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After the potluck Saturday night, I followed a foggy mist to the location of the second party, a townhouse in my neighborhood. Once inside, I could see that my friend Heather and her cohorts had transformed the garage into a dungeon, set up a DJ booth in the corner of the living room, and prepared Jell-O shooters in the kitchen. You don't need to be wearing a witch hat to appreciate that (though I have one, just in case).

Every weekend offers an opportunity for me to dress sexy, wacky, or wild, so I've taken the October holiday back to basics. Used to be, I'd have to be someone else to get candy. Now all I have to do is hang around and mooch from friends and family who have embraced the spirit of the season by giving out cavities and calories free of charge. I have enough candy to last me a few months. But I must don my blood-red feather hat, my four-inch heeled black leather boots, my silver-studded corset (subdued by a sheer black blouse), and a spiky collar (effective for warding off vampiric assaults). October may be over, but the cashiers at my local Vons are used to seeing me this way.

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