Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007


The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

MY PERSONAL HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN -- by little gator

(Lydia and pals waiting for The Great Pumpkin at the Gators' house, Halloween 2006)

This is my set of memories, so I'm not going into the origins and possible meanings of Halloween, or the history and alternate spelling fo the name itself. To me, it's a time for certain types of goofy fun.



Pigging out on candy, dressing up as things or people you are not, being scared or pretending to be scared of things that are supposed to be scary or disgusting, creating my favorite ephemeral folk art, running around alone in the dark and for one night a year feeling safe doing so -- what's not to like?



I know a lot of adults who hate handing out candy, but I'm not one of them.

My earliest memory is of the clown suit in the basement. I though it was icky, and not in a good way. It was the right size for a 4 or 5 year old, and I'd probably had a turn wearing it.



We wore our costumes to school if we wanted to, and we usually did. They carefully explained that the "trick" part of "trick or treat" was obsolete and mean, and if someone didn't have goodies for us we should be polite. We got our little boxes for pennies for UNICEF. Later I learned that was intended to replace begging for candy, not supplement it. And we all knew which kids gave brought the money to turn in at school amd which kids kept it. I haven't been asked for Halloween UNICEF money in ages -- do they still do that?

The earliest Halloween I remember I was in second grade, and my mother made me a witch costume. Her black skirt, when safety pinned to fit my waist, almost reached my ankles. I wore a plain white shirt and a black shawl borrowed from my grandmother, and of course I carried a broom. The only thing that cost money was the hat.

(Origami witch)

In third grade, we made hideous masks in school from paper grocery bags. I wanted to use mine, of course, but what to do about the rest of me? Mom to the rescue again. She gave me a long striped satin bathrobe in metallic colors, mostly purple and black. It was icky in a very fun way.

She's never been able to remember where she got it.

The sad thing was there were 11 houses on our street, and we weren't allowed on the busy main road, so only once got the huge sack of goodies some of my friends had. We'd be finished in a very short time. One family always made exactly 12 popcorn balls. There were many more than 11 children on the street, so that house was usually a waste. When my mother checked our candy and saw the popcorn ball she's ask who gave it to us, we'd say "Mrs. Sousa" and she'd say that was ok then. I wished just once she'd remember.
(The Halloween Tree, book and cover painting by Ray Bradbury)
Then came the glorious year of fifth grade. I was to go the whole length of a residential country road with my best friend Debbie, and then stay over at her house. It was everything I'd missed, and oddly enough, once was enough. My paper bag robot costume fell apart early on, but even that didn't matter -- I'd made it myself which made it all good.

The very last time I was in high school and too old, but I was my youngest sister's chaperone and didn't take any goodies, which made it ok. I didn't bother with a costume but I did comb my long hair over my face, put my glasses over it, and said I was Cousin Itt.
(The Bell Witch)
Our first house was in an isolated spot on a dead end at the bottom on a hill, and no one came there. So I started going out myself to a crowded area not far away, to admire the kids and pumpkins. I took my dog along and put a baggy t-shirt on her, pinning up the bottom so she didn't trip or pee on it. This went on for many years, and sometimes I had 2 dogs (all my dogs have been assorted Coonhounds). Kids who had no idea who I was would yell "Look! It's the ghost doggies!" One time someone called me over to the house for a dog biscuit for Rikki. Another time Rikki and I were standing in the road watching a busy house while a mother was near me watching her daughter go to that house. She gave me a disapproving look , so I asked her how she liked my son's dog costume. She couldn't get away from me fast enough. I even met another ghost doggie, whose human said I'd inspired him to do that. This one was a German Shepherd in a tight child's t-shirt -- cute but not very ghostly.

Now I live on a long residential road similar to the one Debbie lived on. Sometimes we get lots of kids, sometimes none. We're near the top of a hill now and some can't be bothered to make the hike. I had the honor of seeing the neighbors' grandson as a vampire in regular baby clothes and a black cape. All he understood was the candy.

