Ellie's LoveCon continues to fail upwards. I'm working on backgrounds for the next two Patreons so expect them in a day or two. So for Halloween we told the kids to keep it super simple this year. Something we could manage without Claire spending gobs of time and money tailoring four children's costumes (which she did last year) for something the kids prove, time and time again, to wear only once. They're like prom dresses. Loved deeply for one night, then totally forgotten. So what did they come up with? To keep it super simple? And we didn't even get the the 6 year old before we were like LOL NO. I can only assume at this rate she wanted to be Ultimecia from Final Fantasy 8 So we went with zombies. All of em zombies. Shredded some old shirts, bought some makeup at WalMart and hosed them down with fake blood. Done. Probably saved some $200. We also did this because we really didn't know what to expect when we went out. Would most people shrug off Covid concerns to hand out candy? Would most parents let kids go out? Well, we found out. I went with the kids last year in these same neighborhoods, and the houses participating looked a lot like this: This year, however, we estimated less than 25% of those same houses were handing out anything. And it was a big, sad, this right here: One neighborhood we went down only had two houses greeting kids. Last year there must have been 15-20 houses. And the ones with candy were those people that typically go all out. All the giant blow-up decorations, etc. Everyone else was like 'nah.' And they all had really weird ways of barring kids. There was a noticeable effort some folks made to really let you know you're not coming on their property. Now I'm old enough to remember when just shutting off your front porch light was enough. No, now we need people to really get that whole 'palm in the face' stay-back message. I didn't have my phone on me, but I sketched what some houses were like, and some were bizarre. Like one house used the thickest-ass rope they could find to block off their porch. Another house had a constructed metal gate made, which was very obviously not part of the rest of the porch. And if that didn't stop you, Jesus would. Or rather the Jesus wood would. This one was my personal favorite. Just 'no.' Expensive construction-quality barricade was not enough. Then there was this weird old lady that decided in lieu of candy, she would make a decorative photo-shoot scene in front of her garage for kids to take a picture in front of. Me to Claire: "What is all that?" Claire: "Some kind of hand made photo-op." Me: "Like, why?" Claire: "I guess she thought it would be fun?" Me: "Where the hell's the candy?" Claire: "There is none, apparently." Me: "There's no adult somewhere handing anything out?" Claire: "She's the old lady hiding behind the side of the house" Me: "Is that straight up police tape she put in her yard to keep kids off the grass?" Claire: "Or to keep kids off the old lady" I mean is any of this 'bad.' No. None of it really bothered us. We found some of it humorous, and it is interesting seeing people react to Halloween during a pandemic. Now on the flip side the amount of Trick or Treaters themselves was maybe close to 50% of normal. Lots of kids stayed in, or did something else. Definite uptick in 'parties.' As in family parties, so I'm assuming tons of families just met with each other this year. This actually offset any issues our kids would have had getting candy. You'd think 'oh, they're not going to get as much.' No, they got way more. We had to dump bags in the car so the kids could keep going. With less kids out pounding the pavement, people were unloading their candy on us by 7pm. Imagine someone down a side street that used to be packed. Now it's dark. They've spent their normal $100+ on candy and they've only seen 12 kids that night. Most people would probably just drive by and not bother (as we did ourselves on a few occasions.) One guy was down this cul-de-sac in a giant Patrick costume frantically dancing in the middle of the street to get attention. I felt so bad for him, but I also instantly thought of Slurms McKenzie. Literal same dance. So I jumped in and started doing this: In short, the kids still had fun, and we stumbled upon a Trunk-or-Treat where they got the bulk of their goods. This was a Saturday, and normally this church would have stayed open until 10pm or later. They were closing shop at 8pm. Dumped their bowls of chocolate out in the kid's bags. It all worked out, even if Halloween felt a little 'abbreviated' this year. On another note, thanks to everyone who sent us gifts from the Baby Registry. Man, guys, that really means a ton. I also got the notes sent with them. I've never gotten a gift from Amazon before and I didn't even know they did that. Super cool. Also thanks to those that added to the diaper fund and the reader that got us the diaper bag. Claire was over the moon about all of it.  And for anyone just joining us I'll link it again and see you all on Friday!

