The image of waking up early in anticipation of a holiday is usually associated with Christmas and all the gifts waiting to be unwrapped. Not for Louis: That day is Halloween.
The Huang patriarch loves Halloween so much that his spooky alarm clock is set for midnight to get in some late-night frights. He grabs a green monster claw to wake up Evan. Louis mimics a zombie and bangs on Eddie’s window. He sports Jason’s iconic hockey mask to wake up Jessica and is decked as a result. Going as far as to scare your spouse and risk receiving a hook to the jaw really means this is Louis’s thing.
It’s not Jessica’s, though. She has a lukewarm reaction to Louis’ hairy, fanged tennis star Pete Vampras and barely acknowledges Emery and Evan’s plans to go for a Jurassic Park pairing — or Grandma as McDonald’s flunky Grimace. Instead, she’s set on trying to become horror’s next breakout author. “I heard that Stephen King writes 10 pages a day,” she says, with a typewriter in front of her. “So I will write 20.” She only becomes more focused on the novel as Louis tries to scare her in various ways, including snagging Eddie’s obsessive crush Reba to be a creepy farmer’s maid waiting at the end of the hallway.
Meanwhile, Eddie and his eighth-grade pals are plotting their course to pick up all the best candy. Trent has located the Gibson Drive block as having king-sized peanut butter cups. (This is the correct plan for any trick-or-treater.) Nicole shows up and informs the group that she’s throwing a party at her mom’s house. Though Eddie has a girlfriend, he can’t help but want to look cool to the newly minted high-schooler. He eventually convinces the crew and lands an okay from Louis to go. His expectations are somewhat high. “I bet this party is going to be just like the ‘Gin and Juice’ video,” Eddie says, “but you know, not as diverse.”
The party is … super lame. Only Nicole’s friends and non-alcoholic beer are there. Brian creeps them all out and eventually expedites their leaving for the cooler party hosted by a sophomore. Trent, Dave, Walter, and Brian also opt to leave to claim what little candy they still could. Never fear: Eddie’s love of music videos allows him to get this party right, rife with loud music and flowing drink. It just happens to be the best way for the cops to be called on you. At first, Jessica thinks Eddie’s call from the police station is another Louis prank. But then it’s not, and his lack of vetting the shindig upsets her. “You didn’t check that the party was supervised?” she says. “He could have come home addicted to drugs — or pregnant.”
Usually, Louis is in the position of not understanding why Jessica loves or appreciates something. This time Jessica has to come to grips on why Louis is so enamored with Halloween. He loves dressing up and All Hallows’ Eve as much as she savors Yuletide. Since everyone’s holiday was ruined, Jessica takes it upon herself to wake up early and rally everyone for their own make-up trick-or-treat session — and makes a great point to Honey: “What is this game you all play? You leave up your Christmas lights ’til forever, but we come one measly day after Halloween, and it’s like the whole thing never happened?”
It’s time for the weekly dose of nostalgia in these recaps, the best ’90s costumes, ranked:
11. Honey, as Elvira: Points go to Honey for pulling off the B-grade villainess with a salad spinner.
10. Nicole and friends, as the Spice Girls: Dinged for being bad friends and being a Posh Spice short of filling out the entire quintet.
9. Officer Bryson, as Michelangelo: What if all cops went all out on Halloween, as Bryson did in 1996?
8. Dave, as Teen Wolf: Execution was definitely there for Dave. However, Teen Wolf was 11 years old at this point. Being mistaken for Basketball Simba isn’t great.
7. Louis, as Pete Vampras: The classic Halloween costume construction: mixing two things (tennis legend Pete Sampras, a vampire) and giving a punny name.
5. Eddie, as Sidney Deane: Eddie goes all out to be Wesley Snipes’ wisecracking baller in White Men Can’t Jump. The hat and double tank top combo seals the deal.
4. Walter, as Larry Johnson as Grandmama: The deepest of deep cuts. Johnson was a strong, forceful NBA player. Converse launched an ad campaign featuring Johnson in a dress under with the “Grandmama” moniker. Oh, the ’90s.
3. Grandma, as Grimace: The image of Lucille Soong in a sugar coma while dressed as the Ronald McDonald’s rotund friend is an absurd but great one.
2. Trent, as Bobby Knight: Trent never lets me down. The chair and its subsequent toss was the pièce de résistance for a perfect costume.
1. Emery, as Kato Kaelin: Evan’s pick for Emery was hilarious enough on its own, especially in the Year of O.J. Simpson. The McDonald’s bag sealed the deal.