I used to think that Halloween was just a holiday for kids. Dress up, walk around the neighborhood with your parents, get a pillowcase full of candy and you’re happy. I didn’t really think there was much to it for adults. Boy was I wrong! Halloween just might even be more fun now than it was when I was five years old and was too afraid to go back for the shoe I’d lost as I ran in terror from a man who’d maliciously dressed himself up to look like a dummy and then made a grab for me as I reached innocently for a piece of candy from the bowl in his lap. In fact, yeah…it’s definitely more fun. Besides, adults can eat whatever candy we want without being told we’ll get a stomachache, stay up as late as we want AND we can drink alcohol. Suck on that little children.
The day wasn’t even over before I could definitively say that Americans just know how to do Halloween. I really missed all the decorations, costumes and festivities last year when I was in the UK. Although Kelly, my other roommate and I dressed up and went out the weekend before Halloween, the only scary thing that happened on the day itself was getting my legs waxed. This year was a nice change of pace, particularly because I didn’t just dress up this year…I got to dress up twice. I really don’t know why I get as much of a kick out of dressing up in crazy clothes as I do. I do know, however, that it doesn’t take a whole lot of convincing to get me to agree to it. Usually I’m the one instigating others.
This weekend Kelly and I drove up to Orlando and got right to work Saturday morning creating works of Halloween art in the shape of costumes for the party we were going to that night. After stops at Target, Party City, Dollar Tree, Crafts & Stuff, Jo-Anns and Rack Room we had all the supplies necessary to transform ourselves. That afternoon we toiled in Kelly’s living room until we had given birth to the most hysterical home-made costumes I’d ever seen. I almost died when Kelly’s roommate put on her oompa loompa costume…she looked like she’d just stepped right out of Wonka’s chocolate factory. We’d made her a little white outfit, stripy stockings and spray-painted a wig bright green. Kelly’s last-minute idea turned out really awesome as well. Her red anniversary dress, some black buttons, a cardboard container and yard of black furry fabric turned into a really cute British palace guard costume. My costume was more cheeky than crafty. I threw together a home-made Kabbalah tank top, a blonde wig, dark glasses, a hat and tied little Baby Bandu in an African-print sling across my back and boom–I was Madonna.
We’d originally planned on going to downtown Orlando that night, but we ended up instead at a house party thrown by a friend of a friend (isn’t that always the way though). The guy whose house it was had gone all out…the front room was walled over in black garbage bags, there were black lights all over the place and a massive fog machine pouring thick vapor across the entire house. Everyone there had done an excellent job on their costumes, including one guy who was dressed as Jafar from Aladdin and three guys who were dressed as characters from Lost. One guy who had painted a scar across his face was Locke. Another big guy was Hurley, and had even brought a massive big jar of fake ranch dressing with the Dharma Initiative label attached. The third guy was Hurley’s imaginary friend. I thought they were so good I had my picture taken with them, and Hurley even let me hold his lotto ticket.
The whole night I had no idea who anybody was. I only knew people by who or what they were dressed as. So about all I know is that the werewolf threw the party, Triple H drove us there along with the oompa loompa, Jafar and Jessica Rabbit, the palace guard and I beat the dread Pirate Roberts in a game of Beirut and Ron Burgundy helped me locate the head of Baby Bandu when it was separated from his body when he was the football in a touch game in the backyard. At the end of the night, and after a quick call to Sophie in Watford that we made unbeknownst to the phone’s owner, it was one of the most fun nights I can remember having for a long time. It definitely ranks up there with jaunty cap night and any of the best nights at Time and Envy.
I expected that Halloween would be extremely anticlimactic after having such a great time over the weekend, but I was proved quite wrong! Luckily for me I work for a cool company that’s all about having fun and plying people with food at every opportunity, so there was plenty going on when I went back to work on Monday. Starting off with jack-o-lantern carving! I love it! How many people get to carve pumpkins at work I wonder? I went for a Jolly Roger design to complement the costume I wore to work on Halloween.
I know, I know…I was a pirate last year. But I wanted to avoid causing any kind of controversy so I decided that the Madonna wig and Baby Bandu should stay at home. So, instead I pulled out some of the stuff I wore out last year, mixed in with a few new pieces and voila…pirate! Although the pirate boots of last year now live at the Bosnian charity shop in Acton, this year’s outfit had one key accessory that last year’s was severely wanting–a parrot. I knew it was a good idea to get that bird at the grocery store in Gran Canaria! With my little green parrot on my shoulder and a new, improved cutlass complete with swashbuckling sound effects secured in my sash, I was ready for work.
