by Wiley

Duct tape came to the rescue not once, not three times, but TWICE this Halloween.

Hm, maybe that sentence was not the best way to start this entry. But onwards!

1) In what’s becoming an annual tradition, Walt and I waited until the day of to solidify what we’d be doing for Halloween and then improvised costumes last minute (well, last half hour).  With the help of duct tape, coffee filters, and a bit of muslin, we hastily pulled together bee/beekeeper outfits for the Gaskell Costume Ball in Oakland. I’d teach you how to make the coffee filter wings, except that ThreadBanger has a good tutorial to make much better fancy fairy wings (if you’re ever in the market for some glittery aerial appendages). The one revision I’d make to their video is to use heavy-gauge floral wire instead of old coat hangers. Easier to twist and shape.

2) At work, lots of people pitched in to prepare for the Halloween party. This included a group pumpkin-carving session.

Michelangelo once said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” With Michelangelo’s inspiring words in mind, I picked a pumpkin and started chiseling away. I knew that  if I approached the task with a pure heart and a steady hand, I might liberate an ochre masterpiece that might charm, frighten, or stupefy onlookers.

I’d just seen Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark, and I had high hopes for my gourd. Here’s what went through my head as I worked on my pumpkin: “I’ll make a silhouette of Indiana Jones snapping around a mighty whip in a dense jungle forest!..Hmmm, this might be too ambitious. I’ll make Totoro standing underneath a leaf umbrella!…Okay, this is harder that I thought it would be. I’ll just make Totoro’s face…This doesn’t look right. I guess I’ll make a cat’s face…Oh no! My pumpkin just collapsed in on itself!…Judges, my entry for this year’s contest is a big gaping hole.”

Actually, since the cat’s face had fallen into the pumpkin, I rounded out the outer ears and made a hapless Winnie the Pooh. My friend Jackie had given me a tiny pumpkin earlier that day, so I scrawled the word “HUNNY” on the small gourd and called it a day.

Needless to say, I didn’t place in the  competition. Alas, if there was a contest for whose pumpkin was the best at: 1) filling up entirely with mold over the course of just one weekend because so much surface area was exposed to oxygen; and 2) softening up and decomposing in a translucent pool of liquid, ostensibly because even the pumpkin’s own juices wanted to flee from the horrors within, I would have won hands down, head lowered, shoulders stooped, back hunched, in defeat.

My other contribution to the party decorations fared better. A coworker and I were in charge of the voting booths so, using designs inspired by Dana Tanamachi’s chalk drawings, I used a Sharpie, construction paper, and duct tape to make signs for the booth. If you want to give your kid’s fridge art some pizzazz, just border the artwork with patterned duct tape and round out the corners with a corner punch. Cheap, simple, and eye-catching!

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