Saturday, October 31, 2009


There was some debate this year about what to do about the annual Halloween party. I had a doula client due with her first baby on the 27th, so I was none too sure about even having a party and put thinking about the whole thing off for weeks. Then, after we recovered from what I can only assume was the swine flu (oh I hope, I hope), she had her baby a week early and I was free to party hardy marty.

But then, what to do about the Harry Potter theme we usually went with? We had all those decorations, but Aleks was getting tired of my ongoing Harry Potter obsession. So I asked Steve and Heather about it one night and Steve said we should just have a Harry Potter party anyway. That sealed it for Aleks, probably because Steve is awesome and someone to look up to. Steve also helped me sway Aleks away from light up shoes earlier this fall.

With only a week to get my crap together, I hurriedly found a new and improved invitation. In previous years, we had sent out a Hogwarts acceptance letter and a cover of the Daily Prophet. I knew of a lady online who was more Harry Potter obsessed than I who had designed a fantastic Marauder's Map. Lucky for me, she offered it up for free for purposes such as mine. I added an insert with handwritten notes from Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs explaining about the party itself. Thus we got things underway.

I told the boys to go ahead and decide what they wanted to be and that I'd fit it into Harry Potter. True to my word, Aleks decided to be a zombie, which in Harry Potter canon would be an inferius. Bastian chose to be a knight. We named him Sir Cadogan after the knight with the fat pony who takes over the job of the Fat Lady after Sirius Black slashes her painting up. I made his costume out of newspaper and foil tape.

Finding foil tape was a bit difficult. I wasn't really sure what it was for, so when I went to my local big box home improvement store, I asked for silver tape. True to big box form, the person I'd asked referred me to the wrong location and I found myself in an aisle full of duct tape. Then it occurred to me that foil tape is actually used on ducts, so I asked for the duct aisle and finally found a roll of the stuff. It's super sticky and will slice up your skin, if you're not careful, which, toward the end, I wasn't. Natty took the boys trick-or-treating with our friend Emma and another neighbor kid. I stayed back and readied the party, lighting all the jack-o-lanterns and setting out food and drinks. We only carved the pumpkins the day of the party as everything we do tends to be jumbled in with too many other things and something always gets left to the last minute. I picked Emma up at 3:30 and had her carving pumpkins by 4:30 for the party at 7. We cut it close and didn't get too fancy about any of it.
Emma carved a Harry Potter pumpkin. Bastian recognized it right away.
I did a fancy lady pumpkin to match my costume.
Emma's cyclops was my favorite. Bastian wanted a Happy pumpkin (the small one at the bottom), and I utilized a smooshed side to make a jack-o-lantern who'd been hit over the head.

Jon carved the largest of the pumpkins to reflect his own attitude.
I was Rita Skeeter for the party.
In the end, the event was a hybrid. I didn't insist on costumes in keeping with the books this year, so Dolly Parton was among our guests to be sorted. She was also the only guest to successfully complete our scavenger hunt without aid. There was another funny moment when Dolly was interviewed about her impoverished upbringing in Tennessee by a scandal-sniffing Rita Skeeter.
Axl Rose and Slash also showed up rather inexplicably.
Then, in a strange twist, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Slash, and Axl Rose all did some photo-oping together.
We were even treated to a very special set of performances:

I dyed Natty's hair with kool-aid and made 8 Weird Sisters tee-shirts so Natty could be Tonks. Well, the other 7 tees were really for prizes for the scavenger hunt, but still.
Little Orphan Annie made a brief appearance.
Aleks practiced being a real zombie by chewing on my leg...
...and on Bob's arm...

I think Jon pulls this costume out every year when he's feeling the need to no longer play the grumpy grad student. It suits him almost too well.
Barbara said she was Professor Trelawney, but I think she just looked lovely.
Anna claimed this as a Lupin costume, but really she was just running late from work.
Adult shenanigans ended the evening as always. The boys stayed up super duper late on a sugar high and we all slept in deep and long on dia de los muertos.

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