Halloween, costumes, and hugs | November 2, 2022

I’ve written about Halloween costumes every single year I’ve had North Dakota Nice because I love costumes.  Lerve them.  Looove them.  One of my favorite costumes was a Rainbow Brite get-up that I wore for Halloween in 1985 AND 1986 because it had striped tights and a plastic smock and was rad.  Nowadays, if you were to dress up as Rainbow Brite you’d get a blonde wig and a giant hairbow, but the 80s were pretty literal so my costume instead came with a full-head mask where the eyes were punched, not in the face, but in the hair – because nothing says “Gonna take you for a ride” like four eyeballs:

Another favorite costume was in college.  Two of my roommates were English majors and I was an English minor, and we dressed up as a Prepositional Phrase.  Specifically, we were the phrase, “Against the wall,” with each of us wearing a t-shirt with one of the words (I was the “The”).  Exactly zero of our fellow Halloween partygoers got it; and when we educated them on our cleverness, most people nodded slowly and said, “Huh.” before wandering off.  (The following year I was a Sexy Pirate and everyone seemed to have a handle on that.)

The only thing I like more than costumes are hugs.  My dream job would be to be a Disney Princess, because dressing up like Sleeping Beauty and hugging kids all day sounds like a 1985 Rainbow Brite costume (i.e. rad).  However, it turns out you need to be “tall” and “beautiful” and not “short” and “Jewish-y-looking” to be a Disney Sleeping Beauty, so I guess I’ll just have to bide my time until Feivel Mousekewitz from An American Tail really takes off (what kid DOESN’T see themselves in a depressing story about escaping Russian pogroms?!).

Women (and maybe men, too, what do I know) love to talk about our Love Languages – Compliments, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Buying Candles And Then Never Burning Them.  My language is, obviously, Physical Touch.  I love hugs.  Lerve them.  I love strong hugs, wimpy hugs, one-arm side hugs, whatever.  If I had my way, I’d hug every one of my coworkers before and after work (and then I’d hug H.R. after they inevitably brought me in for a “Keep your hands to yourself” chat).  My little sister is my gold standard for hugging.  Her hugs are warm and smushy and smell great.  She could give me a birthday coupon for a ten-minute hug AND I WOULD USE IT, I REALLY WOULD.

Kyle’s family’s Love Language is No Touching – so much so that when we first got engaged and I was in the process of meeting his extended family my sister-in-law would go in ahead of me and warn them, “Hey, everyone, Amanda’s a hugger,” so they could steel themselves for what was to come.  However, for a family that doesn’t like touching they are incredibly good huggers, and I know because after seventeen years together they will initiate my hugs just to get them out of the way.

North Dakota is also not big on touching.  North Dakotans don’t even really like touching themselves (gross, not like that).  For example, I have been to many, many movies in the theater (humble brag).  In every non-North Dakota U.S. state where I’ve seen a movie, someone has applauded at some point during the film.  I have never, ever been to a movie in North Dakota where someone in the audience has felt compelled to clap.  This does not mean that North Dakotans don’t like the movies.  Au contraire.  It means they show their affection in other respectfully-distanced ways, such as wearing a humorous t-shirt with the movie’s tagline on it or telling their friends of their partiality towards the cinema.

Like my sister, North Dakotans are warm (and smell great); and, of course, they WILL hug; it’s just not their first instinct when engaging with someone.  “Well, everyone is like that, Amanda,” you may be thinking.  Listen, I lived in Boston for six years, my sister lived in Los Angeles for a decade, and our mom’s entire side of the family is on the East Coast – and I can tell you with confidence that East and West Coasters not only hug, but kiss one another like they are trying to win a numbers competition.  In more than one instance I have been introduced to an East or West Coaster who kissed me on the LIPS, and I honestly and truly can’t imagine what would happen if I did that to a North Dakotan (wait, yes I can – they would kiss me back and then avoid me for the rest of my life).

While the Kosiors are family and can’t avoid my hugs, I try not to put my fellow North Dakotans in a similarly awkward position.  However, I still need my daily touches, so I’ve taken to patting people on their back and/or arm as a consolation: “I’m so happy to see you [pat pat].”  “How have you been [pat pat]?”  “You look great [pat pat pat]!”  I’ve also found that if I pat people enough, over time they will hug me when they see me…so, double win.

Last night was the most beautiful Halloween in memory: sixty degrees, nary a whisper of wind, and a sun that shone all the way to sunset.  Kyle and I took our seven-year-old trick-or-treating (Eleven went with his friends); and Seven, who normally likes hugs about as much as his father, was so taken in by the weather, the candy, the decorations, and the spookiness that he actually stopped other children for a hug (or a pat) at various intervals throughout the evening.  I sneaked a couple from him since he was handing them out so willingly, and for a few brief seconds I was fulfilling my dream of being a Disney Princess – wearing my high school letterman jacket, but close enough.

The photo above is of me and my little anti-hugger.

I say this every year, but I am so touched by the fact that the entire Grand Forks comes together to make sure Halloween is a great time for all of our children.  Some of the neighborhoods must have received 2,000+ kids per house (I saw one news report that said 5,000 for a particular street), and they leaned into it with big-time decorations, food trucks, and teenagers tapped to play crossing guards on the busier streets.

Here is my favorite story from last night: We were walking through a sea, A SEA, of people when Seven screeched, “LOOK, IT’S PATRICK STAR!”  Lumbering straight at us was a 7’ tall blow-up costume of Patrick Star from the TV show Spongebob Squarepants.  “HI, PATRICK!” Seven shouted through the crowd.  “Patrick” walked a few steps past us, turned around, and from somewhere around his navel the voice of an elementary-aged boy yelled, “S’UP!”  He then turned around and disappeared into the throngs.  (Unrelated: from this point forward, I shall only respond to greetings with “S’UP!”)

