The liberty these modern-day jesters give themselves to celebrate this paradoxically dark, yet most whimsical, of holidays feels weirdly refreshing to me. After all, it is a time when adults can be kids again. In fact, Halloween parties for grown-ups may be just as common as those for children (possibly more so?).
As for the kids? Well, on this particular day they're given—or they take—the license to become (almost literally) the very creatures they previously may have most feared. And they're free to indulge in a joyful silliness that's a lot less susceptible to parental criticism than otherwise might be the case. For this is a time when they can do things that ordinarily would be forbidden—or unthinkable: Like dressing up in outrageous (not to say, morbid) costumes and more or less demanding candy from strangers.
I still remember the year when I opened the door to some solitary ghoul and was (rather aggressively, I thought) greeted with the words "trick or treat!" A trifle annoyed by the coerciveness of his tone (and perhaps for the sake of experiment), I replied "trick!"—and was promptly squirted several times in the face with water from a concealed pistol. Who knew he'd actually come "armed"?! Still, on this special night of "licenses," I realized that this (to me) unruly child was quite within his rights. So I really had no choice but to wipe off my face and reach for the bowl of miniature Hershey bars.
Before presenting you with what I regard as the very best examples of Halloween foolery (or, well, lunacy), let me suggest something about how I chose these particular witticisms. In most instances I had to distinguish between that which seemed (to whatever extent) forced, trite, or cornball, from what in my estimation appeared genuinely fresh, imaginative, or clever. And on many occasions only a thin line appeared to separate the two. Most puns on the margin I rejected, though some did make the cut (though just marginally). "What did the boy ghost say to the girl ghost? ‘You look boo-tiful tonight.'" was relatively easy to cut—just too strained. But "What do birds give out on Halloween night?"—the answer being "tweets"—was, to my mind, cute enough to include (i.e., slightly shy of cutesy). . . . But what would you have decided?
Or how about this one? "Where did the goblin throw the football?" "Over the ghoul line." Not bad, but just a tad too forced for me. But for you? . . . Or, how about this one? "What do you give a skeleton for Valentine's Day?" "Bone-bones in a heart-shaped box." Not exactly great, but good enough for a chuckle, I thought. And you? . . . Anyhow, I'm sure a number of readers will question some of my judgment calls (for I did, too!).
Before presenting my final selections, I'll provide one more example of my attempts to distinguish between the slightly cornball and the decidedly clever. You can decide whether you agree or disagree. Somewhat reluctantly I said no to "What do you call two witches living together?" "Broommates." . . . But I said yes enthusiastically to "What do you call a witch's garage?" "A broom closet." So—are
we on the same page here? . . .
Anyhow, here are the finalists. I hope you get as many giggles, if not guffaws, out of them (or—dare I say—"cackles" or "howls") as I did.
. . . So sit down, maybe with some apple cider, and enjoy!
On Halloween, parents send their kids out looking like me. [And, if so, no wonder he never got any respect!] ~ Rodney Dangerfield
Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, "Never take candy from strangers." And then they dressed me up and said, "Go beg for it." I didn't know what to do. I'd knock on people's doors and go, "Trick or treat . . . no thank you." ~ Rita Rudner
This Halloween the most popular mask is the Arnold Schwarzenegger mask. And the best part? With a mouth full of candy you will sound just like him. ~ Conan O'Brien
I dressed up as a veterinarian for a Halloween costume party. I had a lab coat. And I got a couple of stuffed animals for patients and put bandages on them. ~ Tracy Chapman
Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night. ~ Steve Almond
A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween. ~ Erma Bombeck
Demons are a ghoul's best friend. ~ Anon
Being in a band you can wear whatever you want--it's like an excuse for Halloween everyday. ~ Gwen Stefani
Acting is like a Halloween mask that you put on. ~ River Phoenix
Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it. ~ Lindsay Lohan
Eat, drink and be scary. ~ Anon
May your every wish be granted. ~ Ancient Chinese Curse [okay, doesn't quite fit but—just for fun—I couldn't resist throwing it in]
May your left ear wither and fall into your right pocket. ~ Arab Curse [ditto]
There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin. ~ Linus Van Pelt in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
And now for the really zany—but, for the most part, marvelously ingenious!—Halloween riddles, puzzles and puns (oh my!):
What do baby ghosts wear on Halloween? White Pillowcases.
Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? No, they eat the fingers separately.
Where do fashionable ghosts shop for sheets? [This one is so bad that it's actually quite good!] Bootiques.
What do you call someone who puts poison in a person's corn flakes? A cereal killer.
What do you get when you cross a vampire and a snowman? Frostbite.
What do you get when you cross a werewolf and a vampire? A fur coat that fangs around your neck.
What does a vampire never order at a restaurant? A stake sandwich.
What do you call a witch in the desert? A sandwitch.
What does a vampire fear the most? Tooth decay.
Where did the vampire open his savings account? At a blood bank.
Who do vampires buy their cookies from? The Ghoul Scouts
What do you get when you cross Bambi with a ghost? Bamboo.
