i Heart Halloween

Recent activities have vaulted me into the holiday spirit. I’m talkin’ about Halloween. Today my daughters and I roamed the aisles of Costume and Display trying on hats, masks and wigs. It’s spirit week at their high school and each day is devoted to a different hollywood movie theme…Monday is Pirate Day, Tuesday is Cowboy Day, Wednesday is Super Hero day…and so on. How fun that spirit week takes place in October…so close to Halloween. It took some doing, but I finally convinced them to wear just one thematic item of clothing each day, otherwise, I told them, they’d wake up one day in the future filled with regret and screaming, “why, oh why didn’t I dress like a pirate when I had the chance?!” Not that I’d know anything about such regrets. After picking out amongst other things, a sheriff badge, a pirate sash and a Robin Hood hat complete with yellow feather, we stopped by the blood and guts aisle…fake warts, puncture wounds, scabs, abraisions and severed body parts. It sort of creeped me out. I must admit, I prefer happy jack-o-lanterns and smiley-faced ghosts to anything remotely reminiscent of Freddy Kruger or Linda Blair. After an hour of shopping we left the store with two bags of Halloween loot.
A couple of days ago I visited the Frye Museum to view the Henry Darger exhibit. Jeepers, what a strange dude! But what a wonderful and fascinating exhibit! I love the nine-foot long, double-sided story scrolls, and I love how he altered and rearranged pictures taken from magazines, comic books and catalogs to create his “realm of the unreal” a world that is equal parts fantastic and horrifying. The contrast between the brightly colored world, the ringlet headed little girls, and the violence portrayed was astounding. I roamed through the exhibit in much the same way I roamed down the aisles of the costume shop this morning, delighted one minute, disgusted the next. Isn’t Halloween a mixture of gaiety and terror? If so, then in a way the Darger exhibit ushered me into the Halloween season, for in his work I saw those things, and more. The exhibit runs through October 29, dangerously close to Halloween, and I plan to view it again.
Thursday I visited the Darger exhibit…today I got my glow-in-the-dark white afro wig…now I need to dig out my pumpkin-shaped twinkly lights and plastic severed hands.

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