When the rain comes on Halloween night, all the fair-weather kids get their monster make-up runny with tears. Caught between the cold damp and the pull of candy, they venture out trick or treating for just a little bit — long enough to feel the weight of sugar in their pillowcase, but not long enough to really cover the neighborhood, before heading home to get warm and inspect their meager bounties. But that’s not how the hardcore kids play. They welcome the rain. They smile back at the gleam of a slicked sidewalk. They know that a rainy Halloween separates the weak trick or treaters from the strong. Tricks get trickier. Treats, well, there’s more for the taking.
But there’s the costume issue. Rain turns every kid’s costume into an iteration of sailor in a squall — all that clinging yellow polyester blend. Zombie sailor! Wolf Sailor! Fairy Sailor! Vampire Sailor! They can be distinguished only by the dripping horror make-up on their faces. They amble up and down driveways like the crew of some Transylvanian freighter.
Only very little kids can be cajoled into putting up their hoods. For the kids on their own — or wishing they were — wet hair is a small price to pay for monstrousness. And so the frighteners become more frightening, matted and dripping. Urgency increases. That’s a good thing. Rain-quick steps mean more houses and more distance; more bars, and more sugar.
And there’s so much more sugar. Rain drenched trick or treaters are greeted with respect. Doors open to determined grinning faces. The little old ladies say stuff like, “Take all you want” because they don’t want to be stuck being tempted by a bowl full of Hershey’s for the next few days. And the rainy trick or treaters take all they want because they know they’ve earned it.
And woe to the house who takes the rain as a sign to turn off the porch-light for the night. When treats can’t be found, tricks are sure to come. There’s an alchemical delight to be found in the way a twisting ribbon of toilet paper hung in a tree is made soggy and impossible by the rain.
While weather forecasters lament the great green blobs they say will shut down the night. But the true ghouls know a rainy Halloween is the best Halloween. A rainy Halloween is darker and quieter and more primed for mischief. Ghosts are reflected in the puddles. Rain makes the veil between the here and the hereafter a physical thing. The trick or treaters are transported, they exist in two worlds at once. They are more creatures than kids because only creatures are so indifferent to the rain. A dry Halloween is for amateurs. A wet Halloween is for the pros.
Back home, the pros shed soggy costumes the door. The rainy victors flood the floor with candy. Damp wrappers are torn free and fiends feast like kings. There’s more than enough because of the Halloween rain. There’s more than enough for the brave and the damp; the kids with the frightfully streaked grease paint and drooping wings. There’s more than enough for the hardcore kids who own a rainy Halloween — the best kind of Halloween there is.