Most people who do various crafts will know that you don’t wait until the holiday season in question to start doing whatever it is you are going to do for that particular holiday. If you make your own Christmas cards, you might start making them in September or October, that sort of thing.

Swapping is very similar – there is usually a long lead time to allow people to sign up, to get partners assigned, to actually make or buy the items, that sort of thing. It all takes time. You can trim this time by having it be sender’s choice – the swap has a theme and you know what it is ahead of time so you can go ahead and find or make what you’re going to send before partners are assigned. But there are some that are partner-specific and you have to wait until you get assigned a partner before you can do anything.

I will eventually get to a point, I swear.

I am thinking about signing up for a large swap, The Thirteen Days of Halloween. The idea is simple – you send a large package containing thirteen individually wrapped and numbered small gifts with a Halloween theme. You open one each day for the thirteen days leading up to Halloween. (You could open them all at once, but that’s not the point.) You normally see swaps like around different holidays – Christmas is the big one, there are usually several big Advent Calender swaps during the Christmas season that you have to sign up for as early as October.

I love Halloween – if it was socially acceptable for a thirty-mumble year old woman to do so, I would dress up (possibly as Batgirl) and go trick-or-treating every year. I collect witches, bats, etc all year-long. The Nightmare Before Christmas  is my favorite movie.

I really want to sign up for this swap, but I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with big swaps in the past. I’ve had swaps where I put in a lot of time and effort, really worked extra hard, and either got back utter crap or absolutely nothing. Having been burned, I’m hesitating on whether I should do it.

There are two versions; one where every gift has to be something hand-made ( like a bookmark, an ATC, or other small craft) and one where the gifts can be a mixture of hand-made and store-bought. I can sign up for either one, both, or neither. I really want to sign up for both, I can probably think of thirteen (or even twenty-six) different Halloween things while standing on my head, but I’m just not sure. I have until the 23rd to decide, so I’m mulling things over.

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