(Yes, this is from that superlatively nerdy Verizon commercial with the whole family in Star Wars costumes.)
As nerds of a “certain age” (I’m making the assumption that at least the majority of our readers are “legally” adults), it is our responsibility to ensure that the hallowed traditions of our subculture are passed down to the next generation. Younglings must be schooled in the ways of comics, sci-fi/fantasy, gaming (video and otherwise), pop culture, film and television, so that the Way of the Nerd will live on long after everyone reading this has become one with the Force…
And one of the best ways to achieve this is to utilize that nerdiest of all holidays: Halloween.
After all, Halloween is the one day when many common geek activities are socially acceptable: Wearing costumes, watching vampire and zombie movies, eccentric home decor….many nerds do these things on a daily basis! The traditions of the season already bring our little proto-nerds halfway there–so why not nudge them over into full-blown geekdom with some nerdy-as-Hell Trick-Or-Treat goodies?
Now, there’s a few caveats that need to be covered: These treats are a DAMN sight more expensive than a sack of fun-size Snickers bars. A few are so pricey you may only be able to afford one or two of them, and either give them randomly as a bonus to one or two lucky visitors, or choose the kids with the nerdiest costumes for these prizes…
Also, kids generally don’t enjoy non-edible treats–I know I didn’t. So, in the case of goodies listed here that aren’t meant for consumption, I advise including some old-fashioned tooth rotting goodness with them: Just to protect yourself from getting marked for TP-ing along with the dentist who’s giving out freakin’ apples.
Now, settle in, and enjoy ten ways to totally nerdify any Trick-Or-Treater’s Halloween experience
10. Marvel Grab Zags
There are a number of items like these on the market: small, collectible toys in little opaque plastic pouches so you don’t know which you are buying (like collectible cards–which we’ll cover later). These Marvel Grab Zags are “relatively” inexpensive, and a good way to instill a love of all things Marvel in impressionable youngsters.
9. Comic Book/Collectible Shop Gift Certificate
Unless you’ve got Tony Stark/Bruce Wayne money, enough Gift Certificates (or Gift Cards) like these for all your Trick-Or-Treaters is probably beyond your means. After all, they’ll have to have at least about $10 on them to be of any real use. But if you’re willing to splurge (Halloween only comes once a year), then a few of your ghoulish little visitors are in for a very special treat.
8. Nerdy Temporary Tattoos
Kids love rub-on tattoos (so I hear, anyway), so why not give them the opportuniy to let their little geek flags fly with these temporary tats? The ones shown are available online, but tats featuring popular comic book and video game characters shouldn’t be too hard to find at your local Wal-Mart (or equivalent soul-crushing megastore)
7. Lantern Rings
There are dozens of Lantern (Green or not-Green) rings available for retail sale of varying quality and price: From cheap toys to custom-made pieces of jewelry. These are somewhere in the middle. I don’t know how much they cost, but I’m assuming they’ll run you a little more than those lame-ass black and orange spider rings people who hate children and joy used to give out when I was a tyke.
6. Collectible Card Game Packs
CCGs are probably the most popular form of non-video gaming out there–with dozens of competing varieties (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Vanguard, Magic: The Gathering, etc.) These packs are a bit pricier than a miniature bag of Skittles, but depending on the age of the Trick-Or Treaters in your neighborhood, these things might well make you the most popular house on the block.
5. Star Wars Candy
There have been dozens of Star Wars related candy promotions. Some are collectors items far too valuable for use as Halloween goodies, but the lightsaber pops shown are still fairly easy to come by. A tasty way to introduce a young Padawan to the ways of the Force.
4. Pez Dispensers
Pez is the first word in the combination of candy and collectible toys. There are literally thousands of varieties available, including a great many marvelously nerdy styles, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Disney and Looney Tunes (for the classic cartoon aficionado), and the Avengers dispensers shown above. One of the cheapest and easiest to acquire items on this list.
These may be a little tough to find (look online, or in any store that sells science supplies or educational toys), and a tad more expensive than their earthbound equivalents, but HOW can you possibly get nerdier than treats that are actually eaten IN SPACE?
Not every child will appreciate these, but the ones that do might well mention you in their memoirs once they’re world-renowned astrophysicists.
2. D&D Dice
Tabletop RPGs are slowly dying in the age of online gaming: Help reverse this trend by introducing young lads and lasses to the joys of polyhedral dice! If you can’t afford to give out a full set of Dungeons & Dragons dice to every comer, I recommend d20s (above). They’re used in more games than any other die other than the traditional six-sider (an argument could be made for the d10, but only if you play White Wolf games).
If you’re worried about the stigma of being the house that doesn’t give out candy (and you have a buttload of money), you can order these chocolate dice online. This brilliant innovation kills two birds with one stone: Promulgating nerdiness AND satisfying sugar cravings all at once.
1. Nerdy Jelly Bellys
I actually live just a few miles from the Jelly Belly factory, so I know the world’s most famous gourmet jelly beans quite well. Jelly Belly was the ONLY company that could possibly bring Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Beans from the wizarding world to ours. These were primarily made as a promotion when the HP movies came out, but can still be found for sale occasionally. Easier to come by nowadays are the special edition The Nightmare Before Christmas Jelly Bellys in their charming little collector’s tin. The Walgreens near my house has them, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to track down a few tins for some lucky treat-seekers.