So here are Ben Franklin’s
10 Tips on Halloween:
1 GET REFLECTIVE. If you plan on trick-or-treating in the night-time, after the sun goes down, I would strongly urge you to wear some kind of highly reflective material with your costume, so you can be seen by others (especially people who may be driving these modern things you call “automobiles”). Better to be safe than sorry!
2 DON’T DRAG. While it’s nice to be authentic (for example: wearing long, trailing, shredded pants bottoms or dresses to look like a zombie or a ghost), these can be dangerous to run or walk with. You could trip and stumble, ruin your costume, or worse, get hurt. Try to avoid having parts of your costume drag behind you.
3 SEE AND BE SEEN. Again, in the interest of authenticity, many like to wear masks and other head coverings to complete their costumes. It is fun to pretend to scare people with your vampire, monster, or politician outfit. However, in the interest of both friendliness and safety, you might wish, at times, to remove your headgear. Seeing a smiling face begging for candy, I would think, would produce better results than a shrouded or scowling mummy. Not only that, there is your own safety to consider. If you cannot see where you are going, accidents will happen.
4 MAKE A POLITICAL STATEMENT. Speaking of scary politicians (in #3, above), some trick-or-treaters like to dress up as a present or past president, some other newsmaker, or even as some object or symbol of a current controversy (for example, wearing flu masks or protective hazmat gear as a comment on the Ebola epidemic). As one who enjoys political humor, I applaud the creativity and satire in such costume choices. Sometimes, however, you may need to ask yourself whether you’ve crossed the line with a particular symbolism. For example, you wouldn’t want to wear a Ku Klux Klan costume in a racially mixed neighborhood. Not very politically sensitive! Nazi uniforms or Boston Marathon bomber costumes can also produce bad feelings. However, if you're looking for a really SCARY costume, you could dress up as an America without health care!
5 BEWARE OF FIRE. With some homemade costumes, you may be using materials commonly found around your house. And unfortunately, these might turn out to be highly flammable. If you can avoid the use of costume materials like these, you will be much better off. And if not, be careful around candles, bonfires, fireplaces, camp stoves, cigarettes, and other sources of sparks, heat, or flame.
6 BE KIND TO ANIMALS. I have observed some trick-or-treaters going about on their rounds accompanied by their family dog wearing a costume as well. (Hopefully, on a leash!) Since the pet may be unaccustomed to the costume, it may not be in the best of moods. So if you happen to see one, do not assume that it will be as friendly as it might normally be in a home setting with less crowds and fewer strange activities going on. So be kind to them, be careful around them, and be alert for unusual behavior, especially if they should encounter another dog or other animal in their travels. And do not go about dressed as a giant steak, hamburger, or bone!
7 TWO BY TWO. Sometimes it’s fun to dress up in costumes as twins or naturally related characters. For example, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Batman and Robin, the Blues Brothers, French fries and Coke, Hansel and Gretel, the Kardashian family, peanut butter and jelly, the Wicked Witch and Snow White, etc. This is a great way to showcase your cleverness and creativity, and get more appreciative glances from passers-by! Be careful, however, when walking at roadside – it may be better to go single-file.
8 LEAVE THE HARDWARE HOME. Tragically, in this day and age of war, random shootings, bombings, and other such unfortunate events, it is not a good idea to bring along props like machine guns, semiautomatic weapons, or even spears, swords, and bow-and-arrow (sorry, Hunger Games fans!). Number one, they could be mistaken for the real thing; number two, if there are any realistic parts of them (like a sharp sword or a real Grim Reaper scythe), someone could get hurt; and number three, they could be seen as really offensive to families who may have had loved ones lost in violent crimes or tragedies.
9 CELLS, COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY. A few random tips here: if you can, carry a cell phone, so you can stay in touch with parents or other loved ones; it might not be a good idea to take along real technology as props, like flat screen TVs or laptops, which could get broken while trick-or-treating; and, if you costume yourself as a computer, be careful not to catch any viruses!
10 FINALLY, IF YOU GO AS BEN FRANKLIN, at least try to be somewhat authentic and true-to-life to my persona. If your costume isn’t very realistic, you could be mistaken for Christopher Columbus, John Adams, George Washington, or a Pilgrim. Some props you might consider: bifocals, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, Poor Richard’s Almanack, a kite, a squirrel, or perhaps a mailbag (for my role in inventing the U.S. Post Office). But definitely not a beer can (see my previous blog entries on this subject) or a lightning rod (if Halloween Eve should happen to be plagued by rainy weather, I wouldn’t want you to be accidentally electrocuted.)
Your humble servant,
PS: If you'd like to see yours truly take a broomstick ride, inspired by the Broadway musical WICKED, go to Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsAWxcOzFwk for "Ben Franklin Defies Gravity"