My mother stays over at our overly decorated house (we have a reputation by now) on Halloween, and I buy too much candy and you can guess what I do with it. Sadly, I had to go chocolate free this year since my migraines won't let me eat chocolate anymore. Keep Lindt truffles for the parents (only white chocolate this year. sigh), coins just in case, the usual candy for kids, and Halloween themed cheap toys from Oriental Trading.

I haven't seen the two girls lately -- they've probably gotten too old for it. They were close friends who always dressed as the same thing, but in different styles. One year they were both witches, another year they were both angels.


And then there's the pumpkins. As a child we were rationed -- one pumpkin each and we had to carve it outdoors so the house wouldn't get messy. We used to walk about 1/2 mile to a farm stand to get them. One year my brother got one too big to carry and dragged it home on his coat.

Now I always have a bunch of them, homegrown in a good growing year. The Pumpkin Masters gave me tools that made it easier, but I did ok with just kitchen knives. And to me it's just not right unless it's a face, preferably smiling with lots of teeth. I used to draw them before I carve, but now I usually do them freehand.

Most years I have a BYOP carving party. It's always more fun if someone brings children, and I encourage them to not worry about messes, telling them I'll clean up later. I got to teach 2 small boys the phrase "pumpkin guts" while their mother and aunt wondered how they'd ever forgotten to educate them on that.
(After Pumpkin Carving Party 2006 at the Gators' house.)
I torment my friends. Every time I make the first cut to open a pumpkin I sing "the first cut is the deepest."

Sometimes I make rat cupcakes. I bend disposable mini loaf pans into vaguely ratty shapes and make cake (one box mix makes 8 rats) They have candy corn ears, red candy eyes, and gummi worm tails. Best of all, I slit their little tummies and pipe in some red frosting for rat guts. Most people find 1/2 rat is enough, and I'm always happy to tell them that I give a rat's ass.

And finally, a few days later, I carefully place the pumpkins on the compost pile and watch them rot away without having to be close enough to smell them as they enrich the soil for the next years crop.

Poem written by gator's mother with a Halloween-themed Poetry Magnet Kit, unpunctated as is traditional with poetry magnets:

Halloween
October night
carve a pumpkin
wicked fright
werewolf costume
may I speak
spooky witch
wails
trick or shriek

Untitled by gator

a fat pumpkin was decorated for Halloween
a child carved a face with big silly teeth and creepy eyes
a candle glowed in its head
costumed kids loved the ghostly weirdness

yet after October
lies a silent corpse
smelly bruised and melancholy
its cracked decaying skin
hides cold orange guts and slimy seeds
it slowly rots into wilted dirt
recalling a magic autumn night



Untitled also by gator

black and orange candy corn
in the graveyard zombies born
kids as monsters eerie sky
in rotting caskets corpses lie
evil goblins waking dead
bloody fangs and severed head
vampires drink live peoples gore
that's what Halloween is for

37 comments:

shadocat said...

Gator, those picutes are terrific!(although I was hoping to see a picture of you in costume!)Those pumpkin carving parties sound like so much fun!

kat said...

I'm re-copying my comment from the last post, since it goes much better with this one:

Halloween. I love halloween. It's absolutely, without a doubt, my favoritest holiday.

I'm flummoxed, though.

Why are most store-bought women's halloween costumes "sexy" or "sassy"?? Furthermore, the most ridiculous "sexy" costume I've had the misfortune to encounter is the sexy little dutch girl.....

um....what the fuck????

Also, why spend a shit-ton of money to buy a costume that you'll wear once, and when you get to your party, all done up as "sassy little ----insert cliche here----," you realize that there are 4 others dressed exactly like you???

I'm off to find some multi-colored checkered fabric to complete my historically-accurate-commedia dell'arte outfit.


oh, and Gator? I wish I lived near you. Sounds like your place is the best on Halloween!!

kat said...

P.S. I'm firmly of the belief that hand made (or hand assembled out of stuff you already had) costumes are the best.

shadocat said...

