Sunday, October 31, 2010

Orange & Black.

The kids ready to trick-or-treat.
Aviator, Elfaba, Princess Leia (Hoth persuasion), Snow white
(Sorry for the bad picture)

Today was Halloween. Yesterday was our HUGE Halloween party at the Barn. We had a spook alley and apple bobbing, donuts on a string and a cupcake walk. We had a costume contest and Frankenstein and his Bride won. His boots had 6 inch platforms and her hair was 12 inches tall. The spook alley was terrifying. Full of all the things spook alleys should have: fog, moaning, screaming, spider webs, disembodied heads, jumpy skeletons and a coffin rising vampire. I went in during the day, in the light, knowing everything that was going to happen, and I still peed my pants. Practically. Also, don’t underestimate apple bobbing. I know it seems gross, and it sorta is, but the kids LOVE it. They cheer and clap and I made sure that I took all the stems off the apples so that no one can cheat. By the end the apple water has turned all colors of hair dye, makeup, and—hate to say it, but it’s true—spittle. Kids were running around with drippy faces and soppy hair. Needless to say, we had a spectacular time.

The Barn: before the party.

Tonight was trick-or-treating. We went in Grandma’s neighborhood, because she has more sidewalks and street lights and houses that give away full-size candy bars.

I love Halloween. I love all the people out going door to door. I love the costumes. The Jack-o-lanterns. The crickets chirping. The fog coming in. The stars coming out. And the kids, cautiously at first, and then with reckless abandon yelling, “Trick or treat!” Jane saying, as she’s trying to keep up with her older siblings, “These houses sure are scary, but we’re getting a lot of candy.” We only fell once (Jane), had to pee once in the bushes (Jane), and had to ride on daddy’s shoulders once (Jane).

The best part about tonight. The orange and black. Not the orange and black of pumpkins and witches’ hats, but the orange and black: colors of the San Francisco Giants. At every house, people in their orange and black t-shirts handed out candy distractedly, with one eye on the score—and one ear listening for the sounds of the crowds on the TV and radio. They called out the score as we offered our “Happy Halloweens,” and then hurried back inside. It’s a good time to live in the Bay Area. Everyone has a smile on their face and we are pulled together with a sense of solidarity, a common ground, a shared cohesiveness that Halloween can’t do on its own. So, for us, orange and black lasts a little longer, and even if we lose—hey, we made it to October. And that’s got to count for something.

The spoils.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you want to pee your pants…

I have been doing a lot of google schlepping lately in an attempt to finish up costumes. In the effort to finish Canyon’s costume of what he calls, “old-fashioned pilot” and what is determined as “aviator,” on google, I ran across some incredible sites. Most of the sites are devoted to ‘steampunk,’ my new favorite genre. What is steam-punk you might ask? Let me explain it to you as I understand it. (My source of information is mainly from our new nightly reading/listening of this.

Ok. Here we go: steampunk is set in the Victorian Era, with a little ‘punk’ added to it. The ‘punk’ comes from the obvious; this is a Victorian Era of an alternate universe. The steam, well—most everything is powered by steam in this era. Get it? Wow. I learned about steampunk one day and for the next weeks afterwards, it seems that’s all I see. It’s amazing that I’d never even heard of it before.

Anywho. The point is, that there’s a lot of steam-punk websites out there with instructions on how to make aviator hats and goggles. So it’s been extremely helpful for me and the completion of Canyon’s costume. So in addition to patterns for aviator hats, I ran across this website.

Go ahead and look and then come back.

You might need to change your pants first.

Ok. Very funny, right? As much as I feel I need a helmet to keep aliens from telepathically controlling my mind, the fact that it’s $30 for the material, well, that’s just priceless. My favorite, of course are the testimonials.

From a happy purchaser in Austria:
"I have been abducted by aliens for years and found by a happy coincidence.

The Thought Screen Helmet, invented by an expert, has stopped the unwelcome visitations and has raised me and my family`s quality of life. Therefore I highly recommend it."

Really. My family and I have not had this alien abduction problem, yet—so it’s difficult for me to see the value of this product. I can imagine though. Only imagine.

My favorite testimonial:
“The Thought Screen Helmet is working perfectly. I have not had contact with the aliens since I first started using it. Though twice now coming back from work, I have noticed lights following to the rear of my car, so now I take the helmet with me in the car in case I am abducted. “

After reading this next one, I too was perplexed as to how the helmet continues to obstruct these beings that are supposedly so much more advanced than we are. Humph? Oh, well, point is that it works, right?
"The hat and helmet work very well and I have experience much relief wearing them. I am however, surprised that the aliens have not found a way to thwart this simple but effective technology. At any rate I am very happy with mine and thank you again for your work."

Make sure to check out their thorough page on Alien weaknesses, you never know when that might come in handy. And just look at their record of success, only three failures since 1998.