It's true. It's been ten years since "the first" Halloween Party in my apartment in the North End. Alex came as Frankenstein and was so in character I didn't recognize him when I answered the door. The Better Half was there too (before I knew he was really the better half), and there were eyeballs (apples with raisin centers) in the punch. My brother dressed as the tooth fairy, and everyone said his wig made him look like his sisters. The party itself was simple, but the costumes were amazing. I loved giving my friends a chance to display their creativity. I'm sorry I don't have pictures of that year - the goldfish costume alone was stunning.
The next year, Alex and Bobbi (in their tiny apartment downstairs from Steve's not-quite-as-tiny apartment) fed us all a spaghetti supper on Halloween and we watched them do multiple costume changes as they decided what to wear later in the evening. I had no idea you could transition from macabre Victorian gentleman to revolutionary politician so quickly. It was my first introduction to Bobbi's fondness for fangs in her Halloween costumes. Somehow, she always manages to work them in.
And it grew. When Bobbi bought her little house, we took advantage of the perfect Halloween Party sized yard. I remember carving dozens of pumpkins... and giant pumpkins that took three of us to roll onto a truck, big enough for me to crawl into when hollowed out. I remember mad scientist labs, cobwebs, candlelight...
Looking through the pictures, I am amazed at what we pulled off. A pirate ship. An honest to goodness sunken pirate ship complete with skeletal captain at the wheel. In the back yard. A mausoleum... torches, mummy, fantastically creepy cemetery. A smoke breathing dragon that we later donated to the local Haunted Forest (a non-profit organization). He was my chicken-wire and PVC-pipe-framed baby, and I'm still sad we had to give him up. The witch Alex's grandfather built that always greeted guests and trick-or-treaters from the front porch (the fingernails that curled 'round the rocking chair arms were my favorite skin-crawling detail).
There was frantic last minute prep. There was crankiness and stage fright. But really, it was all worth it to see the reaction of the guests and trick-or-treaters when they came through the gate into that tiny and Halloween-magicked backyard.
I've posted pictures of our projects, but there's just not room to post our friend's costumes. A shark eating a diver, the most amazing bride of Frankenstein ever, an airplane, a giant sunflower, Team Zissou from Life Aquatic, corporate pirates... the list is endless and impressive.
Alex and Bobbi, our source of Halloween inspiration and collaboration are in London for the next year. London - rich in creepy history. Halloween all the time if you wish it so. I read about a pre-anaesthesia operating theatre that's been turned into a museum, and A & B have already been on a Jack the Ripper pub crawl - enough combination of kitsch and creep to be quite fun.
We've been wondering if we should even DO a Halloween Party this year. But it's year TEN. And my best friend from high school (he's also our neighbor) can't host it (believe me, I did my best, and he bought it... and then he came to his senses). So it's on, despite the fact that it feels weird without our partners in all things Halloween. Really, we can't NOT do it, now can we?! And once you cave, Halloween Party accoutrements seem to materialize before your eyes... Really, who couldn't do with a nice pair of spider web drinking glasses, or an extra skull?