Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What a weird holiday.

It isn't even a holiday. But when everyone expects to do the same thing on a certain day out of the year, it's a holiday, right?

I love Halloween. I don't fit into the two usual Halloween focus groups (kids and cleavage) so I occasionally struggle to come up with a suitable idea for a costume. It usually requires dressing up in drag. Witness:

2006: [can't remember]

2005: Pregnant nun

2004: Random woman with brunette wig and beard.

2003: Roy Horn (of Siegfried & Roy), complete with white bedazzled jumpsuit, tiger, and blood stain.

2002: Frau Unibrau, as part of an Austin Powers theme party.

2001: Mama Cass, post-sandwich.

1996-2000: [can't remember]

1995: Pippi Longstocking

1987-1994: [can't remember]

1986: Housewife with bathrobe and curlers. The date is not a typo.

I'm very sorry to say I have no photographic evidence of any of this.

So what are you wearing? What have you worn? Comment!

My one annual tradition on Halloween is listening to Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens. When I was a kid at Harris Hill Elementary, our music teacher used to have these construction paper cutouts on the wall every October, with an old church and a creepy tree and graveyard next to it under a full construction paper moon, and there'd be a tiny representation of Death as a skeleton in a black shroud next to one of the gravestones, and he'd slowly be joined by more skeletons next to their own tombstones, one more skeleton a an eerie Xmas advent calendar.

And on Halloween day we'd come into class and this fully-formed scene was on the wall, with Death orchestrating all of these skeletons with a teensy construction paper fiddle in his hand, and we'd each get to dip our fingers into a paste jar and add more skeletons and ghosts and witches to the scene.

We'd all sit down and she'd turn off the lights and freak us out, and we loved it. And she'd turn on a filmstrip and play Danse Macabre.

The filmstrip told the classic story of Halloween night at the graveyard. The churchbell strikes midnight and Death slowly creeps out of the shadows and plays his fiddle, bringing all of the skeletons, ghosts, and witches out for Halloween.

They come out one by one and dance around, and the ghosts howl and moan and the witches swoop in on their brooms and the skeletons shuffle around, their bones clacking, going absolutely crazy on the one night they're allowed to, until the rooster crows at dawn and they're all scared shitless and creep back into wherever they came from. Then Death plays a short, sad number on his fiddle and pops back into the shadows.

You can listen to it here. Saint-Saens wrote it in 1875 and it's like watching TV without actually watching TV - the imagery is fantastic. As long as you know the story, you can hear everything these characters are doing.

So anyway, that's my tradition.


Sara J. Allen said...

Just read your Radiohead review. You should post it here.

Sara J. Allen said...

Because it rocks. I forgot to say that in my previous comment.

Anonymous said...

interesting that you choose to dress like a woman every chance you get...