Of Tricks & Treats
All Halloween costumes are not created equal. As such, I do not feel that the sugary surprises that I hand out to the trick-or-treaters who knock upon my door must be equal either. The amount of candy I give you is directly proportional to how awesome your costume is.
In a similar fashion, all web browsers are not created equal and the treats that I deliver to the browser will vary depending on its level of awesome.
The DONTs of Scoring Candy
If you want to score big on the candy front, your costume needs to look like you actually care. Wearing the same pair of jeans and hoodie sweatshirt that you wore to school that day, pulling on a store-bought rubber mask and calling it a costume just doesn’t cut it for me. You want candy? Show me that you have actually tried to put together a cool costume. Score = 1 piece of low quality candy, probably a roll of Smarties or a Dum-Dum pop.
Another low scoring trick-or-treater is the “first-timer.” These are the babies who come to the door, dressed most often like a Disney character, carried by their proud parents. Sure they are adorable, but come on, the kid is less than a year old, so unless Gerber starts making Halloween treats, they are very likely not going to be able to enjoy the candy that I give them. Nope, that piece of candy will be eaten by the parents. Score = 1 piece of candy, although they do get a higher quality piece, normally a fun-size candy bar. After all, the kid is cute as hell.
Notable exception – If the parents who are carrying the first-timer are also dressed, especially if the costumes they have on are part of a theme (maybe they are all dressed like Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland characters, for instance), then the candy score goes up in response to the embarrassment factor. Score = 2 pieces of high quality candy per family member that is dressed.
The DOs of Scoring Candy
The easiest way to get a quality haul of candy from me is to pick a costume for a property that I think is awesome. Come to my door dressed like a character from Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe, Lord of the Rings, the Nightmare Before Christmas or similar properties and you are guaranteed to hit it big. Score = 4 or 5 pieces of high quality candy – we're talking Kit-Kats, Twix bars, Sour Patch Kids and the like.
Another sure fire way to come away from my house with a good quantity of candy is to assemble your own costume from random items you have laying about the house. Even if the overall costume looks erratic and mismatched, it's the effort that I can appreciate. I have a soft spot for anyone who comes to my door dressed as a Stormtrooper wearing old hockey equipment. An A for effort! Score = 4 (or more) pieces of high quality candy – and if you are wearing a cobbled together costume that is also from a property that I think is cool (ala the hockey pad wearing Star Wars trooper), then this number goes up accordingly!
Better Browsers Get Better Treats
I approach the visual treats that I deliver on websites that same way that I approach the sugary treats that I give out to trick-or-treaters. Not everyone gets the same. Those users who are accessing the sites I design with browsers that support visual treats like CSS3 animations and transitions will get them. Those who do not, will not.
Just because some people knock on my door in a lame costume and are subsequently presented with treats appropriate to their weak Halloween attire does not mean that every trick-or-treater should suffer the same fate. The teenager in the cheesy zombie mask gets a cheap lollypop, but the kid who rolls up to my door dressed as Boba Fett is going to get hooked up.
Similarly, those users who come to the sites I design and develop will get an experience appropriate to the browser they are using. Awesome browser equals a more awesome experience.
Do all sites need to look or be experienced the same in every browser? Of course not, and trying to do so would be like penalizing the kid in the Boba Fett costume just because other kids do not know how to choose awesome Halloween attire like he does.
Awesome in equals awesome out, whether we are talking about Halloween costumes or website treats delivered to your browser.
Candy Score Super Bonus Points
Want to really make out big on the Halloween haul at the Girard household? Here’s the secret - if you come to my house towards the end of the evening AND you are dressed in a costume that qualifies as awesome, then we are talking super-bonus candy!
Last year, I had a kid ring my bell a few minutes before I had planned to shut my lights for the evening. I still had a bowl full of candy and as much as I love Kit-Kats and Twix bars, my diet surely didn’t want to get stuck with all those goodies. Opening my door, I saw this boy dressed as Snake Eyes from GI Joe. Not only was he dressed as Snake Eyes, but his costume was partly store-bought (the mask and sword) and partly home-assembled (he had little throwing stars made of cardboard and covered in aluminum foil tucked into his ninja belt). Yeah, we're talking big-time awesome right here.
I proceeded to dump the entire bowl of candy, everything that I had left, into his trick-or-treat bag. This was easily over a 100 pieces of candy. Even from behind the visor of his Snake Eyes ninja mask, I could see his eye grow wide and he said, “Wow, thanks mister!” before running back to his Mom to show her how much candy he had just gotten hooked up with.
My pleasure kid. Awesome in equals awesome out, it's as simple as that.