going to have to come up with a few different costume ideas. How on Earth will you entertain yourself for the entire Halloweekend?
Normally, an obvious conclusion would be to roam the Pearl Street Mall, a favorite among Boulder girls as well as other CU-goers. But this weekend, Pearl Street is expected to be run over by an explosion of costumed Boulderites, crazed from eating too many fun-size candy bars, enjoying one too many Halloween cocktails and aiming to live up to the name of the infamous Boulder Mall Crawl.
Officially, the event was banned for safety reasons by city and university officials in 1991, but, after a comeback in 2009, people continue to partake in the event. At its height, the Mall Crawl entertained tens of thousands in a single night, causing expensive damages and requiring police task forces, which the City of Boulder has had to pick up the bill for. The Mall Crawl’s historic reputation would have you believe that Halloween weekend in Boulder is a drunken and dangerous riot, complete with “naked pumpkin runners” to top it off.
My solution to the insanity? I like to take the “when in Boulder” approach. The Mall Crawl, though no longer a city-sponsored event, has made a calmer appearance since the ban, while managing to maintain a Boulder brand of crazy. According to the official Mall Crawl Facebook page, the event is the “best Halloween party ever.” Does that sound like something you want to miss? Definitely not.
By far, the best way to enjoy your Boulder Halloween is to be active in these quirky local events, while making sure to keep your Boulder girl body parts warm. Do not take Halloweekend to its unsafe, 1980s level, but do your best to live up to Boulder’s Halloweird name.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Taryne Tosetti at Taryne.firstname.lastname@example.org.