November 1st, 2003

Brian and Anne

How was everyone's Halloween?

Ours was pretty quiet. My co-worker had given me this perfect-looking pumpkin, but I had had neither the time nor the inspiration to carve it. Still, we gave out treats, and I figured out a way to scare the trick-or-treaters that was pretty fun.

It was a beautiful evening, so I walked home from work. I didn't see many trick-or-treaters, but I did see some impressive decorations - a front lawn filled with carved pumpkins, and one house where the upstairs front lights were being lit by a not-quite strobing flashing bluish light and they had the sillouette of a person up there so you gradually got this feeling you were being watched.

When I got home, Bill was playing Final Fantasy and reported getting a few trick-or-treaters already. I had developed the notion on the way home that there wasn't enough in the evening that was scary, so when I got home I went upstairs and got into a simple witch costume (black skirt, high-necked, long-sleeved long black shirt, witches hat, bare feet, cat earings and cat ring) and aged my face with eyeliner.* I also added a brown dot on my upper lip and did dark eyeliner around my eyes.

I took my pumpkin and the basket of goodies and a chair out on the porch, sat down with my head tilted down so the hat obscured my eyes, and froze.

I'm quite good at holding still. Two years of mime training wasn't for naught. The first group to come up was three boys with their parents. The boys asked if this was an okay house to go to. The parents answered it was a very good house to go to. The boys came up the walk to where I could see the lower halves of their legs and stopped uncertainly, since I didn't move. They said "Trick or Treat." There was a pause. I looked up, leaned forward, raised my hands at them and said "Boo!" all very fast and theatrically. It was so old-fashioned a scare it's funny, but it worked! The boy in the lead jumped and reared back and the look on his face was fabulous! classic! After they got their treats and headed on the parents complimented me on my staying still and said they had been hoping for something scary.

Even better was the group of kids whose mother was carrying their bags and walked up ahead of them. They were asking "Is it real?" and she was inching toward me saying "I hope it's not real" - she was going to touch me to find out! When I said "Boo!" they all screamed and ran away to the driveway before they came back for goodies. Including mom. That was the highlight of the night. As they walked away I froze again and the little boy said to his mom "She's getting ready for another customer!" it was very cute.

We didn't really have that many kids come, but it seemed like more than last year. Around 8:45 I got hungry and went in to make tacos for dinner and I think we only had two groups come after that.

*Aging the face: That is one of the truly useful things I learned in advanced stage makeup - add creases to the area between your eyebrows, add wrinkles in the corners of your eyes, darken the creases that run from your nose to the corners of your mouth, and add shadows on either side of your chin to make a suggestion of jowls. You can also add horrizontal lines on your forehead but I was going to wear a hat, so I didn't bother. In all cases it's easier and more believable if you scrunch up your face so you're adding wrinkles in the right places - the places where the skin naturally folds.