Silent boos - Joel Hall

I've always enjoyed Halloween. As a kid, I enjoyed the mounds of candy and the Halloween television specials, such as "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," and "Garfield's Halloween Adventure."

I didn't really enjoy the costumes I had, as they were mostly cobbled together out of things my parents could find around the house, such as white blankets (ghost costume) and cereal boxes (robot costume).

I did, however, have the pleasure of growing up in a safe neighborhood, where trick-or-treating was encouraged, and my pathetic costumes probably contributed to the fact that I was able to come home with garbage bags full of candy every year.

As an adult, I've enjoyed the advantages of being an adult at Halloween, such as the ability to buy better costumes. Adult Halloween serves as a chance to shed the soul-crushing work attire that we become so accustomed to, and wear something fun and exciting.

In the past few years, I've sported some pretty outrageous costumes. In my adult life, I've been a pimp, a plumber, a kung fu master, and a "Super Saiyan," from the Japanese comic book series, "Dragon Ball Z."

This year, I dressed up as Rorschach, from the graphic novel, "Watchmen."

Unless you have children, trick-or-treating is off limits, but as one gets older, walking long distances, door to door, feels more like being a vacuum-cleaner salesman than anything resembling fun. While adult Halloween parties don't have nearly as much candy as Halloween parties for kids, they have beer, which is an adequate substitute, in my opinion.

This Halloween, however, was the first one in 11 years to fall on a Saturday night, creating the potential for chaos. The last time Halloween was on a Saturday night was Oct. 31, 1998, and the next time it will happen is the year 2015.

By itself, the average Saturday night in Georgia is full of its potential dangers. Racing to buy alcohol before Georgia's "dry Sunday" laws take effect, Saturday night partiers clog the highways, byways, and any exit close to a package store.

This particular Saturday, however, people on the way to getting tipsy could have been doing it wearing inhibition-lowering Halloween costumes. Sunday morning was also the time for the daylight-saving's-time switch, which meant people out late on Saturday had one more hour to drink and find new ways to get arrested.

This Halloween, however, was probably the quietest and tamest one I've ever experienced. As I hit the town dressed in my frightening costume, I couldn't find a single child in a trick-or-treat costume going door to door.

The highways on Halloween were remarkably free of traffic. While I expected Interstate 75 to be packed with people heading out to late-night parties, I felt like I was the only one on the road.

When I actually made it to the parties I had planned to go to in Kirkwood and Atlantic Station, those places were pretty dead, too. It was almost like everybody had stayed home and saved their money.

This Halloween had the potential to be much crazier than it was, but with the exception of seeing a zombie clown waiting for a taxi in Kirkwood, all was calm on the western front.

Perhaps, Halloween is just the latest victim of an economy gone bad, which is more frightening than any costume I could ever conceive.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.