October 15, 2022

Minecraft collab streams to keep Halloween traditions alive when IRL is dead

This post is mainly for the Holo honeys (Minecraft maniac Fauna especially!), but anyone can read through to appreciate how streamers and vtubers are in a unique position to keep Halloween traditions alive, in a world where they are dead IRL. The streamers themselves can feel free to skip the next section if they only want the suggestions for how to re-create Halloween within Minecraft. I'm including the next section to make some larger observations about what's going on.

* * *

Partly, the streamers would be carrying on the entertainment tradition of "the Halloween-themed special," where such traditions are re-enacted by the cast. This is not possible with podcasts or other formats of commentary, since those do not involve characters performing a narrative. TV, movies, video games, and other narrative formats are all dead by now, so it falls upon the newer and thriving formats like streaming and vtubing to play those roles.

But they would also be simulating the traditions, within a virtual realm rather than IRL. Such as going trick-or-treating in Minecraft. And that is not possible within other narrative formats, which are not based on the concept of simulation or virtuality.

Vtubers have already figured out how to simulate several activities that are friendly to Halloween, such as the TV show / movie watchalong, which simulates watching a scary movie with your friends. They also play scary video games together online, which simulates two levels of reality -- hanging out with friends IRL to play a scary game (such as during a sleepover), but the game itself is a simulation of, say, exploring a haunted house and running from ghosts.

Below are some ideas on how to simulate experiences that are unique to Halloween, using the best escapist real-life simulator -- Minecraft.

The date would be near Halloween, ideally Halloween night itself. No one goes to Halloween parties anymore, as I've detailed for over a decade on this blog. Millennials, who were victims of helicopter parenting, cannot tolerate anything carnivalesque, i.e. inverting the ordinary order of things for a special festive occasion. So they could not stomach going out to party on October 31 -- because that could very well be a week night, and they ordinarily don't party on week nights. Duh, that's the whole appeal!

Sometime around 2010, as they were getting into their college and post-college years, they all felt the same queasiness about partying on a school night, yet still wanted to go out for a Halloween-adjacent party. What would keep them in their snug familiar cocooning routine? Partying on a Saturday. And ever since then, Halloween parties have been celebrated instead on The Saturday Before Halloween (while there's still some energy for it, not after it's already passed).

But that's IRL. Online, there are no week nights vs. weekend nights, since no special places are closed vs. open on those days. It's hilarious to see terminally online people still pretending to have a thriving IRL social life by not posting on Friday or Saturday night -- don't want your internet followers to think you're a NERD. Online, there is no such special segment of the week. Not because "every day feels like the weekend," but because "even the weekends still feel like the work week" with nothing special, high-energy, or festive to make them stand out. If anything, online weekends feel *slower* than week days.

Unless, of course, you're on a streaming site. Activities like "going out for karaoke" are far more likely on Friday or Saturday than other days, and are far more likely at night than the afternoon or morning. Even on week days, most streams are at their best during the evening, taking over the practice of primetime TV, as opposed to boring daytime TV.

So there is a typical night when a festive stream would take place -- Friday or Saturday, as usual for IRL, back when it still existed. This also makes it possible to subvert that norm temporarily, by doing something festive on a week night. Streamers already do that for Christmas and New Year's Eve, but even IRL those are still celebrated on their real dates. The challenge is to seize back Halloween as a carnivalesque holiday that typically falls on a week night.

* * *

Here's how the night's activities would be structured, in very loose terms -- to allow for the most spontaneous, unscripted action. In the section below, I'll spell out some specifics to guide you along the way, so you don't have to make up everything as you go along, and to provide some motivation, if you've never done these things before (or it's been awhile).

First, a preliminary gathering, to start building some excitement.

Going out trick-or-treating at other people's homes.

An optional prank to play on someone's home.

A campfire storytelling session (personal or fictional events).

Finally, the trip home, where you work out the rest of your energy, and tuck in for the night, in sleepover party fashion.

* * *

I'm imagining the standard SNOT line-up of Gura, Fauna, Mumei, and Kronii, although whoever else enjoys Minecraft social outings could join as well (Irys and Bae?). Not a huge number, though, it needs to feel intimate.

