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I didn't get invited to a single party on Halloween. Maybe that's because it fell on Sunday and everyone had their parties on Friday and Saturday. I went to about ten different ones and figured I'd write about two this week and two more next week. Writing about the parties any later would be getting close to Thanksgiving and Christmas.The first party I went to was in Clairemont the week before Halloween. I asked Randy, the host, why so early? He said, "Next weekend I'm going to a wedding. And I had tickets for the Chargers-Raiders game I had to get rid of. I made sure a Raiders fan didn't get them."

I was thinking the Raiders fans, with all those masks and makeup they wear, only look normal on Halloween. A perfect day for the matchup at Qualcomm. And this is one of the rare times the Chargers have a good chance of winning; as I'm writing this, the Chargers just won, 42 to 14.

Randy was dressed as Padre pitcher David Wells. I told him I thought it would've been funny to have a cast on his hand, since Wells broke his hand while chasing a friend around a bar and falling on the bottle of beer he was holding.

His wife came over in a panic. "There's no ice." Randy said, "Yeah, in the freezer." She said it was gone and he quickly left to pick some up.

They may have run out of ice, but everything else was perfect for this party. The living room was turned into a dance club. There were colored lights, strobe lights, loud music, a smoke machine, and Halloween decorations all over the walls. In the dining room, a casket with a skeleton inside it sat atop the pool table. There were candles everywhere, tombstones in the back yard, and two different fire pits. Randy told me, "Last year, we had fires going all night. In the morning my dog woke me up at 5:00 a.m. I noticed all the ashes everywhere. I thought we had burned a lot more wood than I thought. I fell back asleep. Then, when I woke up, I saw the news. All the ashes in my back yard were from those fires that were burning up the city, not from my party."

And on the subject of fires, one guy at this party was dressed up as a firefighter. He was getting really drunk and rowdy. A few times he tried to take my camera, saying, "Give me that damn camera!" I saw him peeing in the back-yard bushes more than once. One person walked by and said, "Are you trying to put something out that way?" Another time, he went to the bar, grabbed some vodka, and started drinking it straight out of the bottle.

The setup at the bar was great, with a gal behind it fixing any drink you wanted. And the bar looked stocked. I saw bottles of every different kind of booze imaginable. They did run out of vodka at around 11:30. I suspect that had to be, in large part, because of the firefighter.

People were dressed in every kind of costume imaginable. I saw an Elvis. Later, when I saw another person wearing the Elvis sunglasses, it wasn't until I got closer that I realized he was Kid Rock. There was a couple who looked cute in their king and queen playing-card costumes. One guy said to the king, "Shouldn't you be wearing the queen of hearts costume?"

One guy was dressed as the game Twister. Another man was dressed as a baby, with a pacifier around his neck. He and I started talking about the Chargers. He went into how he hates the prevent defense that coach Schottenheimer plays, and his wife said to me, "How can you take him seriously when he's dressed like that?"

The guy then told me we had talked football at an OMBAC party once, but he never saw our conversation appear in the story. He then said, "The name is Russ Hollingsworth. Should I spell the last name?" I think I passed the blame onto the editors.

One lady came over in a cute costume. She said, "Don't tell anyone, but I bought this at Wal-Mart." She was dressed as a cowboy, but there was a horse attached to her, which made it look as if she was riding it. I said, "I know this is probably rude to say, but the horse costume makes your butt look big." She laughed and said, "Good. Everyone complains I have no ass. Now I do." One guy pointed out, "But it's not as cute with a tail dangling from it." When her daughter came over, dressed in military gear with rainbows painted on her cheeks, she said, "Mom, stop being a horse's ass."

They were taking $5 donations for this party, but with all the food and drink, I figured it was still costing Randy a lot. I asked him and he said, "It probably cost between $2500 and $3000 to throw this party; I'm not sure."

