Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween approaches

Halloween is tomorrow. Over the past month, pumpkins seemed to sprout EVERYWHERE! These appeared in shop windows and as displays in the windows of peoples houses, in gardens and running up front stairs. The extent of decoration is widespread and quite astounding to the first-time Halloweener. From my perspective, there appears to be two disparate schools of display: the more tasteful school including pumpkins, pots of coloured flowers, ornamental cabbages, hay bales and sheathes of corn; and the macabre – including the scary and grotesque – with abundant ghouls, bones, monsters, headstones and skeletons. These two schools do not appear to mix. 
I took Luc to a Spirit Halloween store recently. He walked in, and on seeing the displays exclaimed “AHH! A bad guys shop!” This is a seasonal shop full of costumes and every type of grotesque prop one could imagine: severed hands, bloody corpses with mechanics to lift them from the ground, opening coffins, shaking ghouls, bleeding bones suits for children (!) and every type of ghoulish and tasteless costume one could imagine. 

We took the boys to a Pumpkin Patch at Oz Park last weekend. This included a fenced yard where children could choose a small pumpkin (for $3) and then take it to a pumpkin decorating station to draw upon, stick things to and ‘upgrade’ their pumpkins before being photographed with these surrounded by Halloween props. Jumping castles, pony rides, a petting zoo, hotdog stand and face painting all provided entertainment for the neighbourhood children and their parents. We had a great time.

The weekend prior to Halloween is a good excuse for parties. We were invited to our neighbours party on Saturday night. I left it to the last minute to purchase an outfit, and finding a local costumers, had to wait in line outside the shop as it was FULL of people buying costumes! EVERYONE dresses up – in something or another. In Australia, at costume parties, there are generally a good proportion of guests who just don’t bother with dressing up. To not go in costume here would be social suicide. I was against wearing any of the multitude of women’s outfits that could be easily described as ‘tarty’. I ended up buying a velvet hooded cape and a Venetian cat mask. Paul had purchased a very creepy black, full-length phantom outfit that obscured his face save for some glowing red eyes. A skull sceptre and skeleton hands and feet completed a very creepy look. Guests at the party were convinced that Paul’s outfit was going to scar the boys for life. Luc was one of several cowboys at the party (winning an award for best cowboy) and Nic was the only koala to be seen. Both boys were a real hit at the party and had amazing staying power, dancing with a mechanical ghost, flirting with the girls and playing with several dog guests (one, part of a Paris Hilton outfit, the others in costume).

Photos: Nic choosing a pumpkin at the Pumpkin Patch and various decorations found around our neighbourhood.

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