What do you get when you drop a pumpkin? Squash [!].
What do you call a fat Jack-O-Lantern? A plumpkin.
What do you call a ghost with a broken leg? A hoblin goblin.
Why wasn't there any food left after the monster party? Because everyone was a goblin!
What does a skeleton order at a restaurant? Spare ribs.
Why should a skeleton drink 10 glasses of milk a day? It's good for the bones.
Why don't skeletons like parties? They have no body to dance with.
Why did the witches' team lose the baseball game? Their bats flew away.
How does a witch tell time? She looks at her witch watch.
What was the witch's favorite subject in school? Spelling.
What's the problem with twin witches? You never know which witch is which.
What do ghosts serve for dessert? Ice Scream.
What did the mommy ghost say to the baby ghost? Don't spook until you're spoken to.
What did the mummy say to the detective? Let's wrap this case up.
What does the papa ghost say to his family when driving? Fasten your sheet belts.
What is a ghoul's favorite flavor? Lemon-slime.
What's a monster's favorite play? Romeo and Ghouliet. [See?--they're much more romantic than you'd guess.]
What's a haunted chicken? A poultry-geist.
What happened to the guy who couldn't keep up payments to his exorcist? He got repossessed.
What is a vampire's favorite holiday? Fangsgiving.
What is a vampire's favorite sport? Casketball.
What kind of streets do zombies like the best? Dead ends.
Who did Frankenstein take to the prom? His ghoul friend.
Why did the skeleton cross the road? To go to the body shop.
When does a skeleton laugh? When something tickles his funny bone.
What did the skeleton say to the bartender? I'll have two beers and a mop. [This is one of my very favorites—such a considerate skeleton!]
Where does Count Dracula usually eat his lunch? At the casketeria.
Who does Dracula get letters from? His fang club.
What has webbed feet, feathers, fangs and goes quack-quack? Count Duckula.
What do birds give out on Halloween night? Tweets. [And if you like, you're certainly free to "tweet" this whole collection!]
What do you call two spiders that just got married? Newlywebbed.
What do Italians eat on Halloween? Fettucinni Afraid-o.
What's it like to be kissed by a vampire? It's a pain in the neck.
How does a ghost say goodbye to a vampire? So long, sucker!
What do you call a witch's garage? A broom closet.
What do you give to a pumpkin trying to quit smoking? A pumpkin patch. [A toast to Linus here, please.]
How do monsters tell their future? They read their horrorscope.
How are vampires like false teeth? They both come out at night.
What's a vampire's favorite fruit? A necktarine
What is a vampire's favorite ice cream flavor? Veinilla.
What did the three vampires order at the bar? Two bloods and a blood light. [!!]
Why did the vampire go to the orthodontist? To improve his bite.
Who are some of the werewolves cousins? The whatwolves, the whowolves, and the whenwolves. [This is a no-brainer, right?!]
Why are most monsters covered in wrinkles? Have you ever tried to iron a monster?
Why do mummies have so much trouble keeping friends? They're too wrapped up in themselves.
Why don't mummies take vacations? They're afraid they'll relax and unwind.
[On the other hand] Where do mummies go for a swim? The dead sea.
Why do mummies make excellent spies? They're good at keeping things under wraps.
Why did the ghost go into the bar? For the Boos.
Why do ghosts like to ride elevators? It raises their spirits.
What's the favorite game at ghosts' birthday parties? Hide and Shriek.
Why did the game warden arrest the ghost? He didn't have a haunting license. [I assume the game warden must have been a ghost himself!]
What kind of monster is safe to put in a washing machine? A wash and wear wolf.
What do you get when you cross a black cat with a lemon. A sour-puss.
What do you get when you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter? Pumpkin Pi.
What do skeletons say before they begin dining? Bone appetit!
What happens when a ghost gets lost in the fog? He is mist.
Why don't angry witches ride their brooms? They're afraid of flying off the handle.
Who won the skeleton beauty contest? No body.
Where do baby ghosts go during the day? Dayscare centers.
What do you do when 50 zombies surround your house? [really, think about this one very carefully] . . . Hope that it's Halloween (!!!).
If human beings had genuine courage, they'd wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween. ~ Doug Coupland
. . . and especially,
"Today you can be Anything you imagine." ~ Anon
And maybe, just maybe, that's what this freakish, bizarre holiday is all about: To remind us to be adventurous, bold, daring—and not get trapped in the everyday routine of our "normal" identity.
NOTE 1: If this assemblage of witticisms tickles your, er-, funny bone, please pass it on. (Remember, in this all-too-serious world we need as many laughs as we can get.). Moreover, to explore in greater depth the anxiety-based foundation of this strange holiday, see my complementary post, "Halloween Quotes: What They Say About Our Fears."
NOTE 2: If you enjoyed this seasonal collection, you might wish to look at another—non-seasonal, "PG-rated"—post of mine entitled: "Wittiest Sex Quotes Ever."
© 2013 Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.