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Overall, last year was pretty good for me.

It was the first year back to haunting as my primary project for the year after several years of remodeling and a year of unemployment, and first year of what I intend to be a 3 year theme/project (knowing me it'll end up more like 8 years, but whatever)

For those not familiar, the night before Halloween is our party, and has really become the focus of my Halloween celebrations. It's nothing 'big', and yet it IS. The neighbors come over and help carve 100-150 pumpkins for the yard. We have pizza, doughnuts, and hot cocoa, and everything gets lit at night, but there's no animatronics, music, or actors that evening and much kinder on the wee ones.





Every year, I've posted this thing on facebook, shared it around to friends, and passed out ~400 fliers to the neighborhood. We generally get 150-200 people, and it works well.

This year a couple things conspired together.

For some reason, the Facebook post blew up. It got shared to a local group and then to a news site, and we had over 15k respond via Facebook. I was suddenly having people running businesses contact me trying to get involved with the party. Everything from asking how many booths we sell (none) to questions about parking(none) and price (free). It got confused as a city thing instead of my neighborhood thing. To the point I actually had the city event manager ask me about adding it to the city event calendar. (NO)

And then the WEATHER. Record cold. As in, I had brought the pumpkins into the garage the night before the party. Kids would take the pumpkin out, and they were getting frozen by the time they were done carving. This had an interesting effect, really, with the ice crystals formed from freezing, you could tell how early or how late the pumpkins were carved when we lit them, with early carvings becoming completely translucent.



BUUUUT...many, many area activities were cancelled because of the cold. Day of the party, I had people contacting me wanting to bring their businesses in to participate because other venues closed. (for one example as cool as it would have been to have the horses painted up to look like skeletons giving rides to kids around the neighborhood, I don't think people planned on bringing money for that).

So, we were very nervous going in. Would the weather keep people away? Would the lack of options make us too crowded?

We did purchase a little extra food just in case, and for 90% of the night, everything went great. We were a little more crowded, but not terrible. There was enough. It was C O L D, but people came.

By 8, given the weather, Everyone had gone home to get home and I was out sweeping up pumpkin seeds and picking up the tables. My wife had taken the kids in to finish homework. When 2 cars pulled up.

Officially, we go till 9, and some years we're hanging out with people that late. They come up and immediately complained the pizza was gone. Their kids started stomping on props, and I would later come to find out the adults had gone and dragged off 5 dozen doughnuts, and a box of my knives and lights while I was policing their kids. ( we usually hand out leftover doughnuts on Halloween night). They were older lights, and the knives are easily replaced, and the doughnuts were there to be handed out...But, longer it's gone, the more this has bothered me. To the point where it's beginning to drain my desire. I tell myself it was one random group of assholes, but I feel I need to come up with a plan to limit this in the future as well.

Anyone have similar issues in the past? How do you deal with such people?
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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TL/DL: Tell them to leave. You were cleaning up, so I would have told them to leave. They missed the main festivities and as soon as they turned their jerk kids loose, first complaint, and tried to stomp on the props, I'd have started yelling WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? YOU NEED TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW.

Tell the PARENTS this was not a public event - this is YOUR HOUSE and you had a gathering for family/friends and neighbors and someone put it on the news and things got out of hand. This is PRIVATE PROPERTY and they are not welcome. Get pics of car/plates, get ready to call the cops and ask them to remove some strangers that are stealing/tresspassing if they don't immediately leave.

Who the #[email protected]% shows up uninvited based on a social media post, then complains, steals food and decorations from a person's house at a party? Absolute trash, that's who. So I would have made sure to get ANGRY and make sure they don't come back. (this would be different if they'd been nice, not tried to destroy/steal things and showed up with everyone else - but really, screw these kind of people - they are jerks and need to be told they are being jerks)

I would not broadcast the event again on FB or similar unless you put in there it's for " Unorthodox neighborhood, friends and family" but set it as a private event in the future. No more "all welcome" so it hopefully won't be picked up by the news or go viral again. :(


I am so sorry this happened to you. I would probably go non-public on all your posts for the next year or two just to ensure this doesn't happen again. There are so many trashy jerkwads out there that could do things like this. What if they demanded to go inside to use the bathroom or "warm up" - you'd have to deal with strangers trying to steal inside your house even...
 

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TL/DL: Tell them to leave. You were cleaning up, so I would have told them to leave. They missed the main festivities and as soon as they turned their jerk kids loose, first complaint, and tried to stomp on the props, I'd have started yelling WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? YOU NEED TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW.

Tell the PARENTS this was not a public event - this is YOUR HOUSE and you had a gathering for family/friends and neighbors and someone put it on the news and things got out of hand. This is PRIVATE PROPERTY and they are not welcome. Get pics of car/plates, get ready to call the cops and ask them to remove some strangers that are stealing/tresspassing if they don't immediately leave.

