November 01, 2008
Rolls of duct tape, flattened cereal boxes, and bottles of paint are piled on the living room carpet. Old clothes and random tools fill the couch. All manner of items have been brought in from the garage: an old telephone, a red plastic bucket, a skateboard, a hack saw. Kitchen items are scattered about as well: the colander, for instance. Boy in Black keeps asking me questions: "Do you've a tan-coloured shirt that would fit me? Where are Dad's belts? Okay if I take apart this phone?"
Yes, it's that time of year. The big family Halloween party that my brother and his wife host will be tonight, and the party features a costume contest, which everyone takes quite seriously. Red-haired Sister and her family (plus my parents and With-a-Why) won the best group costume prize last year for their Wizard of Oz entry, and they are considered the group to beat this year. It's pretty stiff competition: they've got the multi-generational factor that includes the oldest people at the party (my parents), plus the cute factor — Dandelion Niece. She's been practicing going up to people, throwing back her blonde hair, widening her eyes, and saying in a pleading voice, "Will you vote for me?"
My three oldest kids, plus five of our extras, are putting together a top-secret entry in an effort to beat Red-haired Sister's group. The "young person team" is counting on humor and elaborate detail to pull them over the top. That, and amazing props. Boy in Black has finally found an application for all the high-level physics he's been learning in college, and he stayed up all night creating some pretty cool special effects. Of course, Shaggy Hair Boy has been planning some dance moves that may well get the whole group kicked out of the contest for inappropriate content. (If the older generation voting block could hear the joking that has accompanied the costume-making, I think they would have lost that vote long ago.)
I can't reveal what any of the costumes are because too many family members read this blog. I will say that Urban Sophisticate Sister, who arrives by plane any minute now, has got a timely and abstract costume idea that should score points for "Best Individual Costume" amongst the more sophisticated crowd. All three of Blonde Sister's daughters are in town for the party, and that family are planning an entry in the group costume category, although the young people in this household do not consider them serious competition. That may be a mistake since Blonde Sister is an intensely competitive person, as anyone who has ever played Monopoly with her can attest.
Last night, after trick-or-treating in the village with Dandelion Niece and Neighbor Girl, Red-haired Sister and I hung out on the comfy couch talking, while the youngest four kids ran in circles, playing an abridged form of monster, and the high school/college crowd hid out in my bedroom, working on their top-secret costumes. I could tell my sister was worried. "Boy in Black's working on special effects?" she asked. She sighed and turned to her son. "We might have to resort to sabotage."
Posted by jo(e)