No matter where you go, you're not safe from the powers of Halloween. Even if you just want overpriced coffee and a God damned donut, the witches will have their cameo. Introducing Dunkin Donuts' new "Halloween Pail" full of haunted Munchkins...

And really, how could you miss it? If the scattered and many-sized posters promoting the promotion (that's advertising) wasn't enough, most of the shops have been littered by the largest cardboard standee in the entire history of cardboard standees, and that includes any that were used to promote the arguably ill-fated "Harry and the Henderson" television series or standees used to keep that freak who starred with Billy Crystal in "My Giant" fresh in our minds, still on our hearts. They've got nothing on this standee, though. Easily sixty feet tall, not only is the behemoth a constant reminder that DUNKIN DONUTS SELLS HALLOWEEN MUNCHKINS, HALLOWEEN MUNCHKINS, but it's also a great lifetime guaranteed height marker for those who don't want to dirty up the walls, because no matter how much the person who uses it grows, no matter how much they grow, nobody will ever, EVER be as tall as this stupid standee. Collection plates are being passed. Give with your soul, but start with your wallet.

It's 6.99 for a pail chock full of 50 Munchkins, which judged in sum total by their caloric content should last you till the year 3112. Though the picture on all the promo material depicts these Munchkins as Halloween themed, they're the same as ever. It wouldn't be so disappointing if the photographers didn't pull off the greatest wax fruit scheme ever -- the Munchkins advertised aren't just adorned with orange sprinkles and autumn glaze, they've each been injected with the very unmentionable intangibles that make up "Halloween." When you open up the pail, it's just the same regular Munchkins you've been passing up in favor of their larger cousins for years. You may think these the makings of a class action false advertising suit, but really, you'll be too infatuated with what this pail can do to even think about causing harm to the people who gave it to you.

At first, things seem normal enough. Cute, plastic, white, spooky, fun, adorned with pictures of pumpkins and pirates and rabbits, well-sized, trademarked, multicolored, recyclable, really great pail. And though it is, it's also much more. Hit the lights, will ya? We've got vaudeville on deck.

The damn thing glows in the dark. Glows! This is a required accessory for those youngins' crossing the street while trick-or-treating in the dark on Halloween night, because God knows, if there's anything Halloween's famous for, it's the strange ability to flash bright lights on the pails of adolescent pedestrians who need to perpetually refuel their pails' glowing powers. It's no replacement for the classic Glo-Stick or the less used but still vital flares, but it's something. Something evil. Something terrible. Something filled with delicious baby donuts.

I'm suddenly reminded of Chevy Chase's classic scene in "Funny Farm," where he broke the record for eating the most sheep testicles. In defense of the Munchkins, I seem to be suddenly reminded of that fairly often.

Yeah, there's Halloween donuts, too.

Yeah there's Halloween donut pictures, two.

All in all, I was glad to see Dunkin Donuts get with the spirit, especially considering their devotion to spreading "safety tips" to young idiots. Tips included:

* Only trick-or-treat with a group. That's the lazy man's safety tip. I can't remember a single solitary time where I ever went trick-or-treating alone. In fact, just how redundant this statement is depresses me, as I realize how many more friends I had at age five than I do now. What a terrible, awful tip.

* Don't "put your feet in the middle of the street," always cross at the corner in a crosswalk. Okay, that one's a little better. Nobody will ever abide by that rule, evidenced by sitcom TV's time-honored reliance on "I got a ticket for jaywalking!" jokes, but it still makes perfect sense. You're way more likely to pull a Jacob's Ladder Macaulay Culkin if you enter the arena at a midway point.

* Have parents check out your candy. Make sure it's not poison. Another one that makes sense, because let's face it, even the fine folks at Snopes know that any persistent rumors about such things can never be labeled "false," but only "undetermined." Though, from where I sit, there's a much bigger chance that kids will poison other kids' trick-or-treat loot than a raving lunatic. Raving lunatics have probably been around long enough to consider the consequences. At most, the kid'll just think he's going to have to wait an extra month to get that video game. Besides, even if what they poison the candy with turns out to be strictly harmless, who wants candy after a dirty little kid had his hands all over it?

* Reflector strips make costumes visible at night. Yeah, they also make assumed "Draculas" look like Solid Gold dancers. Besides, I thought that was what the glow-in-the-dark pail was for? Are you trying to tell us something?

Is the pail not really a lifesaver?

Has the pail let us down?

For 6.99, it better not have.