I noticed that most of my pictures weren't turning out. The two different smoke machines kept the house hazy. One couple who were dressed as warriors were nice enough to let me try to snap their photos seven or eight times. She was wearing this steel-looking chest plate that showed a lot of cleavage. As we munched on cupcakes in the kitchen, I asked, "Will your husband ask you to wear that tonight?" She laughed, and as she threw her cupcake away, she said, "The great thing about eating cupcakes at parties, you can just eat the top part with the frosting. At home, I wouldn't want to waste it. I'm the same with muffins. I just eat the top of the muffin." Her husband laughed and said, "Top o' the muffin to ya."

I got to my next party around midnight. It was a birthday party; a handful of people were in costume, mostly girls who wanted to look cute. There was a Little Bo Peep and a French maid. I asked one woman if she was a female Elvis. She laughed and said, "No. I'm supposed to be Cher."

One guy was wearing a white shirt, a long black tie, and a bicycle helmet. He was carrying a Bible and would occasionally talk to people about God. I heard one woman ask, "Is he really religious?" Her friend had to explain, "He's supposed to be one of those Mormons, you moron. That's his costume."

Most of the guys were just in jeans and T-shirts. And they were all crowded in the back yard to see the band Hornswaggled. I had seen this band at The Blvd. in San Marcos and they impressed me. Since I heard the music all the way down the street in this Mira Mesa neighborhood, I was surprised the cops weren't here. Well, two songs later, the cops showed up.I was surprised when one officer walked in and started screaming. I heard him yell, "I'm not gonna say this shit twice! The party's over. Everyone get lost." As people scrambled out of there, another officer nicely asked for the owner of the house. I said, "Is that Jack?" The officer said, "I'm Jack, and I'd like to talk to the owner of the house." As the owner of the house stepped forward, a drunk guy on the front lawn was yelling at the cops. "Go ahead, arrest me then." He stuck his arms out as if he wanted to be handcuffed. After five minutes of him yelling at the cops and a few people in the kitchen contemplating whether or not to go out and get him, the cops arrested him. As an officer drove off with him in the backseat, I could see him still screaming and bobbing his head.

I went to talk to Jack, the officer I knew. I asked him what the noise laws were. He said, "Basically, a neighbor can't have their peace disturbed. Now, if the neighbor works nights and is sleeping during the day, and they complain about a lawn mower at two in the afternoon, that's too bad for him. But if somebody is mowing their lawn at 2:00 a.m., we'll make the guy stop. I've driven by some parties that were really loud and crazy. But if none of the neighbors complain, I won't stop. Once somebody says they are bothered, we show up. And if we show up a second time, the owner of the house can be charged. When we tell them that, usually the party ends."

As we talked, one guy stumbled out to his truck and got inside. Another officer walked up to him and asked if he was planning to drive in that condition. The guy opened the door and puked near the cop's shoe. Jack looked at me and said, "Aren't you going to take a picture of that?" I laughed. And as the guy puked a second time, the officer said, "If you don't go back inside, I'll arrest you for public drunkenness." The guy walked inside. Another car was blocking the driveway. A guy couldn't get his car out and kept yelling for the car owner to move his car. Finally, he decided to drive his car across the front lawn and over the sidewalk and curb. The officers just watched as he drove away.

I overheard the guys from Hornswaggled talking as they broke down their equipment. One said, "We're like the five-song bandits, dude. We always seem to get five songs in, then the cops show up and bust everyone." I asked the drummer if all bands get shut down at house parties. He said, "When there is more than one band, there never seems to be a problem. But when we are the only band, that's when we usually get shut down."

Before I left, I took one look around the place. The back yard was a muddy mess from the recent rains and everyone standing out there to watch the band. The table was filled with empty beer bottles and Halloween candy, which some guests were putting in their pockets before leaving. A petite Asian girl was on a couch, saying into her cell phone, "You have to pick me up. I'm so drunk."

One of the closet doors was off its hinges and hanging out into the hallway. I went over to talk to Jack a little more. He told me about another party in Mira Mesa that had a naughty schoolgirl theme. He laughed, saying, "Some of our officers went out there on a complaint, and they were there for a long time. I show up, and they are standing around talking to all these girls in plaid skirts."

We talked about how we haven't played poker in almost a year and agreed to have a game soon. But if any of his superior officers are reading this, we don't play for money.

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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