Who the #[email protected]% shows up uninvited based on a social media post, then complains, steals food and decorations from a person's house at a party? Absolute trash, that's who. So I would have made sure to get ANGRY and make sure they don't come back. (this would be different if they'd been nice, not tried to destroy/steal things and showed up with everyone else - but really, screw these kind of people - they are jerks and need to be told they are being jerks)

I would not broadcast the event again on FB or similar unless you put in there it's for " Unorthodox neighborhood, friends and family" but set it as a private event in the future. No more "all welcome" so it hopefully won't be picked up by the news or go viral again. :(


I am so sorry this happened to you. I would probably go non-public on all your posts for the next year or two just to ensure this doesn't happen again. There are so many trashy jerkwads out there that could do things like this. What if they demanded to go inside to use the bathroom or "warm up" - you'd have to deal with strangers trying to steal inside your house even...

Yeah, I hear a lot of that. It's been on my mind for months.

Problem was it was an open invitation bring your friends wording, both online and the flier, so that's something I got to find a way to rework in the future. But...10th year doing this and first such problem. I'm not a facebook expert by any stretch, and really need to figure that out for next year or just not put it on there.

Second was I specifically had the time stated til 9, so didn't feel like I could just say 'no we're finished'. I really didn't mind them coming that late, until the other antics. I think I'm going to tighten that well down though, to ending at 7:30 or even 8. If people are still there, they can linger fine, but anyone just showing up gets what they get or can be told to bugger off. I do think if these folks had shown up when a crowd was there, the situation would have policed itself just fine.

I did get after the kids when they started stomping on things, and was ushering them back to the parents, but 5 kids vs me is herding cats, and parents were in the back by the fires (not unusual for the night, really), me/kids in the front, so not like it was a convenient tell them all off at once. I ushered the kids back to the fire and hot chocolate figuring that was the end of it, and I could be annoyed with brats because some people's kids, you know. I didn't really know about the adult shenanigans until later in the night when my wife asked what happened to the 5 boxes that were still out when she went in.

It's funny you mention the 'warm up'. They did the potty break before we leave thing, and I was policing the kids inside. I'm sure that's when the parents took everything they thought they could sneak outside.

(I might go rent an outhouse again as well, we had one for 3 years due to the construction, and it was NICE)
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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oh man... they were there to take advantage and likely would have grabbed whole/multiple boxes of pizza as well if you'd had them left. Just because you had an "open" invite or set a time on your party... doesn't mean you have to hold to it. Even public events/businesses can do that so you're not out of line as a private individual to change any of the rules if you want. You're allowed to change parameters if things get out of hand, weather/circumstances change, just plain want to, or in your case all that AND a reasonable local invite went city-wide viral. You didn't intend to invite the entire town, right? You owed them NOTHING. You were providing a free event out of your pocket and they weren't even supposed to be invited... they were party crashers.


You can always, ALWAYS say no. No, the party is over early because the weather is too cold. No, you weren't invited and this was supposed to be for family & friends. No, you can't go in my house to use the bathroom - there's a store/shopping center right down the street - and I want you to get off my property.

We're trained that it's not polite to say no. You extend invites to people and most of the time... people are nice and things go fine.

But these were not nice people. They would have been kicked out of a public event for doing the same thing. The idea that they weren't on their best behavior coming to someone's PRIVATE RESIDENCE based on a viral post? Oh hell no. You owed them NOTHING.

It's because you are a kind, good person and this event is meaningful to you and your family that you tried to be accommodating. It really really sucks that there are people out there that prey on those that are kind and giving. That's all this boils down to.
 

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Oh man, that makes my blood boil. How horrible for something like that to get so out of control. I would be like the previous reply and want to tell them to eff off, but you are awesome, and most people are appreciative of things like what you do. I am sorry some asshats took advantage of your generosity. Don't let that ruin it for you though. Maybe it's better to bring it back to just a neighborhood/word of mouth type event. Social media brings out some crappy people. Hope things are better this year! Take care
 

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Jumpin' Jack Flash
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i can't say i've ever had this problem (i have enough problem getting friends to come to my party, much less the whole town), but all of the above, seconded. you didn't owe anybody anything. i understand wanting to be easy to get along with--you don't want to have an open party and then just be a dictator about everything. but you have to have limits, and the bigger this type of thing gets, the more restrictive those limits should get. you can maybe put up with more out of 10 people than you can out of 100.

and anything goes missing again, go to the police, regardless of how small or replaceable. if it's somewhat insignificant items, the police may not do a lot, but at least make a report. theft is theft.
 

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Jumpin' Jack Flash
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oh, and my opinion applies to the businesses getting involved too. maybe they didn't understand what the event was, but the part about the calls asking for booth space made me about as mad as the part about the a-hole family.
 