Halloween is also my favorite holiday, for many reasons besides costumes and candy. I think one reason is that celebrating it is completely optional; one doesn't have to buy gifts, send cards, or go to any religious service. You can decorate all out, hand out buckets of candy, dress up as the bride of Frankenstien, or you can turn out the porch light and not celebrate at all---no pressure.

Jana C.H. said...

Wonderful post, Shado! I have much to say about our family Halloweens (home-made costumes, "the skull", my dad's recorded groans), but I don't have the energy at the moment. I was in a car accident last night, and have four broken ribs and considerable bruising. Yowch! I've had a broken rib before, but four at once is a lot more painful than just one.

I'm getting help from my condo neighbors, my friend Simone, my older brother, and especially my nephew Josh, who is the only one strong though lift me up from a recumbent position and ease me back down. Getting up and lying down is the most painful part of the whole business. That and hiccups! Yow, but hiccups are bad!

But I'm hanging in. They're only broken bones, after all, and I know broken bones of old.

Jana C.H,
Seattle
Saith JcH: Ouch!

shadocat said...

Jana, my god woman! Four broken ribs, and you're up and typing. Here's hoping those ribs mend as quickly as possible!

(and as much as I would love to take credit, Lil' Gator is the author of this post. When I read it, I knew I had to have a pumpkin carving party!)

Jana C.H. said...

Sorry, L.G.! Shado's name was at the top of the column, and with my brain not working at top speed, I forgot that just meant she put up the first comment. I have to figure out a way to post a photo of "the Skull", but I'm not at work so my posting options are limited. Maybe Josh will be able to help me figure out Flickr and post a link.

Jana C.H.
Seattle
Saith JcH: For the first 24 hours after a broken bone I get to act like a 6-year-old. After that I have to be stoic and casual.

little gator said...

Mr Gator cracked a single rib once, and acted like a 6 year for a week or two. He also went freaky hallucinating from the pain meds.

He has occasional night terrors, and fell over a chair when he jumped out of bed screaming.

silvio soprani said...

Little Gator,
Your Halloween post is a Tour de Force! Fabulous pumpkin pictures! You have put me in the Halloween mood and now I am ready to carve my own pumpkins (I have one big one and 2 babes)

But Jana, so sorry to hear about your calamity but grateful you are well enough to post--this must be a very inspiring Blog to get you up out of bed! (Unless you have figured out a way to type from a lying-down position!)

I hope you feel better soon. I supppose Halloween is as good (or bad) a time as any to have an infirmity related to BONES.
(sorry)

And Little Gator, as sorry as I am that Mr. has bad dreams, the image of him leaping out of bed and crashing into a chair is quite cinematic and Halloweenish as well.

Boooo! to everyone.

kat said...

good, lord, Jana, I send good thoughts your way.....doesn't sound like you've had a fun week....I hope you recover well and quickly.

Shado, the lack of pressure is one of my favs about halloween as well. The winter holidays piss me off because my divorced parents are always on my case. When I was a child, there would be fights about whose house I would be at for holidays, so I always felt like I was abandoning someone. Now that I'm an adult, the choice is left to me, but that doesn't mean the guilt is gone.

Both my parents hate halloween, though, which meant that I could define it for myself. It's time with friends and parties and goofiness, and I could go all out, or just veg out, whichever I felt like.

little gator said...

More than one comment like the way Halloween is optional and you're not pressured to participate. That's not longer true for me, as I've learned the neighbors. even some who dont know me, look forward to my decorations.

The indoor ones are mostly on the stair railing by the front door, and the bay windows. An assortment mostly of cats, bats(including Archie the bat kite), rats, and candles. This year the Wolfman doll is sitting on Condi the black rubber cat. I don't usually like the practise of naming black animals after African-Americans, but in this case my mother called him that, beacuse like Ms Rice, he has mean scary eyes. And yes, he's a he- has a small scrotal bulge, but no sign of other genitals.

