Tipping and Treating on Halloween

Tipping and Treating on Halloween


Advice guru Marnie Macauley has humorous and savvy solutions for Los Angeles singles as they prepare to celebrate Halloween.

Halloween Advice For Singles

yellowj / 123RF Photo

Halloween is upon us so what better time to tackle some tricky requests for relationship advice? The holiday seems to bring out the strange, screwy, and silly in some of us. So if you see a bewitching red-head, curls flying, circling with a petite broomstick, throw Godiva chocolate. Hey, in Land of Marnie that’s what brooms were made for, right?


Dear Marnie: My best friend and I are throwing a big Halloween bash this year at my place. We’re catering, hiring waitresses, a bartender and a pianist. At some recent parties, I’ve noticed a tip jar on the bar, the piano, etc. We disagree over this practice, so we agreed to leave it to you.  — In Need of a “Tip.”

MARNIE SAYS: Thank you for the honor of deciding and mostly for not telling me which of you had this spooky notion that would have your guests smashing pumpkins in your living room and decorating your door in Costco-size Charmin.

Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy:

* Mother of Devil Martinis! My First Rule of Home Entertaining: Don’t impose on your guests. If good buds want to potluck it, fine, but this craze of guest gifting, guest cooking, guest cleaning, and yes, guest tipping, is enough to drive the Sheen clan to Walden Pond.

* The Happy Host Doesn’t Take the Mostest. My Second Rule of Home Entertaining: It’s the host’s job to make the guests happy. Tip jars (and cash bars) are fine if it’s a fundraiser for a charity. But when you’re home-hosting, guests aren’t happy with guilt provoking glass tumblers that beckon, “pay me” when they want a hard cider or a scary rendition of Feelings. (Ok, so it’s redundant.) If a guest gets the urge to tip because he keeps yelling “one more time” it should be optional.

* Before those readers who rely on tips fling that glass tumbler at me, I hear you. A tip is important. Include it in your bill to the host. If you’re the host, tip them well for good service. And you can allow them to discreetly display their cards … and feed them!

Trust me. Letting your guests enjoy your party without putting money in a tip jar adds a touch of class.


Dear Marnie: I’m a single mom of a 4-year-old son. My mother and I are having an argument that probably sounds silly. My son wants to go trick-or-treating as a Power Puff Girl. My mom is crazy upset. She wants him to go as a pirate, a fireman, or an astronaut − in other words, something masculine. We’ve agreed to let you settle it. — Concerned Single Mom

MARNIE SAYS: There you go, asking an old advice duenna about a pop culture thing I know less about than knuckle rings. But always ready to serve, I looked up these Puff people on the net (don’t ever make me do this again — without those Godivas) and it seems to me they bear a strong resemblance to alien bees. However, from your tone, I assume your mother is concerned that today a Power Puff, tomorrow a “powder puff.”

Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy:

* Tell your mom to come over. Both of you, calm yourselves. Let’s get this “costume” out of the way first. You’re thinking of these Puffers as “girls” because you’re grown-ups. Quit it. A 4-year-old boy would have trouble nailing their species, never mind their gender. Plus, these characters have more raw ’tude than the Fantastic Four! Boys must be buying it or they wouldn’t have cartoon-film-merchandising revenues rivaling the GNP of Kazakhstan. Feel better?

* The Real Fear: Is your son feminine or destined to be gay? If your concern is based solely on this costume choice, hopefully we’ve taken care of that. If not, where is this worry truly coming from? Ask yourself if there are other things about the boy you question, for example, his choice of playthings, friends, or his attitudes and mannerisms? List each quality or behavior you question. Be very candid and make separate lists.

* Who’s got the problem? Next to each item on your list, add your reasons and expectations. For example: ITEM: “He runs to Mommy when he’s hurt.”  EXPECTATION: “I think that means he’s a sissy.” Compare lists and then challenge those expectations! Are they stereotypes? Do they even make sense? When you see them in black and white, you may realize it’s your assumptions that are getting to you, not your son’s behavior.

* Make an issue and you’ll be creating one. If he’s going out with older kids who might tease him, casually show him some other fun costumes he can choose from. (I suggest putting him in a warm bath and sending him out as a California raisin.) If he refuses, let it go.

* Most important, at his age, you can’t predict his sexuality or gender issues. The only thing your hand-wringing will bring are doubts, fears, secrets and shame, which will do your son more harm than if he dressed like Rainbow Brite and jumped out of Bridal Barbie’s wedding cake.

Hey, he’s four! In the whole of my vast experience, I’ve never once observed a toddler “change teams” later in life because of his early “uniform.”  Contrary to the old maxim, clothes do not “make” the man, sensible parenting does.


Dear Marnie: I am an artist. I spend most of my time alone creating, working hard hoping to get some recognition. There’s going to be a showing on Halloween of my dark art collection, but I probably won’t go. I’ve seemed to have lost my feelings about socializing, meeting women and dating! Art has become my life. What can I do? — Kavou

MARNIE SAYS:  Where is it written an artist must have two table settings, 2.1 dogs or attend 3.6 parties with a female draped around his canvass?  That’s the stuff of pencil pushers not painters.

Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy:

* Why do ANYTHING, Kavou?  If your libido passes your “heart” and goes straight to your art so good — paint, sculpt, and chisel!

* Trust nature, babe. Sooner or later those juices will probably flow to other parts of your anatomy, and you’ll heed the call of the wild then.

* Art galleries. Yes. Go. Not only will you meet a kindred soul, she may actually warm up a can of Spaghettios for the poor struggling artiste (or better yet, beluga) — or better still, beg for the privilege of becoming your patroness.

By the way … love your name. I can wait to buy a “Kavou” to replace that velvet Elvis on my wall!

Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2013 Singular Communications, LLC

Marnie MacauleyAdvice guru Marnie Winston-Macauley — therapist, author, speaker — has been a radio, TV, and syndicated advice columnist and counselor for over 20 years. Witty, wise and totally irreverent with a self-professed loathing for psychobabble, she’s written over 20 books and calendars, along with  hundreds of relationship columns and features for prominent publications.  She has her MS degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.  In media, her work has garnered her Emmy and Writer’s Guild Best Writing nominations. She is widowed and now living single. For personal advice, you can also find Marnie Macauley on Liveperson.com or on Presto Experts. She invites you to join her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 
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