Halloween has to be the biggest party holiday of the year. It’s definitely the biggest drunk fest, followed closely by New Year’s eve, but that only lasts one night. Halloween? It started Friday, reached a head on Saturday, and will taper off on Tuesday night when the purists break out one last bash on October 31 proper.

Last night, I hit two Halloween parties, and realized that costumes lend people implied permission to not only look the part of their character, but to play the part as well. And a few too many gulps of liquid courage? Well, that only makes the role-playing easier. Men dressed as drunken babies (imagine the “got milk?” jokes), maharajahs (harem, anyone?), and masked bandits (stealing kisses, cocktails, and anything else) played it up to the hordes of equally playful women dressed as sexy witches, drunken cheerleaders, and wanton gypsies and pirates. As one of the very few sober folks, I found myself both entertained and a bit confused. I mean, pregnant chicks don’t generally find ass-grabbing a common experience, but last night my booty was groped by men and women alike. Should I have been offended, or flattered? (Mostly flattered, I’ll admit.)

At one house party, the entire Addams family was in residence. Morticia and Gomez (aka Mike and Dez during daylight hours) decked out their Victorian house in spiderwebs and fog-filled cauldrons of spooky sangria, with tombstones lighting the walkway and jack-o-lanterns glowing all over the front porch. Wednesday greeted guests and even Thing made an appearance, as a bare, groping hand on an otherwise black-clad body. As for the stuffed dead guy lounging in the hammock alongside the house? Not sure if he was part of the decor or a long-lost Addams relative.

Another house party down the block involved six neighboring homes which all back to the same alley between Grant and Sherman Streets in West Wash Park. The “alley spookfest” involved hundreds of costumed revelers — including not one, but two great Oscar the Grouch interpretations, tin garbage can and all — and no less than 12 kegs of beer between the six houses. Three of my gal pals donned ghost-like sheets for their costumes, each pinned with the numbers 1, 2, and 3… Three Sheets To The Wind. A self-fulfilling prophecy, for sure. The entire alley was lined with orange pumpkin lights, backyard bonfires, and each garage door was open but covered in slashed black plastic strips to lend a truly creepy back alley vibe to the setting.

By 11 p.m. I was done watching the progression from tipsy to hammered. (Virgin cocktails for moms-to-be just don’t have the same loosey goosey effect, you know?) But I loved the costumes, loved the uninhibited vibe, and loved the effort that goes into a good Halloween bash. Plus, there’s always next year.