Outdoors: pumpkins. a string of white Xmas lights for the dark steps in the front walk, cause it's a hazardouse walk for those not used to it.

more outdoors: the JackoLantern pinata I made for a party. I fount a basketabll pinata, stripped off the black lines, and added felt face parts. After the party I used thick black floss to stitch up the place where it got busted. It is hanging on one side of the door, with an inflatable snake. The door itself as rubber skeletons and bats on it. The other side of the door: plastic pumpkins, with te skeleton-hands salad tongs.

A few ghosts live in the shrubbery.

And there are two stones shaped like skulls, and one mini-headstone I found while plowng the veggie patch. All have appropriate paint jobs.

Oops, almost forgot Ripley, the papercraft bat, so named beacuse he's on a stone that says R.I.P. foudn at http://ravensblight.com/papertoys.html

Maggie Jochild said...

For those of us who cannot make it to little gator's for jill-o-lantern carving, there's a virtual substitute: Pumpkin Sim.

shadocat said...

Maggie that rocks!!! I'll be doing that all night now!

Gator, your picture of the puking pumpkin is my favorite!

little gator said...

Maggie gets credit for most of the pics. I supplied the one of ther party pumpkins and
Lydia. She found all the others.

Maggie Jochild said...

True, little gator, but you gave me the text and guidelines for search parameters, and then you selected what you wanted in the post based from the kajillion I sent you (remember how I choked your mailbox -- grin?)

I have to zoom past the puking pumpkin, it makes me queasy to look at it.

Maggie Jochild said...

One Halloween around 1995, I was invited by a friend to attend a murder mystery party. We were all assigned roles -- the theme was Murder at the Estate or some such. I was to be an English Colonel, and found a corduroy jacket (in lieu of tweeds), wore some chinos tucked into high boots, and borrowed a pith helmet. Plus mustache, of course.

I didn't know any of the Lesbians who were to be at the party except the friend who invited me -- we'll call her Ellie. She worked at IBM, and so did everyone else, as it happened -- all middle-class or aspiring to be, coupled, sedate, white and not what I thought of as political dykes. But I liked Ellie well enough to go anyhow.

At the last minute, feeling some class anxiety, I took a tube sock, stuffed it extravagantly with other tube socks, and safety-pinned it into my underwear. It stretched down the inside leg of my pants, it was so large.

On the way there, I prayed I didn't get stopped by the cops.

Ellie was dressed as a flapper, in a shimmery vertical-drape of a shortie dress and a headband, plus glittery high heels. I'd never seen her in anything but jeans and a polo shirt. It was a jolt. But not as shocking as my schlong, apparently. My atrocious British accent went by without a giggle; they were all, except for Ellie, afraid to even look at me.

I don't remember who solved the mystery. Afterward, six of us decided to go see the midnight screening of "Without You I'm Nothing" at the Dobie Theater, which was probably my idea -- I saw that movie at least a dozen times, found it completely entertaining. Especially the scene where Sandra Berhardt plays a man going to a gay disco a la the Castro 1978 and starts dancing to Sylvester, the drag queen of all drag queens, belting out "Do You Wanna Funk With Me?" I'd been there, seen Sylvester in his day, and it always brought back the glory of that era for me.

Ellie rode with me, and what none of us apparently did not realize until we got to the theater was -- the Dobie is right smack in the middle of the University of Texas Campus, in a complex with dorms and a food court, and every frat boy in Austin was drunkenly partying on that block on Halloween night. We parked in the garage across the street and clustered near the elevator, gathering our courage to wade into the crowded street and make our way to the theater.

Long ago, in San Francisco, I learned how to put on a protective aura. Took six weeks of classes in it from dyke psychic teacher Tasha Silver. I slapped on my green scales, cleared my breathing, and knew I was now Invisible. But my terrified companions were not. Ellie especially was not, jiggly and bare, but she, at least, was not willing to back down.

