Despite it being a panic pretty much until right up to the party starting (the exploding pot of glue that covered half the dining room being my personal highlight) Halloween this year was great fun, one of my most favourite parties ever. We are so lucky with the friends that we have, they all rose the the challenge admirably and we had some great costumes, really funny, inventive and inspired. To give you a idea: Mr B, killed with a corkscrew came, thanks to Mrs B's talents, as a wine bottle; D, killed with a tyre, braved an all-in-one Crash Test Dummy getup; Mr S, pickled peppers (formerly ogres toes from last Halloween), was a very funny early Beatles hairdo, first case of Foot (i)'n Mouth disease; S & N, poison and a spatula respectively, were blood crazed chefs who had killed each other; and, of special note, the lovely Mrs S (thanks to Mr S's wire bending skills) was the best ball of wool-killed by her knitting needles-Grandma I've ever seen!
I lost a day of prep as I had to travel on the Friday before the party and wimped out slightly on the decorations, relying on my box of past goodies more than I had planned. I also found a lovely selection of ornamental gourds at the supermarket which we dotted around the place, along with our pumpkins, which the lovely boyf carved out for us. We lined two them with tin foil and used them to serve the main dishes (a Chipotle Bean and Vegetable Stew and Sweet Potato, Spinach and Chickpea Coconut Curry) at dinner before lighting them and putting them out in the garden.
The shrunken heads looked great too. The 11yr old loved staking them and we are going to let them slowly finish their drying and keep them for next year. By default, the carved and fruits and veg became a theme of their own; not quite what was planned, but I liked it. I'm going to have a go at drying out the gourds too (will tell you how that goes in approximately 6 months time!) and see what else we can do with them next year too.
Albert (the reason for the exploding glue...) also made a reappearance, as dessert this time. Chocolate eyeballs, brains and spiders filled his skull and he kept watch on our Halloween Hands - non-powdered plastic gloves filled with a very addictive mixture of toffee and salted popcorn, Chipotle and salted pretzels, M&Ms, salted cashews and honey salted peanuts. Yum!
The 11yr old rocked her 80s costume, complete with record through her head!
And, on realising that I was never going to be able to serve drinks and food in full Tudor garb, I kept the makeup and hair (extensions, which I rather love, I wish I could grow hair that lovely and long) and decorated a tshirt in fake blood and suitably ironic commentary; it raised a laugh.
Lorraine, the brain, looked very good too, especially with the nerd specs and the horrible (in a cool, Halloweeny way) white eyeball contact that the boyf put in. Finn was fascinated by all the pullable, chewable bits of costumes; especially the lovely Mrs B's long gloves (candlestick to the head).
And, despite initially refusing to come down stairs, Megs got involved too and was rather fond of A's (the world's hottest chillis, teamed with clown shoes, very cool!) chef''s hat.
The Tudor Gown was on Miss G for most of the evening but got a wearing, once the food was served and in time to go to the pub!
Food un-friendly sleeves
Doing my very best "scary"
Mrs B helped me get Miss G undressed and myself dressed, giggling the entire way through! Every piece I took off and gave her, took back and put on, was accompanied by the loveliest chuckle; I've threatened to get her kitted up in it at some point! It was still heavy and cumbersome and breathing took a bit of getting used to, but after a while, and once I'd learnt to sit without impaling myself on that wooden busk ;o), I was properly in love with it all. It's hard to describe but the weight and the restriction became very comforting and comfortable, and the whole experience is so removed from how we wear clothes today, it is fascinating. I can see how people get hooked on dressing for Renaisance Faires and events.
That's the Tudor Gown done now though (apart from possibly taking a few more pictures of it all finished), it was such a rush at the end (entirely my own fault) that it's all ended too quickly really! It was a project that overall, despite the problems with the pattern, I throughly enjoyed. I could happily make more of the same (now that I know what to watch out for) but sadly don't have the space in my life for a wardrobe of Tudor gowns! There's been a bit of discussion about next year's project, I think my two would like it to be one that is a little less time and dining room consuming, but I am going to try not to think about it until I have at least got Christmas out of the way first - though the 1700s has always fascinated me, side panniers at the hips and all that, it's tempting!
As for Halloween next year, yep we were discussing it, I think we're going for "Your Fantasy Fancy Dress Costume"... if you could wear anything, be anyone/anything, what would it be...? Hmmm, I may have a couple of ideas!