I have never understood the attraction of ‘fancy dress’. It takes ages to prepare, is often expensive, uncomfortable to wear and usually falls apart within an hour. This is one of many reasons why I am happy to skip Halloween this year.
One of the major Halloween activities is, of course, pumpkin carving. The giant orange vegetables are everywhere and there is no doubt that pumpkin carving is an art form. The annual carving competition gets bigger each year, as does the amount of mess that goes with it. The insides of pumpkins are found days later down the back of chairs, inside ornamental vases, under storeroom doors and the smell is something to behold. Judging the winner is a minefield. People are disappointed if there is no competition element but how the winner is decided is very controversial. I have tried getting neutral judges (they see the faces of the kids and declare it a draw), tried giving everyone a vote (they all choose their own) so now I just decide myself. Generally speaking, the family who have caused me the least aggravation will be victorious.
One thing I completely underestimated in 2008 when organising my first cruise ship Halloween party was how popular the costume parade would be. I imagined that people would not have room in their suitcases for bulky party outfits (alongside all their other cruise attire) so we might get a few kids in face paint and a couple of home made in a hurry items. How wrong I was.
Firstly, many of our passengers had Halloween hats, glasses & t-shirts on all day. The boss panicked and ran down to the supermarket ashore and hoovered up all the remaining items. Another thing I had not fully appreciated is that Halloween costumes did not have to be scary.
In Europe it would be ghosts and witches but among our mostly Floridian guests I was presented with people dressed as
- The flintstones
- Vending Machines
- For some reason, eight different Sarah Palins.
We advertised a costume parade and so many people wanted to take part, it took more than 15 mins just to get everyone across the stage. We gave up with registrations when we reached 200 and it became a free-for-all. Sadly, I have failed to remember who the winner was.
I do remember my outfit though. Since the costume shopping only happened that morning and the purchasing opportunities in a small Caribbean supermarket are fairly limited, we got the leftovers. My colleagues were a nun, Woody from Toy Story and a daffodil while I got given a banana costume. Imagine a huge foam banana with arm, leg and face holes. That was me. The boss chose himself a SpongeBob SquarePants costume but that seriously impaired his vision and he ended up tripping over a child and hurtling into a table full of drinks. It felt like I got off lightly.
I notice this year, many covid themed costumes are available including ‘giant face masks’, ‘sexy hand sanitiser’ and predictably ‘Donald Trump’ which appears to be just a suit and orange face paint. None of this matters to me though, I am keeping a wide berth while some other poor fool is sentenced to days of sniffing the air while trying to work out where the pumpkin entrails have ended up this year.