Start at Gura's haunted house -- this will get some more mileage out of the project, and it was already designed with Halloween spookiness in mind. Now the "abandoned" nature of the project only adds to the eerie-ness -- kind of like hanging out in a ruined building, only this one never got completed. "Some say a mysterious such-and-such came over the building team before they could get to work on the interior. If only they had known that this house was built on cursed land..." Get something positive out of a sidelined project! (And no, we don't really care if Gura ever finishes it inside, we're not autistic completionists ourselves.)

Begin by sharing memories of your own experiences with Halloween -- the IRL traditions like trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, baking cookies, decorating your house, going to school in costumes, etc. Maybe some gabbing about pop culture Halloween specials, too, but mainly the IRL part. The main point is to unlock and activate these memories, indulge in some nostalgia, and get hyped up for when you go out -- but you have to build up some excitement first, so you're as crazy and chaotic as you can be once you head out the door.

I was thinking of some kind of opening spooky activity like using a Ouija board, but that would be hard to simulate in Minecraft. The point there is everyone's hands are on the heart-piece as it moves, and no one feels totally in control of its movement. Maybe you could have a quick convo about whether you believe in Ouija boards, Tarot cards, and other things -- this will set off an interesting dynamic between the rational skeptics like Fauna and the "I want to believe" ones like... Gura? Bae? We don't know who stands where, so it will be interesting to see this unfold.

As for in-game costumes, you could stick with the pumpkin mask, just make sure everyone already has one. You'll have to do whatever tricks to undo the narrowed vision, though (3rd-person POV, or removing the menu bar at the bottom, IIRC). I don't know anything about Minecraft skins, but those would work as well -- a simple skeleton, for example. And not everyone would have to have their own unique costume -- the point is to dress differently, and spookier, than you normally would.

The trick-or-treating would take place away from home, like the JP or ID servers. This creates more of a field trip feeling -- and back in the '80s, when trick-or-treating was at its peak, we used to venture *all over* the place, often places we never normally got around to, instead of just a few streets right around our home.

No parental supervision! Not that your managers play Minecraft with you anyway, but this is important. We never went out with our parents in the good ol' days, that only began with the helicopter parents of Millennials. It's the kids' own special time, and there are plenty of grown-ups around anyway -- the hosts at each of the homes you visit.

The girls on the JP or ID side who participate would have to show up for, say, a one-hour window when this portion of the stream takes place. For the rest of the hour, they simply have a zatsu with their chat, or whatever else. But they have to stay in the home for the appointed time, so that when you show up, they're there to open the door, give you something, and appreciate you paying them a visit. You don't have to have a long convo with them, it's a fairly quick and informal scenario.

Some might throw you some berries or emeralds, while the ones playing a trick on you might throw some raw chicken or whatever.

Others can participate without being logged in for the appointed time -- they can leave a chest out in front of their home, with a sign next to it that says "Take one" or whatever creative message they want. ("Please take only one -- the spirits are watching you / or suffer the curse / etc.") The chest can have tricks or treats inside to choose from.

This may be the majority of homes you visit, if the time slot is hard to make. But that's fine -- it's still venturing outside your home base, visiting one home at a time, until you've wandered all over the place, picking up tricks and treats along the way, and making those social-emotional connections with the other people in your community, some of whom you rarely meet! We didn't just go to our best friends' homes while trick-or-treating, we might not have recognized their faces at all. Outside the routine!

Whether they're at home, or setting up a "take one" chest outside, they can decorate their home with jack-o'-lanterns, spider webs, etc. A few things, nothing huge if they don't want to. In fact, if a lot of the girls don't log in often, one or two people from their server could put up decorations in front of their homes for them, if they have some free time. So it's not just a few homes on the "street" that are decorated.

After that, optionally, you can play a prank on someone's home, akin to throwing eggs or "wrapping" their trees with toiletpaper. The rambunctious rule-bending side of Halloween. One idea I had is to wrap someone's entire home in a giant jack-o-lantern. Find a home that's small, and build a simple rectangular box around it.

The materials would be orange wool or whatever, and one wall would have some black wool or coal blocks to make the eyes and mouth. Triangle eyes, with the curly number 3-shaped smile, as a smug prankster signature. No green needed for a stem on top -- it wouldn't be visible from the ground level, so don't bother. Just a simple box. With 4 or 5 people there, it would get built pretty quickly, and would be a nice little bit of teamwork.

