Okay, now we're a solid week past Halloween, it's time for me to blog about it! Sorry about the tardiness- I had to go to the UK this week and internet access there is always spotty. Especially at the Hilton Manchester Airport. We do have a toll-free UK number we can use for internet, but the hotel charges 50 pence (roughly 6.34 galleons) a minute for toll-free
calls. How do they sleep at night? So in an effort to save your taxpayer dollars, I decided not to chat with Ramya, check Facebook or ESPN or do work e-mail for a few days. These are the sacrifices I make as part of my civil service.
One note I will tell you about the United Kingdom: Does anyone know what they talked about there this week? I'll tell you: Obama. And then they'd talk about Obama, and when that got old, they would move on to Obama. Obama, Obama, and more Obama. From when I stepped off the plane Tuesday morning (before the election, mind you (I voted early before I left)) until we took off Friday, virtually every television channel (they only have like seven, mind you), radio station, magazine cover, or T-shirt was either a picture or sound bite from Obama. Shelley and I foolishly thought we would be getting away from election talk by fleeing across the Atlantic, but we were sorely mistaken. On the bright side, the election seems to have made the European community hate America a lot less, so we've got that going for us.
So back on topic. Halloween! Early on it came to my attention that Ramya had never carved a pumpkin before. How can that be? So in order to do it right, we eschewed the el-cheapo $2 pumpkin carving set and sprung for the $4 el-deluxo kit. This also marked the first time I've ever carved a pumpkin from a pre-made pattern. To me that makes it less impressive, but it was still a "medium" difficulty design, and I think I pulled it off (mine is on the left). Ramya did an excellent job with her classic face layout.
And because I'm sure Carly and Karen are dying to know, yes I did carve a Marc symbol in the back to project on the wall. It's just that we decided to put them out along the sidewalk so you couldn't tell. You didn't think I would totally forgo personalization, did you?
The night after Halloween (Saturday) we went to my friend Dan's Halloween party. Ramya and my costume wasn't so much a "couple's" getup as it was a "pair." See if you can guess:
Get it? Anyone? Okay, if you guessed Hannah Montana
and Billy Ray Cyrus
, you're way ahead of the curve. And yes, we went dressed as a father and daughter pair. This was met with more than a few "Ewws" and "That's disgustings!" It's a Halloween costume, people! We're not advocating incest or anything. Lighten up!
There was a very interesting aspect of putting these costumes together for Ramya and me. First, to get my Billy Ray outfit we simply hit up the Salvation Army- always a reliable source for cheap, out of date clothes that you're going to deface, wear once and then never touch again. Ramya (and her friend Kavel, who joined us for the trip) had never been in a resale shop. Whereas I, being Tawnya Rowden's son, spent a good portion of my childhood in such places and
wearing stranger's gently used clothing items. Their verdict was that it was a little sad, being that we were in there ironically, and for many of the patrons this is their primary source of goods. But that's a topic for another post.
On the other side of the coin, to transform Ramya into Hannah Montana we had to visit several stores in the mall that I have been walking past for 20-odd years, and it had never occurred to me to go inside. I'm talking about Claire's, Forever 21, and a whole host of others I can't remember with names like "The Rouge." These places are primarily geared toward pre-teens or sorostitues, dealing in "clubbing" clothes. We're talking glittery, skimpy, shimmery, rhinestoney, ridiculous clothes. As much of a foreigner as Ramya and Kavel were in the Salvation Army, I stood puzzled in these stores thinking "Who wears this garbage?" I would look at some little, one shoulder couture rhinestoned top with, I don't know, "Tasty" bedazzled across the front (on sale for $215) and asked "When would anyone possibly wear this? What utility does this have?" They would look at me and reply "Duh! Clubbing." Right. Clubbing. This is one of many areas that I have no expertise whatsoever in. Luckily the Hannah Montana and Billy Ray outfits came together relatively cheaply as we exhaustively searched from resale shops to high-falutent clubbing retailers- or as I like to call it, "The Best of Both Worlds." Yeah, I went there.
Another note about Claire's: They sell jewlery and accessories to what,8-14 year old girls, right? Well, then one we went to was selling flasks. Like, you know, for booze. They had several versions- ones with an art deco peace sign screened on, one with "I heart NY" in pink rhinestones, and many more. What are these for? Why does a pre-teen girl need a flask? How are we okay with this?
Furthermore, we checked the seasonal Halloween store just to see what they had. And let me tell you, pedophiles everywhere can rejoice, because slutty costumes aren't just for adults anymore. They had several choices including, but not limited to, Shipwrecked
- or as I think of it, pre-teen pirate ho. Would you let your daughter wear that? I must be getting old, because as I was searching for that picture I felt like I was looking at kiddie porn. This might just be a sign of the times, but that seems way too revealing for a child to wear to me. Heck, I remember the time in 8th grade that Britt Unger wore a top that bared her midriff. Why? Because it caused quite a stir and people talked about it for days. I believe she was asked by the school not to wear it again. I bet if any man who was attending Concord Junior High in 1992 reads this post, they will remember exactly what I'm talking about.
As for passing out candy, it was another down year. I can't figure this place out- one year we'll get like 60 kids, then the next it'll be like 20. On the plus side I think there were only 1 or 2 that weren't wearing a costume (though it seems that every member of the Leonardtown Raiders football team dressed up as a football player). The trick-or-treaters started showing up around 6:00, and were long done with by 7:30. So Ramya and I made dinner, went downstairs to watch a movie, etc. Right about 10:00 the doorbells rings, so I answer it. On my doorstep were two "boys" that were about my height, both wearing normal street clothes save for Target bags with eyeholes on their heads. I was like "Really? Okay." And gave them each some candy. All in all, better participation than last year
On a final note, while in the UK we talked with the local guys about Halloween (I think it started because I was always eating candy in the meeting). Apparently they only started celebrating Halloween about 5 years ago, and they say it has really caught on in the last two years. Who knew? I thought it was just an American thing.
So you can check out the rest of my pictures here
. Happy Halloween! On to Thanksgiving.
Labels: england, halloween, travel