Friday, October 31, 2008
31 Days of Halloween - Day 31 - Finale
The weather today was perfect for the most part. The temperature was above 50 degrees. It was sunny, and there was no wind to speak of --- when I didn't care if there was wind. I began by stringing the 7 foot skeleton and the skeleton horse with skeleton rider from last year up in the tree closest to our house. This went smoothly. Next I repaired the Nosferatu I made for a window display last year and set him in place with a fog machine behind him. Also no big deal.
Then I set out roughly 80 identical plastic jack o'lantern trick or treat buckets, loaded each one with 3 tea light candles and attached a length of wire and a home made hook to each handle so that I could hang them. Then, after lighting the candles, using an extension pole I hoisted each bucket high into the two trees in my front yard (which are still fully clothed in green leaves annoyingly enough). Once I got the hang of this it went smoothly, except for one thing. The moment I began lighting the candles the wind picked up from nothing to something with enough force that I spent a great deal of time relighting candles before I hung the buckets from the tree. Because I had to start doing this around 2:30 in the afternoon, it was impossible to see which buckets had their candles snuffed out and which didn't. The wind lasted for about an hour and a half while I hung the bulk of the buckets from the branches of the tree closest to the street. The wind died off after that and never appeared. The second tree went more smoothly because of this.
I then lined the path to our front door with glass jars containing more tea lights and added abunch more of these jars in the space between the two trees. I interspersed some creepy busts amongst the jars of candles and a group of skulls, put out the real jack o'lanterns and set the beheaded bride out in front of the house.
After this I went in and got my kids ready. Daphne went as the Hawaiian Witch Doctor from the classic "Scooby-Doo" episode with Mano Tiki Tia. Dash went as ARC Trooper from "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Both costumes were entirely handmade except for Dash's helmet. I'll try to post some better pics.
All this effort and we got, maybe, 20 trick-or-treaters, far less than we usually do. As usual our house ended up being the highlight of the tick-or-treaters that made it to us. My own kids told me other kids they encountered kept telling them to go to our house, not knowing they lived there.
When the sun went down and it started getting dark, I saw the probelm that bugged the hell out of me, but didn't seem to bother anyone else. Withe the exception of a small handful, every single plastic jack o'lantern I had hung from the tree closest to the road, the bulk of the jack o'lanterns, had blown out. There was no logistical way I could have done it, but I wish I'd hung them an hour later, so they would have remained lit as well. Even so, I was really happy after two years of completely uncooperative weather to get even one tree done up as sparse as this tree wound up.
It's a really amazing sight and these pictures don't come close to doing it justice with the flames flickering inside the plastic jack o'lanterns illuminating them with a steady almost liquid rippling light that an electric bulb could never duplicate. Everything else worked out pretty well, and my son found an unplanned addition to Nosferatu in a pretty large jumping spider that was crawling on his cheek.
Our last trick-or-treater came around 8:15 which seems really early. I put away the stuff I could, shooed the ants out of the real jack o'lanterns and brought them in so the kids could use them as night lights. i notice in dash's room, when the lights were off, his cast this huge shadow across the ceiling and wall of three triangles and a jagged mouth. It was the perfect way to end Halloween.
Much better than the cold I seem to have picked up. No movie tonight. I'm too exhausted.