So I put away my aura and we led the way, Ellie and I, her arm tucked pleasantly into mine, diving into the testosterone reek and smiling as we said "Excuse us, please." The bubbas were in too much shock at first to say or do anything, except move grudgling out of our way as their gaze, to a boy, riveted on my thigh accoutrement.

Until we reached the stairs leading up to the main level where the theater was located. I heard the rumblings begin behind me. I waved the other four on ahead, and they took the stairs two at a time. Ellie stuck with me, however. I turned to face the crowd, and she did too. With amusement in my voice, I yelled out "We're here, we always have been -- get OVER it!" Ellie laughed deliciously, and to my amazement, the bubbas began laughing too. We waved at them and went on into the food court.

Whereupon Ellie dragged me into the nearest women's restroom and divested me of my sock-pal. It was tricky pinning it to the flimsy undergarment she was wearing, but we finally managed. When she emerged from the stall, the bulge under her dress was extreme.

We waltzed through the rest of the plaza, again arm in arm, Ellie in near hysterics, and joined our friends in the movie.

You know, pretending or longing to BE them I have no slack for. They've made an utter botch of things, and I'm ready for Something Completely Different. But occasionally street theater has its place and can make a difference, if it's genuinely transgressive and not just a Maypo imitation.

One more comment, not in response to THIS thread: Erections occur in living tissue, i.e., my clitoris gets engorged and hard. So do my labia and another organ I can think of. Silicone is not an erection, not even in your most reductive dreams. And the sensuality of this memory has no relationship at all to the tube sock monstrosity.

shadocat said...

Amen!

kat said...

From an article on Yahoo about which parents do and don't let their kids trick-or-treat and why:

"People are celebrating the dead. I'm not into that."

uh...not into what? death? let me know how that works out for ya.....

Coming later will be my account of a Halloween party we went to last night, hopefully with a couple of pictures.

little gator said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071028/
ap_on_re_us/halloween_ap_poll

It may take a bit of cut and pasting(too long for one line), but that's the pointer to the yahoo article.

Adults who hand out treats are more likely to be :

Young
higher income
liberal


a reminder to keep your pets safe. idots do occasionally harm pets, especially cats, as a Halloween "prank." House pets who are not allowed outside by themselves may slip out a door, and confused dogs may get overprotective.

You know your own pets best, but what I do is:

I put my dog in her crate for the evening. She barks and whinges, but
she's safe. And she'd be much more upset in the living room, with doorbells and loud voices coming an dgoing,

The cat stays in a the bedroom with a litter box.

And at the last minute I bring out the inflatable T. Rex sort of beast, about 2 feet tall. It wears a dog collar and a kidsize felt horned Viking helmet.

I tether it to something so it won't blow away, but this year I may hang it from an upstairs window.


Are jillolanterns like jellolanterns?

silvio soprani said...

At the risk of sounding like the Halloween counterpart of SCROOGE, I don't hand out treats because I am afraid to answer my door to strangers here in the City, AND candy is exhorbitantly expensive. Put the two together and the decision is a foregone conclusion.

Sad, but true.

And also, I dispute the findings that lower income and minorities don't let their children trick or treat. A few years back, before I got all timid, I noticed that African-American children who would never walk done my particular street would come for treats every year. And they were welcome on this street, even though at the time most of the residents were older, working class white people.
Now it is 10 years later, I live on a different, very integrated street (Spanish speaking immigrants, middle class African-Americans, and young white professions, and downwardly mobile me.) To be honest, I tend to not be home on Halloween night because I am afraid someone will ring the doorbell and I get scared. Appropriate for Halloween. It is the result of living alone; things magnify.

We have 300 murders a year here in Baltimore; I try not to believe it, but it is true.

shadocat said...

Silvio,don't feel bad; I don't answer the door for trick -or-treaters anymore either. Too much crime in my neighborhood and not enough little kids (the ones that do come by are suspiciously old). That's what I like about the various aspects of Halloween: purely optional. Although I still buy candy (for myself).

kat said...

so, over on Feministe, there was a discussion yesterday about an article written by Joel Stein.
He writes that this whole "naughty/slutty/sexy" phenomenon needs to be removed from Halloween. Instead, he suggests designating a holiday for "sluttiness."

