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Young kids reading a book next to a skeleton
No one asked this question, but I do not recommend having your young kids read next to a skeleton. It's gonna cost you a lot in therapy bills later on.

It’s the Return of the Halloween Helpline! Quelling Your Halloween Conundrums

You asked me your scary Halloween Q's, I give you scary A's

Neil Patrick Harris is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wondercade. In his spare time he also acts — fairly well, too, as his Tony and Emmy Awards can attest.

October 19, 2023 4:07 pm

In last week’s Wondercade newsletter (which you should subscribe to here, like, right now), I asked you all to hit me up with your top questions about Halloween, and it’s time to unleash my ghoulish guidance onto the masses. We’re gonna open up the mailbag, and maybe also the portal to the fifth dimension/the witches’ realm/hell. Could be fun, could be catastrophic. Let’s do it. (Questions lightly edited for length and clarity.) -NPH

Is a onesie a costume or just pajamas? I’m fighting with my spouse about it. I think I can wear my Winnie-the-Pooh onesie as a costume. It’s a costume. It’s a very comfy costume. I’m right, right? —Joel

Does said onesie have a butt flap? If yes, costume. If no, pajamas. And I’m glad you brought up butt flaps (did you?). They’re great: stylish, evocative and practical. Someone really needs to bring back the butt flap (Kanye?). They’d make an assload of money.

This Halloween will be my 10th wedding anniversary to my wonderful husband that agreed to elope on my favorite holiday with about two hours’ notice. (A 1-year-old Charlie Brown was one of our three witnesses at the courthouse!) But despite getting married on and loving Halloween, we’ve never actually done anything truly “special” to mark the day. How can I make it a special or unique year, while staying within some limitations of cost/time?

Can’t wait to see the family costume this year! —Kalyn

OMG, love. You got married on Halloween?! Weddings are already kinda scary, so hopefully yours wasn’t too frightful. (Or, I guess, I hope it was, depending on what you were going for?) Also, what was your costume?! I’m so curious. Please tell me it was a bridezilla. (See below for the visual that just popped into my head.) And…eloped? On two hours’ notice?! I can’t even get out of bed with two hours’ notice. (David cooking something bacon-related downstairs usually speeds things up, though. Love bacon. Second favorite meat to put in my mouth.) Anywho, your anniversary: The 10-year celebratory gift is tin or aluminum. So you could buy a huge, industrial roll of tinfoil and dress up as the Tin Man. Or buy golden foil and go as C-3PO. How about giant Campbell’s soup cans? Foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists? The couple that shields their brainwaves from government interference together…stays together. Or they join a cult. Please don’t join a cult.

Blow up dinosaur wearing veil on rainy street
Please please please please tell me Kalyn dressed up like this for her Halloween wedding
Wondercade, Pexels, Getty

I know you hear it all the time, but Wondercade is wonderful; thanks for putting it out there for all of us! I have a 15-year-old daughter and she’s struggling to find a Halloween costume this year. Her friends all want to dress up as sexy (insert any profession here), and she’s not comfortable with it — but she is still in the “I must fit in and not stand out” stage of adolescence. Any advice from the Kings of Halloween — and parents! — Neil and David would be greatly appreciated! Happy Halloween! —Meredith

Thanks, Meredith! So, as a father whose daughter just turned 13 last week (my son did too, twins are magic like that), this is one I haven’t yet faced, but might soon. So my answer is given more in my role as a parent than as the Kings of Halloween, aka the Greatest Pumpkins.

This one’s tricky, because you don’t want to quash your daughter’s creativity or put her in an awkward position with her pals. But here goes…. Your daughter could pick a profession for her costume like her friends, but swap “sexy” for something more clever: a vampire hematologist who sucks her patients’ blood, a werewolf who’s a hairdresser, a meteorologist who gives an accurate forecast (Boom!). LikeIsland of Misfit Toysbut make it scary. That way, she can still roll with her friends, but subtly one-up them with a more creative costume that people will actually remember. Slay, girl, slay.

How old is too old to trick-or-treat? Also, Halloween day or Halloween week? And how long can you justify wearing a costume? —Bea

Answer to question number 1: Hmmmmm. Some say if you’re old enough to drive then it’s time to turn in your trick-or-treater card, but ya know what I say? Things aren’t that cut and dried! (Except for jerky. Or pressed flowers. Or Buffalo Bill’s victims’ skin.) Maybe you’re a high schooler trick-or-treating for UNICEF, or an older Halloween lover tagging along with a kid or sibling, or a wise-cracking octogenarian who wants to dress up as Dumbledore or Miss Marple. For me, as long as you’re not being creepy, and if you’re willing to traipse door to door in the cold in a costume, I’m givin’ ya a mini Krackel bar at the absolute minimum. Answer to number 2: Neither. Halloween month. Answer to number 3: I mean, again…is a butt flap involved? May as well never take it off, IMHO.

Older woman dressed up for Halloween standing in kitchen
Calling for a petition to make adult trick-or-treating a thing!
Getty, Wondercade

Love your newsletters!! Got your wine box, and it’s excellent! We all geek out about you!
My question is: have you ever been to a psychic? And if so, did they say anything that freaked you out? I grew up hanging around Salem and being exposed to all things witchy, intuitive and tarot!!

Cheers! Happy Halloween! —Lisamarie

I have gone to a psychic before, yes. But as a magician, I’m far too aware of their methods, whether they be cold reading, suggestion, covert researching, stooging, see-through blindfolds, etc. Psychics are hogwash, and the more they claim to be real, the more offensive they are. That said, they do have cool accessories. Who doesn’t love a crystal ball? Or a Ouija board? Or a bejeweled turban? Other than that, utter bunk.

This is so cool, because as I was reading Wondercade and you started enthusing about Halloween, I started thinking about the following question, knowing that it would cause an issue in the house. Then — in the next sentence — you invited people to email. Permit me an enthused “yay!”

So, here we go…. My wife Jo and I both love Halloween. We live in a 3-storey Victorian house in the U.K. which looks as spooky as all get-go 365 days of the year, but we really like to lean into it on October 31st (and a couple of days either side of it too!). However, we have differing opinions as to how the decorations should look.

My wife likes cute ghosts, friendly witches and a trick-or-treat experience that is like a pumpkin-spiced hug.

I want to create nightmares. I have a smoke machine, a projection of a demon lady for the attic window which can be seen from the street, and screams which are activated as people approach the house. I want the trick-or-treat experience to be a rite of passage.

Who is right here? Should Halloween be inflatable cuddly vampires, or the fuel of cold sweats for weeks to come?

Yours, with much love,

I think of Halloween as having both a light side and a dark side, just the way humans do. Or Jedi. Or the moon. Or my pancakes. My opinion: there’s room for both the cute and the creepy. In fact, why not both? I love things that combine the two, like The Nightmare Before Christmas or a blobfishSo, you guys could scare the pants off your trick-or-treaters with your display, but then balance it out with adorable costumes — say, Raggedy Ann and Andy, or a fairy and a puppy dog. Everything in balance. (‘Cept eating Reese’s and vegetables in equal measure, ‘cause eff it. It’s Halloween.)

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