Going all-Minecraft looked like a run-of-the-mill Halloween…but some extraordinary stuff happened along the way…

A Man, A Plan, a Box

Steve and CreeperIt’s Halloween again, and with it comes the challenge of picking great costumes. Like most of his generation, my son is addicted to Minecraft and wanted to go as a “mob” (an in-game character). So I looked online and found the big official cardboard Creeper head. For the six of you who don’t already know, Creepers are green guys with no arms who sidle up to you in the game and explode inconveniently. We could only order the Creeper head as part of a 2-pack so we got Steve (the player character) too, thinking we wouldn’t use him. I put his head up on the bookshelf so he could look all cool and disembodied.

We went to the store to get Creeper parts since my son is a stickler for the details. We found the hoodie which had the right markings for the body, and I bought green cornhole bags to pin on as ‘feet’. At that point, my son disappeared into the Men’s section for a few minutes. He then returned with The Shirt.

It was the Minecraft Steve shirt. The exact ratty collarless cyan shirt our blocky hero wears. “You’re going as Steve,” he said, holding the shirt up to me. Mind you, in real life, the shirt is indescribably ugly. I took it from him, thinking I wasn’t planning on it…but I have the whole exact costume now, how can I not go as Steve?

The Blockhead Cometh

Frank As Steve

Fast forward to Halloween. We live a half-block from the school, where all seven grades would parade around the block at noon in full costume.

It turns out he couldn’t wear the Creeper head to school, since they have a rule against masks. Plus, it was absurdly huge on him. So he went to school with just the hoodie and the cornhole-bag feet. When noon rolled around, I decided to try on the head and walked out to the corner to see the parade.

I knew Minecraft was big, but I was not prepared for what happened next.

As the parade rounded the corner, I heard dozens of little voices chanting “Steve! Steve! Steve! Steve!” As they got closer, I realized they were all calling out to me as Steve: boys and girls, zombies and princesses, robots and dinosaus, Vaders and Chewbaccas. I had no idea what to do! I realized that Steve is their friend —  if you think about it, Steve is the player character, so Steve is them.

Usually a mob of tiny zombies chanting your name should make you run, but I felt a responsibility at that point. These kids worked hard on their costumes. I needed to be Steve.

But Steve doesn’t do much. He can’t dance and he doesn’t talk, so I just sort of waved. For two whole orbits of the block, it was an almost unbroken call to “Steve!”

It made me realize just how popular Minecraft is. It also made me realize just how hard to it is to wave for extended periods of time. I’ve had to do the “walk the press gauntlet” wave and the “awkwardly called out in a speech to a big crowd” wave. But never the “celebrity event for 30 minutes” wave. It’s exhausting. I wonder how the Queen trains for it.

Prime Time

Live Action Halloween Steve and Creeper

The main attraction was Halloween proper, mere hours later. Here in Hoboken we take Halloween seriously. Decorations go up weeks in advance. On the day of, here’s a parade of thousands down the main street with bands and floats and floating bands.

Stoops are manned by ghouls and mummies and witches all dispensing sweets in front of elaborate displays of terror and gore. Uptown, there’s a 3 by 2 block area of row houses roped off from traffic, effectively encircling three hundred doors of free sugar. So we began.

Again, it was “Steve!” at every turn. I couldn’t get 15 feet without having to pose for a picture. I got fist-bumps and hugs and met one junior Spider-Man who very earnestly and seriously wanted only to shake my hand. This started to feel a little bigger than any of us.

Meanwhile, my little Creeper was getting a little jealous that Daddy was getting all the attention, despite himself being on pace to carry home 9 pounds of candy. In our youth we would have never dreamed of that kind of haul. I ended up carrying his portion home, through more throngs of little fans.

Kid Fuel

Halloween Giant Cat

I realized this is what celebrity must feel like. I tried to keep it from going to my huge, blocky, 1-foot square head. But it was more than that. This Halloween was a unexpected and welcome hit of the child-like sense of wonder we adults rarely experience. A reminder that kids’ minds run on imagination, burn fantasy as fuel, and produce joy from the slightest raw material. For a little while I was them and they were me and I was a little kid again.

But we still have to top this next year!




I wrote this about Halloween in 2016, and I may follow up with Halloween 2017 since we’re doing the same costumes with a big twist. Stay tuned. 

Just to keep everyone happy, I’ll also say that I am in no way officially connected with Minecraft or Mojang, and the photos and mentions herein are made under the permitted terms of the Mojang Brand And Assets Guidelines.