This would also simulate carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns together, at the same time.

Ideally, find someone's home who logs in somewhat often, so they could get surprised by your work, and have a chuckle. "Those ornery kids..."

Next event, finding a spooky spot outdoors to hang out and tell scary stories. I'm thinking the top of Fauna's lighthouse, since it's not right in the middle of a bunch of residences, it's Gothic with the vines growing up it, and the light at the top could stand in for a campfire. Plus, fear of heights getting activated, easy view of the night sky, etc.

On the trip over to it, you can chit-chat about your trick-or-treat haul, the exhilaration of pranking someone's home, etc. But once you reach the storytelling spot, you sit or stand around in a circle -- not wandering all over the place, but staying intimately close. Then you can go around the circle telling scary stories -- these could be from your own personal experiences, something that happened to someone you know, or a friend of a friend, urban legends, etc.

If one of you likes getting into storytelling mode, you could prepare a story to tell the others, in dramatic fashion, where you're narrating and they're listening, not a back-and-forth convo. But if you're not a storyteller, or don't want to practice it, don't worry about this. You wouldn't have to make up your own story, it could be reciting some popular urban legends (the hook on the car door, the kidney heist, etc.).

For maximum impact, this narration should take place after an initial round of informal storytelling among the group. "Well, if you thought *that* was frightening," the segue opens, "have I got a tale for you..." The others' curiosity is piqued, so they focus their attention on the narrator, who tells the story. After it's told, they discuss amongst themselves, then eventually go back to the informal round-robin of personal and conversational sharing of experiences.

When the chatting energy has dwindled down, a quick trip back to the home base (Fauna's home is nearby and has lots of beds), where you work out what remains of your energy, maybe pretend to savor some of your treats, go to bed in-game like a sleepover, and end the stream with a "Happy Halloween!" to the audience.


  1. I respectfully refrained from suggesting "7 minutes in heaven" or "spin the bottle" for the warm-up activities...

  2. You could get away with not doing it on Oct 31, on the idea that this is like the Halloween special of a TV show. Those didn't necessarily air on Oct 31, but on the show's usual night (always before Oct 31, though).

    I hope Irys could make it, very instigator-y and prankster-y, perfect for Halloween mischief, along with the Goobinator. And Fauna and Mumei as the ones who like getting dragged into the mischief, but can't exactly start it themselves.

  3. Sharky chanteuse was shining in confidence tonight throughout karaoke, right after some seriously resilient platform gamer-ing last night, and fleetingly making us think about her wet bod in fleece pajamas after a shower (teehee).

    For those keeping score, we're starting in the 3rd week of the calendar month, which means our Atlantean princess just released an eggy-wegg. Now it's time for two weeks of super smiley, bubbly, giggly, glowing, flirtatious engagement.

    Imagine not loving nature...

    Not to be all TMI about it, just want to emphasize the good side of hormonal cycles -- ovulation, fertility, sociability, body ready to fly right off the ground, etc. -- instead of our culture's usual focus on only the phase involving blood, irritability, cramps, etc.

    You don't get the good without the not-as-good. If you can't handle her at her cramping, you don't deserve her at her beaming. :)

    Actually, if you girls do organize a Halloween event in Minecraft, maybe it would be better to move it forward several days, in order to catch Gooba while she's still in an energetic mood.

    Do girls make plans with each other by sharing their cycle status like this? Like instead of checking their Day-timer for other commitments, they just consult their cycle calendar and say, "Nope, not gonna have much positive energy that week -- how about the week before?"

    They're the first generation of girls who are going au naturel, ditching hormonal birth control, so they may be still adapting to this strange new reality. I'm sure they'll tend to use euphemisms, rather than "just released an egg, and feeling faaaantastic". Girls are good with euphemisms -- powdering their nose, going to an idol meeting, etc. Shouldn't be hard for them to come up with some to refer to the weeks of their cycle.

  4. Of course, if the JP or ID girls want to trick-or-treat, you could schedule another time slot where some EN girls stay home for an hour, while the JP / ID girls go out. If EN girls can't make the time slot, they can prepare a simple chest / sign out front, with a few decorations (or someone else can do this for them).