There’s no way I’ll win the contest for best costume. One of my coworkers came in rocking one of the most amazing get-ups I’ve ever seen! She was dressed as the Queen of Hearts and had this massive hoop skirt, a huge white ringleted wig and geisha-esque face makeup. It was awesome. Most other people had costumes of varying degrees of creativity and effort. We had a party in the afternoon with tons of food where I satisfied my two-year long craving for candy corn pumpkins, but the best part by far was the palm reading.
When I heard that one of the girls I work with would be reading palms I thought she’d be making up a bunch of funny stuff, similar to the games of MASH that Kelly and I amuse ourselves with far too much than is befitting our age. Then when people who’d had their palms read ahead of me walked away from the table looking a little astonished I was very eager for my turn. I don’t believe in mystical stuff like that, but I do think it’s supremely entertaining. I’d always been fascinated by it as a kid and had checked out library books on the subject, but I’d never had anyone else do a reading before. The furthest I ever go is reading my horoscopes in the backs of magazines.
When I sat down for my turn Alejandra took my left hand in hers and adjusted it so she could find something she was looking for. She then studied it for a few seconds before saying, “This is weird. I know you only have one brother, but your palm says you have two siblings.” I’d talked to her about my brother in the past, but I don’t think I’d ever mentioned my sister to her. When I told her I did have two siblings, she just smiled and said that made sense.
The rest of my reading was really interesting. She went on to tell me that physical distance already separates me from my brother, and that we’ll continue to be apart in the future. Additionally, I will also be separated from my sister in the future. I will live a long time and be financially stable for most of my life, apart from one period where I’ll need money. She reassured me that she suspected this would be due to financing my children’s college education. And I thought they were just creases in my hand! According to her, a person unrelated to me, but connected in some way to one of my siblings and who will have an impact on my progeny, will enter my life and stay with me until the end, presumably a spouse. She said I would have two great loves in my life, and that one would be weaker than the other. She also said that the weaker one had already occurred. She then looked up at me with a concerned look on her face and said, “And it has left you scarred!” Oh no! Apparently I’m damaged goods. Oh well, my hand says I have one greater one to look forward to within the next five years and that this person will eventually lead to two children. This part was great…she said the genders of my children were ambiguous to her. I joked that I hoped that didn’t mean they would be hermaphroditic (not that I would love them any less!), and when I thought she would laugh she just deadpanned, “Or they could possibly be gay. But I’m almost sure one will be a girl.” Not bad. One girl and one Pat.
My future really wasn’t that bad at all. Especially compared to a couple of other people’s. Most everyone had some pretty standard lives to look forward to, but poor Adriana was told she would be lucky to make it past 50, and another woman was told she would have two great loves in her life too. The problem with that is that she’s married, but according to her palm she hasn’t even met her second love yet! Uh-oh.
In the afternoon I was crashing after all the sugar I’d had earlier and I didn’t think I was going to make it through the day, let alone go out downtown like I’d told Hilary and Adriana. But I got my second wind before I left to go home and wanted to get as much mileage out of my pirate costume as possible. I met them at their condo and some of their neighbors and their friends came over too and we all walked over to Himmarshee. I was gobsmacked at the turnout. I thought we might be one group of only a handful that came out dressed up, but literally everyone downtown had gone all out on amazing costumes! It was hysterical! I’d never seen so many people in costumes in one place ever before in my life. There were some really great ones, like the 10-ft tall dancing Gumby, a massive Lego man, a historically accurate Jesus, a Luke Skywalker with Yoda clinging to his back and, hysterical yet completely repulsive, a guy dressed as a huge, used maxi pad dancing around outside the Brick Room. Nice. Not only was it so fun to see all the different costumes, but I think one reason it was so great last night was that nobody was trying so ridiculously hard to impress anyone. Nobody except the girls dressed up as a Sexy fill-in-the-blank and the few guys who’d shown up as Chippendales really cared about anything other than having fun. I for one didn’t miss all the overly gelled, perma-tan metrosexual guys. If only every night was Halloween.
And now it’s a full year until next year’s Halloween! Too bad! It’s okay though, because now that it’s over it means Thanksgiving’s only a few weeks away, then it’s Christmas, my birthday and New Year’s! Then January hits you like a ton of bricks and it’s depressing. Nothing good until February (and then that really depends on your circumstances!), and after that St. Patrick’s Day at a stretch. Then nothing until Fourth of July. That’s too sad to think about…better to enjoy the holidays now that they’re soon arriving!
Tags: costumes, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Halloween, Himmarshee, holidays, Riverfront, Travel