The response in the comment reel is perplexingly serious. Loads of folks claiming that Stein is just a whiny loser who's upset that he can't get laid.

now, here's the thing. Isn't Joel Stein a humor writer? a satirist? I don't know much about him, but isn't that his thing? His little editorials are supposed to be funny? Why does a somewhat amusing article (that's kind of stupid, yes, I agree) with no serious intentions being subjected to such ridiculously outraged reactions?

furthermore, to the woman who suggests that her "Stardust" costumes for herself and her daughter are oh-so-feminist: uh, have you READ the book? Not very feminist, now was it??

I give you both links and let you decide for yourselves:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/
la-oe-stein26oct26,0,7942535.column?
coll=la-opinion-center

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/
10/27/someones-got-a-wee-problem-with-women/


I divided up the links, so you may have to paste them into the browser.

shadocat said...

Kat, your comments have prompted me to write an entry/confession on my own blog, http://mavieinkc.blogspot.com/

I hope you all don't think less of me after reading it.

Maggie Jochild said...

Kat, it's interesting that you raised the question of the sexualization of Halloween costumes for women (but not men) before these articles on the web appeared. Once again ahead of the curve, there.

I think we're in the midst of a cultural war about the roles of men and women. Every time we (as women) try to step away from the male-conditioned notion of who we're supposed to be, another argument is trotted out about how we're being "unnatural". And the one that always works is that we're just not "sexy" if we think for ourselves, dress how we want, take equal initiative in human relationships, etc. They used to throw the dyke label around, but since the revisionism of women's studies which utterly caved to the threatened label of "anti-sex" and now does everything it can to prove we DO SO want to suck cock and be fembots, dyke has become "sexy" too, in that porny kind of way.

Not the dyke as those of us who reclaimed the term meant it.

This is particularly exacerbated around Halloween, my guess is, because it's a holiday that has at its roots a nature-based, woman-centric world belief system. Witches are horrific to the Christian Right more because they are/were powerful, wise women who stood up to Christian cooptation more than any dogma distaste. They burned far, far more of us than men.

Another stat you might not know: around 75% of the Jews killed in concentration camps were women. They went after the women more ferociously.

And now, look at the Sudan....

With feminism reduced to a joke, lesbianism meaning either sleeping with men or becoming men, and the option of economic survival as a single woman pretty dicey, it's harder than even for a young American woman to stand up to the conditioning and risk losing male interest or approval. Especially since increasing numbers of young American men are being socialized by regular porn consumption into a distorted, even more objectified view of what "female" means.

Every time a progressive of any gender tries to start an honest dialogue about the problems of porn, they are shouted down. It's absolutely taboo to admit it's gone too far. "Freedom of speech" has become successfully exploited by money-makers to keep us from exercising our objections. And the irony is, real sexual connection is disappearing under the onslaught.

But we seen the signs all around us. We've got a real cultural problem on our hands. And the sexualization of costumes is now taking over outfits for little girls -- which is horrific but not a surprise to me, given how much porn relies on the "underage" button. I honestly don't believe men know how much they are being brainwashed, any more than women comprehend how much they are being reduced to objects and parts. I mean, we believe chicken mcnuggets are a "healthy" alternative to burgers -- same corporate mythology.

We've allowed the Right to occupy this moral ground and confuse it with religiosity. But I do see that beginning to shift. And, as always, once the pendulum reaches the end of an arc, it starts back in the other direction.

shadocat said...

oh god Mags---you must really hate me now...

Maggie Jochild said...

Why do you assume that, Shadocat? It's not true. I don't hate anybody for their conditioning or fear. And g*d knows I've given in to both, and will assuredly do so again despite (theoretically) knowing better now.

Some of my best friends have been whores. REAL whores, not the dress-up kind. And strippers. And phone sex workers.