    I'm not sure how big of a deal trick-or-treating is in Japan or Indonesia, though, so maybe they'd be happy to pass out treats to the EN girls, and leave their Halloween duties at that (or maybe decorating their server in general, not necessarily for a coordinated time slot activity).

    Do Millennials or Zoomers even remember the "take one" candy bowl that people used to leave on their front porch, in case they weren't going to be home on Halloween night / they didn't want to be bothered with answering the doorbell 1348959059673 times that night?

    High-trust society. Nobody took the whole thing for themselves -- despite the kids back then being unsupervised by parents. We learned a certain level of decency to practice even while away from our parents. The victims of helicopter parenting never did, because their parents were always physically present with them in public -- either to prod them in the proper direction, or to bail them out / shield them if they misbehaved. So the kids never had to internalize or practice good manners on their own.

    By the time Millennials / Zoomers were of trick-or-treating age, most were not allowed to go out at all. So, most households stopped buying candy to pass out -- maybe to snack on themselves, but not to pass out or leave outside on the front porch.

    Millennial / Zoomer readers, feel free to chime in with memories of seeing these "take one" candy bowls, and roughly what year it was.

    I started assuming the "passing out candy" role in high school, in the late '90s, and already by then there were hardly any trick-or-treaters, all accompanied by their parents of course. By the early 2010s, their parents would walk them all the way up to the door, often holding onto them with their hands, as though every neighbor in their neighborhood would potentially rip them away and disappear into a kidnapper's den, and they had to prevent that.

    I can't stand such offensive low-trust behavior like that, but I had to keep the traditions alive. A now a decade later, the ritual is all but dead IRL anyway.

  5. Chatters can trick-or-treat in a streamer's chat! Whether they're regulars or just showing up to venture outside their routine, it's like the streamer is getting a great big wave of visitors all at once. Or several waves throughout the stream, as late-comers log on. They could put Halloween-y emojis in their username, like putting on a costume.

    They say the magic words, "trick or treat," and the streamer gives them a little something -- a camera shot of some cookies they've baked and will enjoy on behalf of the chatters, or a Halloween doodle to put on screen (like a holiday greeting card), or maybe a little fanservice dance / wink / blowing a kiss / etc. if they're feeling extra festive.

    Streamers, don't take it personally if these kids go roaming from one chat to another -- that's the point of Halloween! Or maybe they'll be spellbound by your costume that they just bask in your witchy alluring glow all stream long. Hehe.

    Now that all social interactions take place online, this is one of the few ways that kids these days can enjoy unsupervised behavior -- online, where their parents can't supervise which streamers they watch, on which platforms, how they behave in the chat, if they're on a discord, or whatever else.

    Just be sure to announce this ahead of time (on stream and on Twitter), since it is not a standard thing to do on Halloween -- yet. Be a trailblazer!

    This would really be up the alley of girls who've come down with baby fever in their mid-20s, like Pokimane. All those cute little substitute kids showing up at your door saying "trick or treeeeat". ^_^

    But it would also tug at the heartstrings of the cute older sister / cute babysitter types, like Faunya. I know you don't have baby fever, but being in charge of a bunch of cute little tykes still warms your heart -- especially if they're there for a festive goth occasion!

    Gooba would get to indulge both sides of her personality, too, giving chat a little trick, but also a little treat. She likes to playfully tease her adoring fans, and we like it because it shows she really looooves our devotion.

    Like when she said her favorite era, '80s culture, is "oldies" and "collectors' edition". If she didn't like that stuff, she would've dismissed it as "dinosaur" "dead weight" etc. It's not merely old, it's rare, valuable, and worth holding onto.

    She's just teasing us with words like "oldies" to provoke us into goosing her sharky buns for naughty behavior. :)

  6. Small town America still had them, until the lockdowns. After that they had the twisted sicko version with the Take One pot, while they lurk inside. Faugh.

    Zoomers are also the first to have GenX cosplaying parents who went out in a related costume: Dr. Doof or Who to Zoomer kidlet's Agent P or Amy Pond.

    The other modern environment that can do the Halloween special is the Webtoon.