This week’s news has Meatloaf and potato salad.  Read on.

That’s it, I’m calling it – this is the Nice Story of the Year: two kids in Minot realized a candy bucket was empty, so they refilled it from their own stash. (KFYR TV)

Twins Eddie and Vinny Opp are Halloween-famous around Hillsboro for their amazing costumes. (Hillsboro Banner)

Dickinson’s Eric Sticka is on the road to recovery with the support of the Sticka Strong community. (KFYR TV)

Fargo’s Big Boy, Meatloaf, Cinnamon, and Buggy are Internet celebrities. (Fargo Forum)

Speaking of famous, Eva Schlepp’s potato salad is the talk of the town in Ashley. (KFYR TV)

Bismarck teacher Robert Fuller competed – and took Silver! – at the International Powerlifting Federation’s World Masters Men’s Classic Championships. (KFYR TV)

Dickinson artist Linda Little has sculpted a bronze statue of Medora de Vallombrosa – the namesake of Medora – and has installed it at the Von Hoffman house in Medora. (Dickinson Press)

A two-hundred-year-old tree needed to come down due to Dutch Elm Disease, and so Bismarck carpenter Michael Knodel has spent over 1,000 hours creating “something special for the city of Lisbon.” (KFYR TV)

Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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Nice news of the week – June 25, 2020

They may have cancelled their regular season programming, but did you know Frost Fire Theater will be putting on four virtual 40-minute original musical comedy shows on YouTube, starting July 25?  Check them out here.

And did you know this week’s news has a virtual fishing tournament (this weekend!), a next-gen hog farm, and Gardar?  Read on.


Break out your rod and reel – Devils Lake is hosting a virtual fishing contest – you submit with a photograph – this Saturday! (Minot Daily News)

According to this article, the town of Gardar has 9 people.  According to the census, it has 90.  Whatever the number, there are a lot of people who are in support of its success – including two residents (one former, one current) who walked 25 miles in dedication of the mothers who provided food for Township Hall events in the past. (Grand Forks Herald)

Ardoch sisters Alexis and Elizabeth Nice are 19 and 16 respectively, and in only four years have built up a burgeoning hog farm. (Dickinson Press)

The city of Fargo is issuing free permits to turn boulevards – or the berms, as we all know them by – into vegetable or pollinator flower gardens.(Fargo Forum)

Williston’s Grand Theater is showing “old” movies – Back to the Future, The Goonies, Secret Life of Pets, and Bridesmaids – for free. (KFYR TV)

Minot’s Wendy Weiss Voeller has started cartooning to raise money for her furry buddy, Buddy. (Minot Daily News)

So many people came forward to help Fargo’s Laura Sokolofsky move her husband’s ashes to the family cemetery plot that she was able to not only buy a headstone, but also help fund her son’s college tuition. (Fargo Forum)

Minot has it’s first-ever female City Council President. (KX Net)

A photography studio and a makeup artist are hosting a free prom photo shoot for graduating Fargo seniors. (KVRR)

Grand Forks is about to get a really big addition to its garden of artistic expression. (Grand Forks Herald)

The Good Shepherd Home in Watford City hosted a vow renewal for Paul and Vivian Linseth in celebration of their 70th anniversary. (McKenzie County Farmer)

Minot’s Ed Zilli is the latest recipient of a Quilt of Valor for his service in the U.S. Army.  Fun fact: he is also a retired New York police captain! (Minot Daily News)

The Ashley community is hosting a meet-the-artist event so they can personally thank Bismarck’s Nicole Gagner for updating the Centennial mural. (McIntosh County Star-Tribune)

Artist Ashley Oyloe is yarn-bombing Williston. (Williston Herald)

West Fargo’s Parker Sebens is known around the globe as HandyDandy – a Twitch World of Warcraft gamer – which is all the more impressive considering he doesn’t have any arms. (Grand Forks Herald)

You read here on North Dakota Nice about the Nome Schoolhouse, and now here’s some continued good news: the original State of Liberty and a wall decoration have now been returned to their original home. (Valley City Times-Record)

Fargo temporarily transformed into Flavortown this week with a visit from Guy Fieri to Pounds restaurant downtown. (Grand Forks Herald)

Phat Fish Brewery is hosting a socially-distanced Fourth of July party for the whole family. (Dickinson Press)

I have learned so much about American history over the last few weeks, including the importance of Juneteenth – which is now a North Dakota state holiday. (KFYR TV)

North Dakota Nice is two years old!  Thank you for reading!

Nice news of the day – December 13, 2019

There’s something in the water: FOUR women in Ashley recently celebrated their 100th birthdays!

And there’s all sorts of happy things in the news today – about two buddies in Wishek, a Doorstop Library, and the cutest Story of the Week.  Read on.

A FedEx driver named Randy Lehmann befriended a Wishek senior named Harold Krueger, and the two bonded over their time in the service. Bonus: the Dakota Leatherneck Detachment got the country to send Harold 2,000 cards for his 90th birthday. (KFYR TV)

The Morton Mandan Public Library offers a “Doorstop Library” program, where homebound people – temporarily or permanently – get a delivery of books each month. (Bismarck Tribune)

Story of the Week: Grenora has 306 people.  When they were selected to host the Magical Medora Christmas Show, they figured their population would temporarily boom to 450.  In celebration of that, they decided to host a ham dinner and give everyone a present.  Bonus: they are also hosting the performers. (Minot Daily News)