Plus, I went as a Madame at my collective household's big Halloween bash of 1980, a year when I was most definitely out of control sexually. I was very popular, too.

I'm trying to see the big picture here, and circumvent the conditioning for myself as well as for all the kids I know who rely on our extremely imperfect judgment for their view of the world. We all choose our battles, and I think most of us are stretched as tight as we can go.

Here's a maxim I live by: Wear your sword as long as you can.

This is a Quaker saying, based on an allegedly true incident where William Penn was approached by a man living in North Carolina, another Quaker. (I have Quaker ancestors in North Carolina, and I've always wondered if this guy was kin to me.) The man said he understood the Friends' injunction against taking up arms, that it was never okay no matter what the circumstances, because every human being carries the light of g*d within her/him and killing another was an assault on g*d. But this man said he could not bear how the British were terrorizing his country, he could not sit by and not fight -- he felt compelled to join the Revolutionary effort. He wanted forgiveness from William Penn in advance. (Historical note here: It was the Southern armies that won the Revolutionary War, and many of the best soldiers were, in fact, former Quakers.)

William Penn's response was "Wear your sword as long as you are able."

Meaning, when it's time for you to change, you will -- you won't have a choice about it, your conscience will force you to put down that sword. Until then, it's not my place to judge your journey. I've got my own tigers to wrestle with.

shadocat said...

I really didn't think you would hate me Maggie; that was just my way of saying I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit all of that in front of all the divas, but especially you.

A madame huh? That's pretty cool---I'm suprised I never thought of that one---oops. I just remembered one I left out---the "Saint Paulie Girl"...

I actually haven't done it in years. And even if I could go back, I'm not sure I would do it again. Still, I don't think I'm in a place to comment on the trend in any way but the way I did; I mean because of my "sordid past".

kat said...

Shado, your costumes sound pretty creative, actually, despite my general dislike of the "naughty" themed costumes. I also get the sense that they were assembled by you and not vinyl pieces of crap from the "Spirit store" or something, right?

That's my other objection. I like costumes the most when someone has assembled or made them and put some creative thought into it. Buying some mass produced thing doesn't cut it for me.

We went to a costume party on Saturday night. Our costumes rocked, but the crowd didn't get them....I'll try to stick the pictures here....anyway, there were some awesomely creative costumes that I thought were great. And some cheap-ass slutty Little Red Riding Hoods (3 of them, actually). One guy was in tight cycling clothes with yellow duct-tape stripes. He said he thought about being a naughty bumble bee, but figured it would be too cliche (hee!)

Another guy was a christmas tree, and had a battery pack in his pocket, so he actually lit up. The downside is that he spent all night making bad jokes about "getting lit." sigh.

One woman was a spider, and had her spider arms (made of black foam tubing and actually articulated) suspended from her real ones. She also covered a headband with plastic eye-balls for the extra eyes. It was beyond awesome. I think I was kind of staring because the outfit was so great.

One girl was in a long red dress and was carrying a book called "Uppity Renaissance Women." Apparently she found both the book and the dress on the side of the road by her apartment a few months ago, and couldn't pass up the opportunity to put them together.

Those were the best. Ooh, and the cardboard-box based ones. One Ipod and one Lego. The worst were the afore-mentioned L.R.R.H's and a guy full football gear dragging stuffed dogs around on ropes (ugh, so tasteless).

One year I was a goth angel. The next year, everyone was a fucking goth angel in plastic costumes from Hot Topic....oh well, at least I did it first, and my wings were better quality. (no, I'm not competitive at all....)

As I was looking for a tricorn hat for Boyfriend, I dared to set foot in my arch-nemesis, the Spirit Store. Not only were the costumes just vomit inducing, but I over-heard some massively disturbing conversations. A young-looking-probably-university-student (UC Berkeley was a block away) and her boyfriend were arguing about costumes. He kept saying shit like "Come on, why won't you be a school -girl?" And when she said no, she didn't want to, he would just repeat the question with more whine in his voice....jeez, dude, no means no, right?