  7. The United Kingdom looks like it is well on its way towards political realignment, just as you have predicted a few years ago. The Labour Party are currently up 26 points in the polls and the Conservative Party is in utter chaos, with its newest prime minister Liz Truss since 6 September having set the British economy into crisis with her mini budget and likely to resign in the next week or so over growing dissatisfaction from her own party.

  8. Heart-rate monitor stream, but it's two introverts who must socialize with each other, instead of playing a jump-scare horror game. Hehe. Idea from when Gura popped into Fauna's chat tonight.

    Or, it's a tasting / smelling test (a natural fit for the Gawr "the Nose" Gura"). Similar to a spicy noodles challenge, but that's been done to death. Which foods pique your interest, which really make your heart race, and which calm you down. Ditto for smells, food or otherwise.

    Ideally, have the same line-up for multiple streamers, so you can compare their responses. Who was calmed vs. excited by roquefort cheese.

    You could work that instantly into a tier list -- each tier being a range of heart rates. "For me, roquefort turned out to be in the 120-139 tier." By the end, we can take stock of what makes you excited or calm. Neat.

    Oh! Or for the crazy cat people like Fauna, see whether / how much their heart rate calms down when they're petting their cat, hearing it purr, having it sit in their lap, etc.

    Nature's anxiolytic -- no need for pharma when you've got cats. :)

    "I don't know why people find black cats scary, just look at how low my heart rate has gone after snuggling with Snail..."

  9. My friend and I combined a prank with the "take one" bowl, where we set up the bowl on his front porch, with the sign on it, and the two of us were sitting on either side of it -- dressed up like stuffed dummies.

    Another thing you don't see anymore -- people used to take normal people's clothes and stuff leaves into them, and top with a pumpkin or mask where the head was, as decoration.

    We had leaves stuffed into our clothes, some a bit conspicuously falling out of sleeve openings, just so the kids would think we were dummies.

    Then when the kids ventured up to the bowl... GAAAAH!!! >8)

    I'll never forget one of the kids had their parents in tow, who ruined our fun by saying, "Nah, I think it's just a couple of kids under there, they're probably gonna try to spook you." Who invited you to trick-or-treating, Boomer? Jesus.

    That was around '93, when we were just getting too old to trick-or-treat ourselves (like 7th grade). And already the helicopter parents were beginning to spoil Halloween. But it was still early in that era, where we did actually get to prank a lot of the kids, who were without their parents.

    I miss living in a real society... but then I think of the vtuber simulation world, and it makes it more bearable. Enjoyable, even. Whenever the Holo princesses get together for a field trip / sleepover, it really does feel like the good ol' days. :)

  10. Wool weather all of a sudden. ^_^ I mean, wool *indoors*, with the thermostat set to a crisp 66, hehe. Might take it down to 65 or 64 sometime, not to toughen my moral fiber, but for fun to put on more wool layers.

    My cat's big and long-haired, but he also loves wool blankets, like all natural creatures who haven't been corrupted by techno-futurist "80-degree heat in the dead of winter" psychos.

    RETVRN to animal products. Much more efficient to buy a 100% wool sweater from the thrift store for less than $5, to keep your body warm, than to crank up the central heat which targets the entire residence.

    Add wool or mostly-wool socks, a wool lap blanket for your legs, and you're all set. If you get cold hands easily (not mine), fingerless wool gloves so you can still type / text / use eating utensils / etc.

    And an optional feline furnace for snuggling with. You're already providing your cat with calories through food, might as well enjoy some of its body heat for free!

    Do Millennials and Zoomers know you're supposed to wear a comfy cotton shirt underneath a wool sweater? "They're so itchy!" -- yeah, against your bare skin, numbnuts! Put on a damn shirt.

    Same with the blanket at night -- cotton sheets, with a heavy wool blanket on top. And that feline furnace cuddling your legs, of course. ^_^

  11. Can't wait till it's fur collar weather. ^_^

  12. China is another country like France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand when it comes to political realignments. In the 1930s-1970s, it was the military backed coalition who ruled China. Both the nationalist Jiang Jieshi and the communist Mao Zedong were military leaders who lead competing ideological factions, but nevertheless there was continual rule by military leaders since the realignment in 1928 when Jiang Jieshi became the ruler of China. In 1979, Deng Xiaoping became the leader of China, and all of the sudden, the emphasis shifted over to economics and "socialism with Chinese characteristics" which indicated that a realignment had occurred in Chinese politics and the faction lead by the finance sector had taken over China, especially after the political chaos in China towards the end of the reign of Mao Zedong's successors such as the Gang of Four.

