I went to an All Hallow’s Eve costume party at my friends’ apartment this past Saturday. I don’t do a lot when it comes to Halloween. I grew up next to Salem, MA, and the holiday just never spoke to me much. Perchance it was the fact that I couldn’t get home without waiting through hours of traffic, or the meandering clutches of boozy tourists. I don’t know. However, I absolutely adore wearing costumes.There’s something wonderful about becoming somebody or something else for a time.

The theme for this holiday’s extravaganza was favorites, and most people went out of their way to come up with something really inventive. I dressed as a Frenchman–not the acme of ingenuity, but there you have it. Shea came as a bottle of Frank’s hot sauce. There were also a Fantastic Mr. Fox, a bag of chips, the color purple ( a handful of them, actually), a Pizza Hut and a Scrabble board. The kids were especially adorable. The parents all seem to have coordinated to dress their charges up as favorite TV characters. Super Why and Caillou were well represented. One of my favorites was a two-year-old boy dressed in one of these.

People also brought a favorite recipe or drink, and it was a lot of fun sampling. I drank goblins’ brew and butterbeer ate some scotch eggs and bien sur plenty of candy. We played games, too. I don’t think I’d bobbed for apples since kindergarten, and it’s still fun. We got a creepy round of mafia going, and I love being the storyteller. The commercial world may exploit Halloween, like every other holiday, but it can still be a lot of fun. The best costumes are without fail the ones that people cobble together on their own from things they have at home or find at the thrift store. And the best way to spend Halloween is not in Salem’s haunted houses, psychic parlours and bars, but with a good group of creative friends.