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What's Your Halloween Giveaway Strategy?

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Here's a re-post of a Halloween favorite from last year. Be sure to check out the comments!

Although I haven't gone trick-or-treating for almost two decades, I still remember the greedy delight I took in collecting, cataloging, and ultimately bingeing on Halloween candy each year. Now that I'm officially some sort of grownup, I feel it's important to consider my Halloween Giveaway Strategy -- in other words, fit myself into the landscape of treat givers that I remember from back in the day.


These are the archetypes I remember:

The One Piece of Candy Per Kid Rule (aka The Walter Sobchak "There Are Rules" Approach). This method generally involves a big bowl of "fun size" goodies monitored by a stern taskmaster. Each child follows the universally agreed-upon process of saying "trick or treat?" and his or her hand is allowed to grasp a single treat from the bowl. Any child attempting multiple treats is immediately disciplined/shamed.

The Monty Hall Mom. These folks generally go for a bit more costume-related chat, then offer a "handful" of candy, which makes it a game of skill for kids with little hands. Strategy is key -- using a scooping method can yield more candy than closing your fist around the goodies.

The Absentee Landlord (aka the Leave Me Alone Family). These people leave a tray of stuff by their front door, sometimes with some lame rule (like "take only one, please!") on a sign. Because of the inherent greed issues here (see: tragedy of the commons), the goodies are usually apples or something equally disappointing.

I Got a RockThe Fruit Peddler. I really wish there was some kind of hobo code for kids to identify these houses. At best, you get an apple, tangerine, or box of raisins. At worst, you get a weird lecture about how fruit is better than candy. (On the bright side, when you grow up you'll sort of understand. But you'll never forgive.)

Here's a Nickel, Go Buy Yourself a Clue. These people give you money -- in pitiably small quantities. Perhaps they're hoping you'll start a college fund. In my day the going rate was a nickel. Do kids get quarters now?

The Slightly Unsettling Proselytizer. I only encountered this once, when trick-or-treating in a fancy neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida -- but it has stuck with me. My fellow trick-or-treaters and I were greeted at the door by a smiley couple who gave us full-sized candy bars with Jack Chick tracts wrapped around them.

The "I'm Totally Not Home" Guy. Dude, we see that your TV is on in your otherwise darkened house...couldn't you just leave some candy by the door?!

So let's have it. What's your Halloween Giveaway strategy? And I'm also dying to know: what candy/fruit/money/tracts are you giving away this year?

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fun
New Tolkien-Themed Botany Book Describes the Plants of Middle-Earth
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While reading The Lord of the Rings saga, it's hard not to notice J.R.R. Tolkien’s clear love of nature. The books are replete with descriptions of lush foliage, rolling prairies, and coniferous forests. A new botany book builds on that knowledge. Entertainment Weekly reports that Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium provides fantasy-loving naturalists with a round-up of plants that grow in Middle-earth.

Written by University of Florida botanist Walter Judd, the book explores the ecology, etymology, and importance of over 160 plants. Many are either real—coffee, barley, wheat, etc.—or based on real-life species. (For example, pipe-weed may be tobacco, and mallorns are large trees similar to beech trees.)

Using his botany background, Judd explores why Tolkien may have felt compelled to include each in his fantasy world. His analyses are paired with woodcut-style drawings by artist Graham Judd, which depict Middle-earth's flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and shrubs in their "natural" environments.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

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Pop Culture
IKEA Publishes Instructions for Turning Rugs Into Game of Thrones Capes
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HBO

Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced, but even the crew of the hit HBO series isn’t above using an humble IKEA hack behind the scenes. According to Mashable, the fur capes won by Jon Snow and other members of the Night’s Watch on the show are actually sheepskin rugs sold by the home goods chain.

The story behind the iconic garment was first revealed by head costume designer Michele Clapton at a presentation at Los Angeles’s Getty Museum in 2016. “[It’s] a bit of a trick,” she said at Designing the Middle Ages: The Costumes of GoT. “We take anything we can.”

Not one to dissuade customers from modifying its products, IKEA recently released a cape-making guide in the style of its visual furniture assembly instructions. To start you’ll need one of their Skold rugs, which can be bought online for $79. Using a pair of scissors cut a slit in the material and make a hole where your head will go. Slip it on and you’ll look ready for your Game of Thrones debut.

The costume team makes a few more changes to the rugs used on screen, like shaving them, adding leather straps, and waxing and “frosting” the fur to give it a weather-worn effect. Modern elements are used to make a variety of the medieval props used in Game of Thrones. The swords, for example, are made from aircraft aluminum, not steel. For more production design insights, check out these behind-the-scenes secrets of Game of Thrones weapons artists.

[h/t Mashable]

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