And yes, the over-sexualized costumes were only slightly toned down for the kids section...

After all that trauma, ya know what? They didn't have friggin' tricorn hats! I left there an empty handed, depressed, and with a migraine.

...shit, can't find the usb thingy to upload pictures....

kat said...

p.s. did you know that Playboy makes costumes?

*yeach*


Changing the topic, could I get some advice?

I've given in and joined Facebook. I don't know if y'all are familiar with its format, but there are these "groups" that one can create and join. One of my cousins invited me to join a group called "No More Pornography." I agree with Maggie's thoughts on porn, and while I'm not against movies with erotic scenes, or whatever, I think that porn is really damaging to young guys, who think that that is an accurate representation of sexuality, and to women for all of the logical feminist issues.

Easy, you think, right? Just join the group.

'Cept that it was started by a bunch of Mormons who think that "promoting modesty" is a way to get rid of porn.

The slant is very definitely conservative-religious. I agree with them in wanting to speak out against porn, but I'm uncomfortable with their underlying goals and methods....

thoughts?


whoa...that was too many words for a really small quandry....

Maggie Jochild said...

Kat -- while I'm all for modesty in certain circumstances, the Latter-Day Saints usage is problematic. And certainly not woman-affirming.

Part of the reason for multiple wives is that Mormons were supposed to only have sex for the purpose of procreation, and if a woman was pregnant or nursing, she was therefore sexually unavailable to her husband. He had to have more than one wife in order to have one who was "on call" when he wanted sex.

And even in modern times, the role of women during intercourse was to lie still and pray to g*d for a pregnancy this time.

I don't know how Facebooks works, but I'm thinking you could signal interest in starting a group to think about pornography from a non-religious, feminist, non-judgmental, male-inclusive perspective. I bet you'll get some hits; there's a lot of people trying to bring this up, seems like.

The original costumes you mentioned sound amazing. If you get your USB thingy in hand, you can send photos to me via e-mail and I'll post 'em here. Same for you, Shado, or anyone else -- we could have a show and tell. I have one but I'm not going to post it without company.

Aside from the year I won the cancer clinic's Halloween costume contest by going as a heterosexual, my best original was also a box costume. A refrigerator box, and I woke up with this notion in my head. I painted it like a vending machine, with the title VENDOLANDIA across the top, and looted the hardware store for flashing lights, a grill in the front so I could look out and see but remained invisible, etc. I made giant paper mache red lips for the drop slot. I taped the final jingle from Jeopardy on a mini cassette. Once inside the box, I insisted people drop a coin into a coin slot, then the lights would flash and the music would begin while I decided whether to give them a fortune pre-printed by me on a variety of topics or to hand-write one quickly on a card (I had a little flashlight inside with me). The personal fortunes were much more popular, and I kinda went overboard on what I'd say to people. Anyhow, I won a contest with that one, too. After Halloween, thought, the thing sat around my apartment for a month and then I finally hauled it to the dumpster.

Maggie Jochild said...

Well, this just has to be seen to be believed -- after our talk of "box costumes above, I find a news story this morning about a Japanese dress that allows you to disguise yourself as a vending machine when threatened with attack.

little gator said...

And what happens if the attacker decides to buy a coke form the machine?

kat said...

yeah, I heard about that....it seems very complicated and time consuming.
you know, for when you're being attacked by a turtle.

shadocat said...

Yep, Kat, all costumes were "home-made", a term I use loosely. Sometimes I sewed or constructed them, and some were put together from garage sale or thrift stoe trips; but I never bought an already made costume, not even for my kids. The last store bought costume I ever wore was when I went as Casper the Friendly Ghost---I was six. Maggie, I have pictures of some of them; just have to dig 'em up.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Just fabulous post--happy Halloween to you, too!

kat said...

thanks for the facebook advice, maggs. what a great idea!

Maggie Jochild said...

There's apparently an annual tradition of showing innovative pumpkin carving as part of a tale at Les Enrages blog. I loved some of the artistic interpretations.