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“Ugh, I just, like, don’t even want to dress up this year,” she mumbled.
Todd looked over. He couldn’t tell if this was a trap or her honest feelings. Frankly, Halloween had never really been their best holiday together. Whether it devolved into a drunken mess or they ran into someone they didn’t want to run into, the pomp and circumstance of Halloween simply never treated them all that well.
Unfortunately, they had been invited to a party thrown by Caroline and John. A party John didn’t want to have, a party Todd didn’t want to attend, and a party that had such a short invite list that no one had any choice but to RSVP positively.
“I mean,” Todd hesitated, “we could just figure out something else to do?”
If only for a moment, Todd was hopeful. No masks, no face paint, no stupid outfit that he had to spend $100 on that he’d only wear once. He could finally abandon Halloween and set his sights on his favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“No, we have to, Caroline would freaking kill me.”
“Oh my Godddddddddd,” Caroline yelled as they entered their townhouse. “You two look so good.”
Todd wore jeans, a green sweatshirt, a grey Members Only jacket, and had his hair perfectly coiffed. She had on an old repurposed bridesmaid dress, a similar blue Members Only jacket, a blonde wig, and fake blood dribbling out of her nose.
“You look just like Steve and Eleven,” Caroline gushed. “So good.”
Todd looked around at the decorations only to realize that they were the first to arrive despite thinking they were 25 minutes late. John sat on the couch looking like a dejected Jack Skellington while Caroline was dressed as his counterpart, Sally. While the two girls exchanged compliments, Todd sauntered over to the couch after grabbing a bottle of Oktoberfest out of a cooler that sat on their kitchen island.
“So, uh, what’s the plan?” Todd asked.
John looked over with his face covered in paint. “I don’t know, man. I guess try to watch this World Series game until we get yelled at to turn it off?”
Todd twisted the cap off the bottle before answering, “Sounds good to me.”
One by one, the couples started filing in. There was a Donald Trump and Melania, a Harry Potter and a snitch, and even a Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande that was definitely a better idea before they broke up. As the party began to tread around sixteen people, Todd looked over to John and asked, “Dude, who are all these people?”
“It’s a bunch of coworkers from Caroline’s work,” he whispered back. “Finn and Katie are in Napa with Finn’s parents, and Trip and Alex got invited to a different party before we invited them here.”
Todd’s head tilted back on the couch. “Dammit, dude, so is anyone else showing that I know?”
John leaned forward and grabbed his beer off the coffee table. “You don’t want me to answer that.”
“What about those guys, are they cool?” Todd asked while pointing toward Pete Davidson and Donald Trump.
“No, they suck,” John again whispered. “One of them gave me shit at her last work event for getting too drunk and he doesn’t even work with the company — his fiancée does.”
It was then that John had a lightbulb go off. “Dude.”
“What?” Todd asked hopefully. At this point, Todd was begging for any sign of life. The girls had huddled around the kitchen while their plus-ones made awkward conversation in the dining room area.
“Caroline set up a ‘pumpkin pong’ station on our back porch,” he said with a smile. “Want to run these dudes?”
“Pumpkin Pong” was the exact same thing as beer pong, but with orange Solo cups and ping pong balls drawn like eyeballs. Todd hadn’t played beer pong in well over a year, but he immediately knew it would be better than sitting alone with John on the couch counting the time until he could finally go home.
Without an answer from Todd, John stood up. “Donald, Pete — come here.”
They were taken aback by John’s forwardness but walked over nonetheless. Rather than filling them in on what they were about to get into, John simply waved his hand and began walking through their townhouse to the back porch that had an obstructed view of the city.
“Okay,” he began, “It’s Todd and I versus Pete and The Don.”
Todd felt as though he should introduce himself before they started, but John seemed less than enthused to engage in actual conversation.
“No bounces,” John told them, “Balls back if we make both, and whatever other dumb rules we’re too old to remember.”
Todd began filling the cups with the same 8.2% ABV Oktoberfests they had stocked for the party which he knew was a bad idea, but they didn’t really have a viable alternative.
“We good?” John asked authoritatively. Donald and Pete looked at each other, shrugged, and muttered something to the effect of, “Game on.”
They took the first turns and rimmed out both. In response, Todd and John washed the balls off and took shots of their own. “Alright, balls back,” John said.
Donald and Pete looked at one another as if they just figured out what they had gotten themselves into. They tossed the balls back only to see their respective significant others walk through the back door and out onto the porch.
“Well look what we’ve got here,” Ariana said while Melania took a sip of her prosecco out of a Halloween-themed plastic cup. They looked at one another while Todd and John each drained their third and fourth shots.
“Alright, we’ve got winners,” Melania said. .