Monday, November 2, 2009

A Most Wondrous Hallowe’en!

I joke about it being Hallowe’en all year long for me. As an art form that is compatible for both my aptitude and interests, costuming is something I am most adept with. Not to mention it is fun to play and make-believe.

I do go to a lot of conventions, and I do soak up the adulations of my work, but mostly I enjoy the collective role-play with my groups of like minded and themed kin-of-awesomeness.

Granted, it truly isn’t Hallowe’en all year long. The traditions get shelved for another year to make way for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Children’s costumes are piled in the corner as they get wired on candy delight, and adults barely function from the results copious alcoholic libations, and the stripping of an identity that a costume encourages.

This Hallowe’en in particular was most spectacular! My daughter, a senior in high school, wore my spacesuit to a friend’s party! Her geek and mine resonate on two completely different waveforms so it was a proud moment for me that she wanted to wear one of my creations. She got into the part to as she spent a lot of time laughing and doing this slow exaggerated walk around the house and to the car. Evidently at the party she received mad accolades!

The Cowford Steampunk Society attended a special event at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. On display for this time of year were vintage Hallowe’en artifacts from 1903 to 1911. How very educational! The peoples of this Victorian age put so much in to the holiday!

The Hallowe’en cards were more decorative than our own modern Christmas Cards! The costumes spookier and not surprisingly home spun! Games I had forgotten about, Bobbing for Apples to name one, unheard of these days. In the photographs and the illustrations from the day huge gatherings of community to celebrate this day!

A gentleman and his daughter were on hand to play old 78’s records on a Victrola. Many of the artifacts on hand were ones that he brought from his own collection. Masks made from clay and paper for old Europe, the cards, the 78’s were all his. They even brought reading of old Halloween poetry that was read by Gene, a sophisticated gent and a caretaker of the museum that marked the greatest event of the evening!

There was a vast gathering of people partaking in the festivities, and astonished by the artifacts! To have a crowd on hand minutes after the finish of the Florida-Georgia Game was fantastic! Truth be told from what I saw as I was driving the 30 minutes it took to cover the 10 blocks to the museum was the fans of the game were wearing their own costumes by way of the college colors of the Gators and the Bulldogs. It was fascinating in the anthropological sense to observe this bit of tribalism in urban Florida. Without knowing what lurked in the soul of the stranger you were either marked as a friend, or a foe based solely in the colors of the skin you put on.

I was talking to my friend Jay about this. He is a die hard Gator, being an alumni of that prestigious university, and he agrees that a lot of sports fans are costumers. I may never ever be a goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but it doesn’t stop me from wearing the jersey. I saw on a conservative level about 30 people wearing what I believe to be Tim Tebow jerseys and not a single one of them was Tim Tebow!

The thing that made the greatest impact on me though, is all of the writings of the time. Be they the handmade or manufactured cards, the posters, the lobby cards, or even the newspapers all spelled Halloween, Hallowe’en. This made me think about how this grand holiday has been dumbed down and robbed of its elegance. This shall be the last time I ever spell Hallowe’en, Halloween.

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