How Humor Can Be The Best Treat During Halloween by Susanna Spies

As a kid I always enjoyed Halloween. I usually went as my three staple go-tos: hippie, clown, or cowboy. If I got lazy, I resorted to my costume of “Tired Girl”: Dr. Denton pajamas, a warm blanket wrap-a-round, and snuggly slippers to walk along the cold New Jersey streets.

I always wondered if coming to my house would be less exciting to my fellow trick or treaters. After all, my parents weren’t big on sugar, and often our sweet tooth was tempered by a bowl of peanuts mixed in with raisins, or a little honey poured over a half a banana for dessert. Not to say both weren’t delicious, but they were a definite second place to Snickers, which really did satisfy, as their slogan goes. Snickers, Peanut Chews, and Marathon bars, oh my! These were my three top favorites that I would eagerly seek out while emptying my white pillowcase camouflaged by sticky wrappers of Sweethearts, Mary Jane’s, and Good & Plenties.

If only I knew then, that apples really were and are delicious treats, I would have saved my teeth many trips to Dr. Lewis, my childhood dentist. I can remember the smell of that dentist office like it was yesterday: minty and cool, as if walking inside an air conditioner motor, or a plane before take-off, so sterile, unwelcoming, and chilly.

I’d sit terrified in anticipation, dreading the giant gel mouth guard filled with fluoride treatments. “Do you want bubblegum flavor, cherry, or grape?” “Um… grape I guess.” Never tasted like grape. More like cool, medicinal cherry jelly. Yuck. The only thing that would get me through was the delicious lollipop I’d get right after it was over. And let me tell you that trying to enjoy a lollipop with a novocaine filled mouth and a tongue that feels like the size of a hockey puck was no easy task. But wait a second. Why is the dentist — the one who was smirking while asking how many jolly ranchers I may have eaten — giving me a lollipop, a treat which is what brought me there in the first place?

It would always strike me as funny, but I never said a word because it made my trips to the dentist less scary and more enjoyable even if I couldn’t feel my tongue while trying to enjoy it. There is much irony to Halloween. A holiday where we get to dress as our favorite characters, or fictional creatures from a horror movie, while we take candy from virtual strangers, who never pay our dentist bills.

Which is why to me, HALLOWEEN starts with HA.

Here are five ways to find Halloween Humor: Trick, Treat, or Laugh!

1) Explore Characters. Think of fun and creative ways you can use your imagination to go outside the box this Halloween. See how many people can guess who you are on your Halloween journey without saying what you are dressed as.

2) Candy Comedy. Look at the candy you get during the day. Find out if there are any patterns from where you get certain types of candy i.e.: school, at home, at a friend’s house, or neighbor’s. What are the reactions to certain types of candy you like — or dislike — and why?

3) Name Your Own Brand. Create your own treat. What would it be, what would you call it, and why?

4) Create an ad. Write a commercial in the character of the candy you will be giving this Halloween. Now try it as that same character but different ages: 5, 10, 15, 80. See what kind of reactions you may get. And does your approach change in how you deliver your commercial?

5) Personal Slogan. If you could create your own slogan about Halloween, what would it be?

© 2014 Daniel Scherl

About the Author: Susanna SPIES is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a seasoned educator and Founder and President of Comedy Playground, LLC, showcasing at The Hollywood Improv located in California. With a performance background, Spies has worked within mediums of television and film, and has performed stand up comedy on stages throughout the nation. Known for her many “faces”, in 2013 she debuted over 30 characters in her one-woman show “The Dryer” and was featured on Nuvo TV’s Stand & Deliver, E-One Entertainment’s Uncontrolled Comedy, and the Youtube sensation “Carol” of “Carol & Claire in The Angela Hoover web series, as well as dozens of national commercials, and Independent Feature Films. Read More… 

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