Halloween is easily the strongest of the Holy Trinity of Party Holidays. It's got the fanfare of New Year's Eve without the solipsistic darkness and Auld Lang Syne gurgling. It's got the baked-in drunkenness of Fourth of July without the emetic America pride and blowout mattress sales. It has candy. It has latex. What more could you want?

Before going home with a stranger, check to see what they actually look like

This hard-won advice is a page from the Bearded Men School of Dating. Say you meet a really cute guy: Light eyes, excellent cuticles, shapely eyebrows. This is New York, so odds are good he also comes furnished with a nice, well-groomed beard. "Great!" you think. NOT SO FAST. The entire lower portion of this man's face is virtually unknown, a question mark waiting to be revealed at any point he so desires, without consultation with you. You have no idea what's under there. It could be that his chin fell off in a tragic Zamboni accident. It might not be a chin at all, but an old muffin. It might be a literal question mark. In any case, you went into this whole thing with way too many unknowns, and now you must live the consequences.

Halloween is a beard, writ large. You have no idea what's going on under that full-body Trump wig, so make sure to do a preliminary check before you make any evening-long commitments. Yes, I am telling you to demand the charming Pizza Rat disrobe in front of everyone at the party so you can make sure he's got all his nipples. What's weird about that?

Halloween is the easiest time of year to crash parties

You, like me, are a completely socially adept party-starter with a veritable flood of awesome invites, so this info totally doesn't apply to you—feel free to pass it on to your coworker, the one always eating kimchi in the common spaces.

Bars will have parties, but they will generally be filled with the types of people who find it appropriate and sane to discuss social media in person. House parties are more like high school parties, with buckets of lukewarm hooch of mysterious composition (spooooky) and hours of dancing awkwardly next to a fern. The sneaking part is obvious—just follow a group of comely revelers to their destination, taking care make it appear as though you just happen to be attending the same party. If it's a real rager, you'll notice it from the street below. Play it cool, and everyone will be none the wiser. Then again, if you weren't such a drooling social troglodyte, perhaps you would have just been invited to some parties in the first place. What I'm saying is, just keep quiet.

The punishment for couples costumes is that you can't speak to anyone else

A good couples costume is like a good steak: Rare as hell. The punishment for thinking your costume was the exception to this otherwise hard-fast rule is that you must spend your entire night glued to the side of your partner. No solo trips to the punch bowl. No solo trips to the toilet. You chose this life, and now you must live it. The experience will leave your relationship severely imperiled, and by next Halloween, it will be long over, and you'll be free to find a brand new ball to your chain. (Not a sex thing, and no, not a good couples costume.)

Go to a bone-chilling haunted house

New York City is down two of its classic haunted houses this year (Blackout appears to have decamped for SF, and Nightmare seems to have slithered back into the sewer to wait), but no matter. Consider visiting the desperately haunted Kreischer Mansion on Staten Island, or taking a semi-bathetic but still scenic haunted hayride on Randall's Island. People seem to enjoy the Gravesend Inn. If you're willing to travel, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philly is nerve-disintegrating all on its own, and even better with its long, involved haunted house.

You've got an extra hour this year

Oh daaaaamn, daylight savings is going down at the stroke of midnight on Sunday, meaning you've got an extra hour to keep doing what you were already doing. Halloween Saturday is not the time to indulge your geriatric bedtime tendencies (unless you're in a couple's costume, then bye bye now). WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FREEDOM? Break into a cemetery? Become interred in a cemetery? Start hashing out this year's Valentine's Day bus route? Finally try DMT? Chew a sandwich veerrrrrry slowly? That's up to you. It's just an hour, though. Don't go nuts.

Stay at home and at watch The Baby

The Baby is easily both one of the worst and most perplexing horror films ever made. Two parts ineffective camp, one part weird incest, this film has it all literally no redeeming qualities. But if you wanted a fun night out, you'd be dancing to streaming iPhone music next to a fern right now, wouldn't you.

There is also the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade (which is really only fun if you participate, and to do that you need to show up at the starting point at Sixth Avenue and Spring Street. BangOn! is also throwing one of their East Williamsburg ragers, and there's a roundup of more big bashes here. Get freaky.