39 thoughts on “Appoggiatura

  1. Yeah we may have gotten 6 or so trick or treaters when we used to get 50. Last year it snowed so its been a bummer for a while.

  2. I was gonna say he could be a draft dodger, but he’s too young for that, so I’m gonna go with child support dodger.

  3. One reason I didn’t buy candy for trick or treat this year is that I normally just unload all the extra on my coworkers through November, and lacking the ability to do that I was a bit leery of taking the caloric hit of leaving all that at home to tempt me.

  4. The Dodger? Also, Herb doesn’t look scared. Herb looks like he’s about to shove those tongs where the sun don’t shine. Also, William looks concerned to me as well. This looks like a male version of the psychobilly freak-out is about to start. I know in my family it would be. My father has legit beat people up for bothering him while grilling, let alone stabbing a steak off the grill and just tearing into it before the family is seated.

    1. That really does hit me as more an “enraged” vibe than a “scared” vibe. But then, Herb also has the kind of face that probably looks the same for “gleeful”, “distrustful”, and “lackadaisical.”

  5. Oh great. Cinnamon’s dating Florida Man.

    Still, given how the night went for Cinnamon–with even Zeke the Serial Killer turning her down–it’s kind of nice to see that something came out of it.

    Even if it is a dude in sweatpants and no shirt eating a steak off a butcher knife.

  6. …wait, Tarragon “dragged some guy here”? …Kyle? Kyle, did you actually stick around from that disaster at Tarra’s apartment?

        1. It’s difficult to say whether Tarra and Kyle are in some kind of relationship now. My gut says no. So the question is: What is Kyle doing here? I like to think Tarra invited him because she has no actual friends and Kyle is dangerously close to becoming a friend to her? I don’t think she’s into him, but she likes having someone around to impress and monologue to. Kyle seems to be the ultimate normie, yet he didn’t bail on her when things got weird. Instead he just kinda rolled with it, stayed chill, and even brought her food. Maybe that meant something to her. Or not.
          The fact that he was at LoveCon (and followed up on the possibility of a date) confirms he’s interested in a relationship. So I feel like he’s just seeing where all this goes. All he knows at this point is that Tarra’s life is a crazy anime. Tarra didn’t exactly reject him so he’s sticking with it for now. From the very start Kyle had no unrealistic expectations (despite Tarra gaslighting his motives), he just wanted to go on a date and see if he hit it off with this girl he met at an event all about getting dates.
          I predict Tarra grows fond of Kyle and tries to keep him around, but he won’t be a simp. Once he realizes he has no chance (because of her obsession) he’ll either leave or accept the situation and be her friend. I can’t see him becoming, like, her minion or villainous #2 though. He’s just too normal. I don’t think he’ll even have much of a presence. He’s just this regular, ordinary guy that Tarra knows.

        2. I went back reading the LoveCon arc, and we had a nice little run in the comments section about how Tarra’s body language while she was ordering Kyle around in her apartment suggested she was actually into it. Some believed that Kyle was serving as a grounding influence to Tarra’s constant barrage of weird. It’s a good working theory, especially when you consider that Tarra hasn’t been actually, you know, seen with a man in a long time. Except Box of Organs Ninja, that is. But he’s sort of out of things right now.

  7. Well, Cinnamon went ahead and grabbed a rebound after being rejected by the serial killer. Good for her? He looks like he’ll be completely unbothered by her, uh, unique personality.

  8. I’m just going to come out and say it: on this day, at this time, I enjoyed the trick or treat story and artwork more than the comic.

    1. I want to know how Cinnamon managed to run into the Dodger there…she left that party empty-handed and we all saw it, even when she got stalked leaving the party.

      Did this follow CInnamon’s shirtless run down the alley trying to get a little casual make-out with the aforementioned serial killer? Did the Dodger there see an opening and go for it? Because I figure just about anyone’s got a chance with a girl running shirtless through an alley after having been turned down by over 800 dudes in one night.

