Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hallowe'enies

I'm pretty disappointed that I didn't dress up for Halloween this year; I haven't been to a Halloween party in years, but I usually like to throw on a costume for either handing out candy or joining the girls on their trick or treating rounds.  This year, with the exception of an amusing walrus-shaped hat ("I'm John Lennon," I told one curious parent.), I was an observer and not a participant.

Thankfully my girls are picking up the slack for me.  Fenya actually arranged two costumes this year; the first was a '50s girl outfit for the school day and the afternoon dance (!) that was planned:

With the mercury hovering around the freezing mark Monday evening as anticipated, she opted for something more practical for trick or treating, which was a 'crazy cat lady' costume she made with the assistance of the instructor from her sewing class.  Angela also helped Carissa with her Queen of Cards and Paper Bag Princess (from the Robert Munsch story) outfits.  The pirate was all Glory.

Glory got to wear two different costumes as well, since her class got asked to participate in a zombie-themed movie addressing homelessness.  I gather it was pretty easy to get her fellow 4th graders to help out after the director told them a key part of the movie would involve running and screaming down the school halls.  And that there would be pizza.

They were asked to wear costumes they wouldn't mind getting soiled or torn to Friday night's filming, since most of them would be getting zombiefied on day two.  A quick trip to Value Village and Glory was kitted out in a largely disposable bride costume.
It was a tiring but interesting experience for her over all, she and Fenya are both movie fans, and have shown unexpected patience and interest when I want to watch the "Making Of" features or listen to commentary tracks on DVDs, although there is an appreciable spike in desire that appears to relate directly to the proximity of impending bedtimes.  Getting to see what goes on behind the cameras, even on a small production like this has given her a greater appreciation for how much work is needed to put even a short film together.

video

Unfortunately, fake blood was divvied up on a 'first come, first served' sort of basis, and because she is reluctant to push her way into a lineup, there was no time for her to get any claret into her bridal whites.  She was pretty upset when I asked her about this at home, but at least they still did an estimable job with her undead pallor, I have to say:
She was also not quite as prepared as she could have been for just how much repetition is required.  The hour or so I got to watch revolved around the hallway shown in the clip above, and every scene ended with the director asking them to go back ten feet and do it again...then five feet... then back to the doors and let's go once more...and after we switch out these lenses, we'll do juuust one more, and so on.  To his credit, the director's energy never lagged and he was extremely patient with a group of tired kids, who I have to say were all real troopers as well.

As for the rest of our Halloween festivities, it was a little different.  As usual, we put on The Nightmare Before Christmas so we could listen to it as we carved the pumpkin (Boingo forever, yo), but for the first time ever, the girls did the bulk of the carving on our Jack O'Lantern.  All I did was cut the lid open and trace on the design Fenya drew, and they gutted, carved and poked out the rest of the details.

This was also the first year with canine participation, with both Carissa's Shiba Inu named Miyagi and our Nitti dressing up as Superman.  Normally I find pet costumes objectionable, because despite some of their less charming qualities, I do believe dogs have dignity, of a sort anyways, and because so many of the overdone dog get-ups I've seen seem to feature some miserable looking animals in them.  These outfits were fairly straightforward, and not that different from the coat we have for Nitti to wear in cold weather, so, you know, what the heck.
If I didn't know any better, I would swear these two hounds were enjoying themselves.

Fortified with mugs of hot buttered rum, Carissa's dad and I escorted Carissa and Fenya on their rounds, while Glory went trick or treating with her friend in St. Albert.  They petered out a little more quickly than I expected, and overall, there was a pretty small presence for costumed children in our neighbourhood.

This seems like a shame to me, as more and more people do their trick or treating in malls and community centres.  I've always seen Halloween as a fascinating social contract, wherein people trade candy for an opportunity to see children from their neighbourhood dressed in cute or scary costumes.  More and more people seem to be decorating their homes and yards for the event, but in spite of this, fewer and fewer kids seem to go door to door every year, and I wonder if my eventual grandkids will even get the opportunity?

Well, there's not a lot we can do about society, but at least I know some kids who will have fond memories of this once macabre holiday that I am sure they will want to share with the next generation.

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