Saturday, November 01, 2008

important update: halloween was last night

Every year I find myself in the same situation, which is to say, the one in which I've thought of a bunch of great costume ideas in July, neglected to write any of them down, and found myself completely uncostumed at the end of October. Despite the build-up of candy in the stores, the online articles about scary movies, the steady creep of black-and-orange horror show paraphernalia, Halloween surprises me with its suddenness every year. It's as if I fall asleep on October 30th and wake in the midst of a queasy alternate universe where everyone is obliged to dress in archetypes. It's like the subconscious has risen and devoured consciousness, and for some reason my brain has been tasted and left on the plate with the napkins.

We don't do any preparations for Halloween at our apartment, which may have something to do with it. Schmutzie and I are not seasonal decorators (thus the fact that we have never had a Christmas tree, making do instead with an iron sculpture wrapped in fake foliage, LED lights and topped with a cowboy hat), and no children come to our door for candy, so we never buy any.

But it's great fun to go out for a drink after work and witness the ingenuity and/or desperation on display. By far the most common costume of choice was pirate. I found it interesting that both men and women dressed in pirate gear, which makes Kiera Knightley an unlikely pathbreaker. Even among the unpirated a kind of eighteenth century aesthetic prevailed, with piled-up wigs, frilly shirts and billowy dresses everywhere. A couple of my friends had taken aim at 1930s and 40s era sex symbols, with great success. A couple of Hunter S. Thompsons roamed the crowd, one with a Dr. Gonzo attendant. My friend Steve showed up as J. Michael Hall's Dexter, with the green river driver shirt, latex gloves and expensive looking blood splatter on his face. A Silent Bob and Jay kept walking in and out of the bar, astonishingly recognizable. There were no Sarah Palins or any other politicians, which shows how immune we Canadians can be to the political agonies across the border.

Most of the women fit into the 'slutty n' category of dress-up (slutty pirate, slutty construction worker, slutty vampire, slutty fairy, slutty devil, slutty accountant, slutty comptroller, you name it), but what amazed me were the astonishing number of wings on women's backs. Fairy wings, bee wings, angel and devil wings, miscellaneous wings: everything except deep-fried chicken wings, I would guess. Wings were the psychoplasmatic feminine expression of the night. Aside from that it was all tits and teeth and cheap greasepaint.

I had no costume, but at some point I drank enough to put on a Viking helmet.

My friend Shanan took a picture of us together, but I had clearly hit the point of no return, and most of my energy was spent trying to hold my face together. Fortunately Shanan (the poreless face on the left) had enough smile for both of us. She also had the presence of mind to actually look at the camera.

And here's one more, also taken by Shanan, also of me, because, even though I had the least elaborate costume there (somebody else's hat), I think I look surprisingly good with Viking horns. I call this photo "Towards the Viking future".


DOT said...

I don't know what you do to the enemy but, by God, you frighten me!

blackbird said...

YOU handsome devil.

Hildy said...

I dressed up as Sarah Palin...but a cut-rate one (I don't have 150K of Republican bucks to dress myself in).

Naomi said...

"n+wings" was de rigeur for the 6-and-under crowd at the carnival we attended.

Jaywalker said...

That hat is TOTALLY inauthentic by the way. They were buried with their drinking horns! Mistaken nineteenth century construct! Sorry, I have been back to my home town of "jorvik" and been harangued by gangs of reenacters in woad. But wouldn't I be the fun person to have at a party?

Your expression = perfect. To me it says "is this my head? this one here? how come I can't feel any of it?"

Helvetica said...

I wore wings, and I'm not ashamed of it. Wings are great, cause you can just put them on and say "I'm an Amazonian bat" and you're done. At least, that's what I did.

Friday said...

Yes, I felt it inappropriate to visit the popcorn stand beyond a certain point, excrement aside.

If you made your way over here sometime, you could say hi to her in person. Both of us, in fact. I didn't read the blog comment guidelines, but I agree to your T&Cs, so long as I retain the right to use this comment again on some other blog in perpetuity.

Nice horns!

palinode said...

dot - When faced with the enemy, I start playing my lute, which lulls them to sleep with delightful dreams of frolicking through sylvan glades and whatnot. Then I take out OUTRAGEOUS loans in their name and swig bottles of Cristal while they weep in the poorhouse.

blackbird - Aw, I blush.

hildy - I should have guessed you'd pull a Palin for Halloween. I can picture the piled-up hair and glasses.

naomi - Wings on adult women are a bit childlike (not childish, mind you), which lends a kind of perverse erotic charge to the costume. Wings on little girls do not carry a charge of any kind.

jaywalker - Really? Drinking horns? That makes sense. It also makes sense that a group of Victorians would reimagine Viking culture as a group of animal-satanic barbarians.

helvetica - I guess that's the other part of the appeal of wings: the ease of use and the instant transformation into costumed character. Same goes for hats with horns.

friday - I'd love to come over and visit, especially considering that a ticket to London is cheaper than a ticket to Halifax these days. Maybe some time next year?

And yes, feel free to reuse your comment in other contexts. I maintain no intellectual property over comments.

Friday said...

Yeah, come on over. We've got shellfish and a wharf too so you've even less of an excuse not to now.