  9. Wow, both parents have a serious case of frowny cheeks. I can’t picture the Chief being scared by this guy, but the casual touching, giant knife pointed at him, and blatant disregard for grill etiquette are probably painting an ugly picture in his mind if his daughter sticks with this guy. I also kind of want to laugh at him. IS THIS HETEROSEXUAL ENOUGH FOR YOU? LOOK AT THAT CHEST HAIR. HE’S EATING A STEAK RIGHT OFF A KNIFE. NO DRESSED UP EFFEMINATE CARTOON FANTASYLAND BOY HERE, SIR, THIS IS A MATURE ADULT MAN, SPREADING MASCULINE INFLUENCE AAAAAALLL AROUND YOUR DAUGHTERS.

    I’m glad to hear you’re doing better! For Halloween I figured there would be less people handing out candy so I put together little baggies. Cut up some sticker sheets from the Dollar Store, got some giant bags of lollipops on discount, bought one of those surprisingly cheap bags of little Halloween toys from Target. (Vampire teeth, bouncy balls, and bubbles, all in shades of black, orange, white, and mint green for some reason.) Every baggie got twelve stickers, a toy, and five lollipops. For social distancing I rigged up a 10-foot drainpipe I got for six bucks, wrapped in orange ribbon and blinking Christmas lights, balanced against a stepladder with ghostly sheets draped over it. Boom: candy slide. Kids loved waiting by the bucket at the end to see what would pop out, and most were thrilled to get a whole baggie of stuff. Lots of parents thought it was a cool idea, and I gathered that two others in the neighborhood had also done slides of some kind.

    There was a birthday party with a pinata a couple houses down, I guess to ensure that the kids got candy no matter what the handouts were like. Things were busy for a bit but quieted down after an hour. Got maybe 40 kids, which was approximately how many baggies I had made. The last kid going through was one of those quiet older ones without a costume that has a mostly-empty grocery bag, the whole thing screamed SAD POOR KID so I felt okay dumping a bunch of leftover lollipops and rice krispy treats on him to cap off the night. Wish I had given him more, actually, I thought we’d have some stragglers ringing the doorbell to account for, so now I’ve got a small pile of lollipops I’m not gonna eat.

    1. Oh. OH! OHHH!

      That’s BEAUTIFUL!

      I’d forgotten about that whole encounter with effiminacy Herb had. Sometimes getting what you asked for turns out a lot worse than you expected, though somehow I think Herb was hoping more for a step up from Francis as opposed to, like, the polar opposite.

        1. Well, it means the same thing, at the end of the day. The key takeaway here is that Dodger and all of Pumpkin’s male friends are totally different animals. Francis dresses in elaborate Japan fantasyland crap, Dodger is barely dressed at all. Dodger also works as pretty much the opposite of the drive-thru crew as well, whose names have escaped me right now. Tommy, I think, one of them is. Opposites, no matter what astronomical measures you care to use.

  10. Eating steak off the grill with a butcher knife, while shirtless. Probably no underwear under those dirty sweats, resting his elbow on the girl’s dad’s shoulder.

    That isn’t a date, that’s her latest soon-to-be lab specimen. Either that or a way to really piss her dad off. Or both. Her evil really could go either way.

    1. The conversation is probably pretty interesting. Dodger doesn’t seem the type to dissemble.

      “Yep, yer daughter’s one sweet piece a ass. Found ‘er runnin’ shirtless through an alley an’ I didn’ even hafta do nothin’ to start it. She was just like that. Got-damn.”

    1. You can stare down a six-story-tall hand grenade, but when your daughter’s dating Florida Man, it’s just not the kind of thing a man can accept.

  11. Possible continuity error: Was LoveCon the previous night? It seems like it’s been at least a couple of days with all of the action between Tarra and Summer, plus the date including a sleepover. Has to at least be the 2nd day after, doesn’t it?

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