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Wow am I glad I have a party just for IRL friends. They all know, yes they can bring someone but if the new person acts like an ass I will eject them with extreme prejudice.

I think next year you need to keep a tighter lid on it. Make it invite only and let people you invite invite other people on Facebook for instance.
 

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I think next year you need to keep a tighter lid on it. Make it invite only and let people you invite invite other people on Facebook for instance.
So, some info about my unique area.

First of all Utah.

The first challenge here in Utah is always The Church. The Mormon church is organized into "Stakes" and "Wards", and for a large portion of the population the ward becomes your circle of friends, with a few stake people thrown in sometimes. Generally speaking, these folks might know a few folks outside the church, but for the most part (more so for the older generations), Ward = friends.

Now, my unique location has me on the border of 4 wards and 2 stakes, so I've always had a rather unique challenge in notifying people to begin with, hence the original bring everyone wording.

I didn't want this affiliated with just the church either, and thus the blanket flier distribution instead of posting to the various ward newsletters.

Second, economic divide.

Step out my front door. To the right there is new housing HOA area, fairly expensive for the area. To the left there is older economy housing, and a little down the street duplexes and even an apartment complex. I'm firmly in the middle. The neighborhood to the left is often shifting, and 'word of mouth' doesn't work so well over there as a result.

My organizing this way has actually brought people together legitimately. The first few years, I'd have church members pull me aside and ask how on earth I was getting 2 stakes and approximately 50% non members all together at a gathering. (I invited them and it has nothing to do with religion, shocking, I know) I've seen so many meet their own neighbors at my party, and had many mentions how wonderful it is that this thing is the only time of the year to see such a wide swath of people gather together.


FWIW, the trouble people were from a town a good 20 minutes away to boot.

Yeah, I probably gotta kill the facebook...or make that part private (figure out how), as that's mostly for folks that have moved away and still want to come to be honest. The flyers I'm doing the same way.
 

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So sorry you have to deal with jerks, my suggestions for dealing with, and avoiding jerks.

Make sure you have good friends or neighbors with you while your party is going on. You can tell first tell them politely that their actions or demeanor are not welcome, if they don't come off too strong at first. If they start becoming more rowdy or immediately start exhibiting destructive behavior, I would raise my voice. If it's really bad, I would yell "STOP" with as much volume and projection as I could possibly muster up. This should cause two reactions. The offender(s) should be shocked at your immediate reaction, and second it should get the attention of your other friends that are in the area. Your friends should come to your assistance and put further pressure on them to leave. If none of that works and they still carry on, or as a second option, pull out your video camera and start recording. If they ask what your doing, tell them your recording them to put on youtube, or if it's criminal like vandalism, your recording it to turn over the the police.

As far as avoiding it, I try to limit my invites to my house to people that I know or people the invitees know. If its in a public place, I will open the invite to everyone. When the party starts to slow down or it gets late, move it to the backyard or garage and do not let anyone else come in unless they are known.

As a rule, I trust nobody (unless they are a really good friend). This means limit access to your house or any area that you have valuables. If someone needs to use the restroom, either explain beforehand that restrooms are not accessible, or have a direct path to the restroom and they are not allowed to access any other portion of the house. Locked doors limiting access are the best. Keep anything of value locked up or not easily accessible.

Some of this sounds extreme, but when you have open invitations for people you know, or even people you think you know, they may take advantage of your kindness. You never know who may be over scoping out your place to see what items you have that might look good in their place or for a quick buck. This is coming from a voice of experience.
 

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The event sounds just great! What a good idea. It seems there will always be someone who will do something that could ruin it for the rest. Fortunately they came late. I agree that you may want to keep the information less wide spread so not posting on FB is probably good. You could consider making the time frame more flexible so you would feel more comfortable wrapping up early and sending people home if they come late. In my neighborhood there is a police officer who lives down the street, so maybe you could have someone like that around kind of informally who could bring some official authority to bear if something got out of hand. Maybe even letting the local precinct know that the event was going on so they could cruise by once in a while. To me, bottom line is it is your house and your party and you have the ultimate authority to ask people to leave or behave in a more appropriate way. However, confronting this type of individual can give rise to issues as they obviously do not adhere to the same norms you and your neighbors do, so you don't know what might ensue, hense my thoughts about police being informed. You could also include a short list of rules/guidelines with your flyer just to give yourself a way to address inappropriate behavior. I hope you don't give it up, it really does sound terrific.
 

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Blue Pill? or Red Pill?
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I hate to say it. But I don't advertise. My "invites" go old fashioned way by mail, keeps it somewhat contained. Usually the extra people we get are friends of our sons, and one time, our sons' marching highschool band kids came - it seemed like all of them! Well, needless to say there were no leftovers (which was fine) and they were a great group of kids. I invite our block of neighbors, (so no complaints, no complaints on parking etc).
 
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