  13. I remember trick or treating around 2010 in a suburb of one of the bigger cities in Eastern Canada, and we would still see a few of the bowls with candy left out in front of the house when we went. Social trust wasn't what I imagine it used to be though, so people did take more than one of whatever was being offered.

    My parents give out candy every year, and they say that there are fewer kids who come each year, especially since the sickness. You might find it interesting that in 2019 (I think, one of the more recent pre-sickness years anyway) the mayor actually tried to order Halloween cancelled and postponed to November 1st because of bad weather. About half of the people actually listened, so it was a mess.

  14. I can believe it, I've been chronicling the disappearance of trick-or-treating on this blog since about 2010. By now there's little to update, it's already so dead.

    The change that really surprised me at the time -- and still -- is Millennials feeling so queasily OCD, so DOES NOT COMPUTE, that they had to party on The Saturday Before Halloween, instead of Oct 31.

  15. Fauna mentioned some Miiiinecraaaft next week! Something about "we" have "plans" -- mmm? Can't wait to see who "we" is, and what the plans are! :)

  16. The classic kids' naughty song for trick-or-treating goes:

    Trick or treat
    Smell my feet
    Give me something good to eat
    If you don't
    I don't care
    I'll pull down your underwear

    Just in case there are some Millennials / Zoomers who never sang that one growing up. And in case some of the streamers want to whip that one out on any trick-or-treat streams that may or may not be happening. :)

    You didn't actually say that at the homes you visited, BTW! Rude, and poor behavior for a guest toward a host. It was something we sang to ourselves, like "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" etc. To indulge in a little rule-bending, naughty culture. We might've said it to other grown-ups like our parents, as a joke, but not to the ones handing out candy.

    I distinctly remember around 2010, there was a small child on the plane near me, and he was singing the first half only, on repeat -- he didn't know the second half, threatening action if he didn't get his treat! He must've been born in the mid-2000s.

    I blogged about it at the time, since I was talking about the death of oral folk culture, transmitted person to person, face to face. The transmission chain was already breaking down if he didn't know the second half, although it wasn't non-existent if he still had picked up the first half.

  17. "Imagine the smell" is still one of my favorite Gura-isms. And also knowing that she's not just pandering to coomers about sexual smells, but any interesting scents or aroma-scape, like when you explore a dank and dusty cave (what prompted her to say it today).

    Just like when your dog or cat picks up an interesting scent, and they're trailing it nose-to-the-ground like they've got FOMO. Or when you open a window, and they're inhaling as deep as they can to see what's going on outside smell-wise.

    "Humans have FIVE senses!" Imagine not using one of them, right? But when a big chunk of your audience are video game nerds, they don't have most of their senses. They're cerebral, not corporeal. Humans as minds, rather than humans as bodies. No rhythm / tone-deaf / have two left feet, colorblind, noseblind, "ouchie, bgm too loud," complaining about mixed textures of food in their mouth, and all that other crap.

    I think dancing is the best indicator of being a natural human animal. A lot of nerds try to pretend to be into smells or tastes, but are only pretending in order to indulge in their grossness fetishes -- a lot of body horror movies, gore, disgusting body secretions, etc. And all fetishes are cerebral / modern -- animals, domesticated pets, cavemen, Neanderthals, and homo sapiens up until 500 BC or so, do not have fetishes.

    If the people going on and on about gross / edgy smells and tastes do not dance or even vibe to dance music, then it's just a put-on for online edgy points.

    I think it's mostly a way for them to glorify their non-corporeal nature -- to be horrified at the body and the processes that bodies and organic matter are subject to. "Woah, gross!" They don't get excited by the up-side of bodies and matter -- like dancing, being athletic / playing sports (even throwing the football around in the front yard), and so on. Stuff that requires you to be very in touch with your own body (propioception, coordination, etc.).

    They just hatin' on bodies cuz they cerebral.


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