Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fiend or Foe

Last year, while we were in California, we did some Hallowe'en shopping at the Target across the street from our hotel. We found a couple of neat things, including the goggles for Fenya's aviatrix costume and a very creepy mask in the style of a Venetian fiend.


I had no plan for the mask at the time, you understand, but I hoped to find some complementary elements before next year's Hallowe'en. If I came across an appropriate period shirt, something vaguely renaissance or piratey, but not too flouncey, I figured I could use that, otherwise, the aging oilskin duster I had in the basement.


The real problem was headgear; something to add shadow to the face, height to the body, and de-modernize the silhouette. A bandana might work in a pinch, or maybe a hooded robe, but after giving it some thought, I really began wanting a tricorn.


While in San Diego, I happened across the largest hat shop I had ever seen, and lo and behold, they actually a full-on, revolutionary war style, felt tricorn for sale. Unfortunately, the white rim of the hat gave it all too much of a 1776 touch for my tastes, and I also felt $62 (US) was a bit out of line for something I would only wear one night a year.


Looking around an Edmonton party store prior to Fenya's recent birthday, I stumbled across a large, brown, three-sided 'pirate hat' for $20. Close enough for government work, I decided, plus it gives me a go-to for International Talk Like A Pirate Day.


The night before Hallowe'en, I put the three elements together. The mask would work better on a face less spherical in aspect, but still did its job. The duster still fit, and there aren't too many things I bought in college I can say that about, I can assure you. The hat on its own was fine, but its low position on my brow coupled with the highness of the mask made it press into my forehead with considerable force. After considering a few unlikely options (adhesive felt pads, putty, etc) I simply wound up a bandana and tied it around my head to blunt the pressure, and it worked just fine.


The next morning I added some black makeup around my eyes and headed off to work. I had never worn a 'scary' costume before, and was curious how people would respond. I like making people laugh, but on Hallowe'en, a different response is desired.


I needn't have worried; a number of people told me point blank that my costume was 'creeping them out', and it's a little embarrassing to tell you how gratifying that felt. Turning slightly askance during a meeting, I waited until a co-worker made eye contact with me, and then stopped blinking. "Stop that," he hissed, sotto voce. A couple of people visibly started when they turned and saw me standing behind them, and one of the HR staff was clearly discomfited by my presence, having encountered similar masks when visiting Venice, and having been creeped out by those ones as well.


Thankfully there was enough work to be done to keep me from getting into too much trouble. I confessed to my boss having dangerous thoughts, most of them centering around the idea of finding out who in the building had the loudest scream. He laughed, and then I told him I was going down to the parking garage to lurk in the corner and hum nursery rhymes.


"Okay, no, don't," he said, in the most serious of tones.


Trick or treating with Glory produced a few similar responses; small children and pets shied away, adults smiled flickeringly and broke eye contact early. Few had the nerve to ask me what I was supposed to be, but if they did, I would grin, and shrug, and say, "Just a fiend."


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