Doing laps in the LA Fishbowl

A Fathers and Son Halloween

Demon Dog Rowdy

I think we’ve got Halloween down by now. Not a lot of stress this year. I go out shopping for decorations with Benjamin (who maintains an attraction-repulsion to Halloween stores but will venture in as long as there isn’t anything electronic lunging out at him). Benj and I decorate the outside, and he gets all Creative Director on me, figuring out where the headless skeleton goes and how to drape the cobwebs and what if the giant wasp was eating the vulture! So proud.  We make the Jello brain mold and Benj spatters it with raspberry blood. We don’t carve the pumpkins too soon (a few days before, tops) because any earlier in the hot Los Angeles sun and by Halloween they resemble all those Nazis in the climax of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Doug was able to avoid the pumpkin carnage this year because he already had one ready to go. Benj had decorated a pumpkin for school to look like a hero of his choosing–and he picked Doug. 

Which is 
the Pumpkin Head, 
and which is 
the school project? 
You decide.

I don’t mind carving, actually. It’s one of the things, like lugging home the Christmas tree or tending the herb garden, that I like doing rather than having done. There aren’t many of those instances in our household; when anything breaks down that’s harder than changing a light bulb, Benj is apt to say, “We better call the man.” He know us too well. We’re not exactly handy. 

Which made this Halloween all the more special. Ten minutes before going to a Halloween party given by one of Benj’s friends, Doug and I decide to dress up. Mind you, this NEVER happens. We hate to do the whole costume bit. But the host requested it, so… 
In ten minutes, there’s not a lot you can do. We’re in the small vanity room off the bedroom, the one with the big mirror, the one that most women would die for but that we use mostly as a depository for all the spare toiletries, small electronics, and change. I have on a flannel shirt that I’m dusting with powder, black and brown smudges on my face, and a hat with a light attached. Presto: Chilean Miner. Doug is applying red makeup under his eyes, and using shadow to make his face paler and gaunter than it already is. His hair is slicked down, and he’s wearing a fancy black shirt. Can you guess? It’s Vampire Eric, from True Blood (alas, no one gets this at the party, because no one watches True Blood. Still, if only he had worn a track suit…)

Doug or Alexander Skarsgard? You decide. 

Benj is watching us, rapt, as we unscrew little pots of makeup and expertly apply them, via brush and sponge, to our faces. He observes how concentrated we are, watching ourselves transform in the mirror, dabbing and blending, dabbing and blending. He already has his costume on— a hybrid of a “Ben 10” store-bought Swampfire costume and a mouldering Scream Mask he found at the Halloween store— but he takes his mask off, touches his cheek and asks tentatively, “Could I have a cut right here?”

“Of COURSE you can have a cut there!” Does he know who he’s talking to? We’re THEATRE FOLK!

“Okay, Ben, look here, we use pencil first to figure out where… okay, here’s some red for the wound… let’s get some of this yellow, just a touch, and then overlay some purple… hold still while I blend it in… doesn’t that look nice and bruised?… some more red, yes, sure you can have blood leaking… some powder to set it—how’s that?

And there you have it. We may not be able to show you how to build a bird house, Benj, or how to shoot a layup, or tell you what the difference is between the National and the American League, but if you wanna look like a 75-year-old man or a burn victim, WE’RE THERE.

Happy Halloween, all my little ghosties out there in the dark.

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November 1st, 2010 - Still Life Las Vegas

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One response to “A Fathers and Son Halloween”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why I can hardly tell the difference between Doug and Vampire Eric. It's uncanny, the resemblance.

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