Halloween, for me, is one of the most exciting holidays out there. It started as a pagan celebration in Ireland, as a Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain is the end of harvest season, when Pagans would prepare for winter. It’s also the night that people believe that the living and deads world are closest. So people would dress in costumes to mimic the evil spirits and fool them into thinking they were dead also. Trick or treat originates from the need to play pranks at this time, to appease the spirits. Often they say if you don’t get a treat, then you play a trick.
Halloween has taken on a life of its own in America. From the days of wearing the painful plastic masks with pinholes for vision in the eighties to today where people spend thousands of dollars on their costumes, its day has come. There’s no religious aspect to it, so it’s just a nice way for people to make believe. It’s also a great way to show your creativity. For me, it’s not about spending tons of money, but seeing what you can do with what you have.
For my costume this year I used a tablecloth, an old sheet, and dollar store gold tablemat. From that with a slew of safety pins, I was able to make a really fun Buddy Jesus costume. Of course I have not shaved in over a month for the role too. I like to do some controversial costumes, and this years was no different. It’s not the first time I walked on water for Halloween, but I think this version was the best. Other costumes I have done were the Star Report, including some cigars, a Bag of Weed and Coke, and a flasher with an unusually large unit. It’s all in good fun, and of course, only at adult events.
Costumes are not the only thing that’s fun for Halloween, the pumpkins are key too. Yvonne and I hit the Pumpkin patch to look for the perfect pumpkin. We stopped at Linvilla Orchards, which was great fun. It’s more of an amusement park then a farm now, with hay mazes, apple sling shots, hay rides, apple picking, and just about anything you can think of. After spending a lovely afternoon there, it’s time to turn the house into a haunted castle. For me I just like to go with an old ghost out of drop clothes, bale of hay, some random pumpkins, and a hay stalk. But that is very minimal compared to some people who build cemeteries outside their house, create giant spiders, and have evil music echoing out of the house. It’s just so much fun.
Then a few nights before Halloween, it’s time to pop the cork on a nice bottle of wine, bring out the biggest knifes in the kitchen, and massacre those lovely pumpkins you picked. I used to just go to town on them, trying to make the scariest pumpkin possible, but now there are so many amazing designs, that more thought is required. All the food artists out there have really stepped up the game. This year I did a Flying Tinkerbell. But I can’t give up the scary pumpkins completely, so I have a really large Pumpkin eating his small, unloved cousin.
On Devils night this year, we stopped at the Philadelphia Art Museum for a Dr. Sketchy event, where we had a chance to do a series of life drawings in the spirit of Halloween. Dr. Sketchy is a great event that lets you sketch various interesting and unique models doing fun and different things, from Pin Up Models to people dressed like the Walking Dead cast, including zombies. This night they also had a makeup artist transform my friend Mary Brickthrower into a zombie, and it was a hell of a job. You would not want to meet her on a dark night, hunting for some brains to eat.
For Halloween the highlight of the day will be handing candy out to the kids. Nothing like reliving all the excitement of holiday then seeing who it’s really for, those sugar fiends. To finish the night off, I have made a habit of going to the Henry David Ball for the last 15 years. Henry David is a jewelry designer in Center City who has a mad passion for the season, and has rented a hotel for over 45 years to throw his gala event. He changes outfits 3 or 4 times a night, and each one is more elaborate than the last. I will just sit in the lobby and watch everyone walk up to the event, getting to check out all the great costumes. There is one guy who is an engineer for a job, and creates the coolest costumes. He was a full size Operation game, a crane game where you grab a toy, and Doc Cock, from Spiderman fame. All his costumes are fully functioning, really impressive. Then you have all your naked painted girls, group costumes like a Walking Elephant with riders, and zombies. If you are in Philly, don’t miss this.