Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is a most excellent celebration. It combines fantasy, fun and giving in one scrumptious package that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. And let's face it - who does not enjoy dressing up in a costume? Be it scary, dignified or wildly imaginative it feels good to assume a character and it is giddy fun to see our friends do the same. One of my precious students created the artwork on the left of me as 'The Man with the Yellow Hat' from the Curious George book series. My love of that little monkey is no secret so this was not a great leap for me. I did try to talk Lauren into dressing up as Curious George so our costumes would be in sync, as they were last year when we were both cheerleaders. At the time we led the school in an original cheer complete with choreographed leaps and manly lifts which brought hoots and hollers from the students and staff alike. But this year, she politely demurred, opting instead for the quiet elegance of a ballerina.

My costume though was a big hit. When I stepped into the courtyard I had so many children run up to hug me that I was honestly afraid that someone would get hurt or that I would tumble backwards and squash a few of them. So I just stood very still and tried to keep my balance. Unfortunately the costume was one of those one size fits all, over the clothes deals, which means that in every picture I have of me in it I look dumpy and out of shape. My tenuous vanity will not allow for posting of such pictures so they shall remain locked in the vaults to haunt me at a later date. I did take one of the my big floppy hat and George that I can share. Isn't he the cutest?

The anticipation, which begins on the first of October, is another aspect of Halloween that is inescapable. Children share costume ideas and chat wildly with one another about their grand plans - the trips to the party store, goody bags, parties. As in years past superheroes continued to be the ticket with the young set.

We had two black Spider-Man costumes...

Captain America...

and an incredible artist rendering of said Captain...

A Blue Power Ranger, Bat Girl. a transformer. an angel, a princess and variations on these.

We asked our students to write a 'scary, spooky Halloween story' to share and I have included some of these below.

This one says "Two little girls went into a haunted house". Take a careful look on the roof of the house and you will find Dracula waiting for them with outstretched arms by the light of a crescent moon.

This one reads "This is a scary house and there are witches in the air". This witch is flying on a carpet instead of the usual broom. It does seem more comfortable.

This one is my favorite "This little boys name is Billy. He can never take his costume off. His dad told him a scary story." It reminds me of a an episode of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Everyone became the character they were dressed up as, meaning that the slayer became a damsel in distress who got knocked about until the spell was reversed. Buffy had some good Halloween episodes.

By far the scariest, spookiest story we read this year was Tell me a Scary Story...but not too Scary by Carl Reiner. We told this one with the lights out, sitting on the floor with lots of drama. The kids were laughing and screaming and generally enjoying being six years old at Halloween.

For those of us in the room who were a little older than six it was a time to ponder the magic of childhood, fantasy and sheer 'in the momentness'. How wonderful for me that I get to experience all of this, in one way or another, everyday!

The above is from The Hallo-Weiner by Dav Pilkey. A Halloween favorite.


Joy said...

Your costume was a riot... but George is a problem child - no more Margarita cupcakes for him, he's too young. I'm just saying.

FYI: the black Spider-Man costume is called Venom. I know... I'm such a geek. Remember how I got about Wolverine?

Arielle said...

A very solemn 5-or-6-year-old Superwoman came to my door last night Trick-or-Treating. It seemed she was taking her job as Superwoman very seriously. She looked up at me, said, "Happy Halloween," with a little nod of her head, and I gave her some candy, while returning the greeting. She said, "Thank you," with another serious little nod and an almost-curtsey, and walked away. She looked as though she was taking being Superwoman as more of a job than a fun costume role. Haha.
Can't wait to see your costume. I hope your photos came out!

Arielle :)

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

The only reason I am going to come back home is to see you in that yellow suit. Wait, I think they have the internet in Europe, so maybe I won't come back.

Pod said...

where are the photos of you in the yellow suit then? thank you please

lettuce said...

its very yellow

Gary said...

Joy - Thanks for that! The children use both terms - Venom when they are writing and black Spider-Man in conversation - and in all this time I have yet to realize that they are one in the same.

Me thinks that you perhaps have a calling to come spend time with the six year olds. I am sure you would be a big hit.

Arielle - I love that story. I have a wonderful visual image of this girl. Since you commented I have rewritten this post and looked at the pictures. They are not going to find their way to the blog until I get this suit tailored.

Gregg - See what you did. You will have to come back home to see me in this costume! I'll bring it with me to VOTD night at Joy's place.

Pod - see above. Not so dashing in this one I am afraid but in person it was truly fantastic. Maybe I need your photographic eye to capture it properly. A well placed hat a la the green balloon beckons.

Lettuce - And not too many folks can pull off all that yellow. I know! Oh yes, I know...

Joy said...

I love the little stories from the kids - adorable!

BTW You do know I have photos of the Man in the Yellow Hat?

I'll take unmarked tens and twenties - weekly. ;)

Reya Mellicker said...

The drawings are magnificent, as usual. Wow. Love Capt. America and also all the "spooky" stories.

Very cool!!

OK, I'll admit it - I'm no good with costumes. No matter what, I hate putting them on and walking around in them. Give me my jeans and t-shirts, and a nice pair of Fluevog shoes, please?? Once a hippie, always a hippie I guess.

I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I remember that episode well.

Salty Miss Jill said...

I've got the biggest smile right now. :)

kimy said...

utterly delightful post! thanks gary. halloween is so much fun and you did it up right with being 'the man in the yellow hat.' I'm most impressed that your school didn't squash celebrating halloween. I've heard of that many schools have, all this nonsense about halloween's ungodliness or whatever complete right-wing crap they dish out to squash the joy....

although george is quite the cutie, can't say I blame lauren for not wanting to dress up like him! a ballerina is much more dignified and fitting!

the kid drawings are absolutely fantastic. I hope the child who did the one of you as the mwyh lets you keep it...definitely worthy of matting and framing!

WAT said...

Yeah, I can't wait to see the pictures of you looking dumpy and out of shape!


Oh yes, I second what Kimy says up there, I heard of several schools here in LA canceling Halloween celebrations! WHAT GIVES MAN?! Why take away the joy and ruin it with these crazy right-wing views?!

lettuce said...

great pics, i love the drawings esp. the dracula on the roof.

and the drawing of you. Have you been doing overtime on the sunbed?

I'm about halfway through rewatching all of Buffy with LG (first time for her). Buffy rocks.

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

No doubt about it - Halloween is my favorite holiday - I loved it as a kid and I love it as an adult. I like the spooky side of life! Hope you had a good one, Gary. I was in Canada for All Hallows Eve and they celebrate with fireworks!


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