The humorous sketch follows a character named J. Turner Dodge, a well-to-do New Yorker transplanted to a less cosmopolitan locale. Trying to fit into the high society scene there, he happily accepts an invitation to a Halloween party, wearing a brand new expensive suit. To his surprise, however, this party is not a formal dinner, but a series of games. By the end of the tale, Dodge has become soaked from bobbing for apples, covered in flour from a game, bumped his knees from falling down stairs, ingested thick black smoke from incorrectly cooked chestnuts, and accidentally swallowed a button intended as a prize hidden in a cake. The next day his friend greets him, excited to hear about the experience:
"How was the party?" he called out; "anything like what you have in New York?"
"No, thank heaven," Dodge responded, " we may be awfully degraded there, but we have n't fallen quite so low yet."
The next year, when Dodge is invited to his second Halloween party, he concocts a prior engagement. "I shall always remember my first Hallowe'en party," Dodge admits. His friend tries to persuade him, noting that most people like these types of parties:
"Well, then, I have n't been educated up to Hallowe'en parties. There are some tastes that can't be acquired, you know; you must be born with them, like the love of Boston baked beans."
"Oh, you 're too New Yorky for anything; don't you know that these jolly informal things are twice as much fun?"
"Yes; but I'm satisfied with half as much fun; you can have my other half."