Hallowe’en in Salem

What a whirlwinding, bizarre-o half-week that was.

I managed to do everything from attending a Harry Potter-themed costume ball, escape a surprisingly boring whorehouse bar, watch a few live bands, spread knowledge of obscure whisky-based cocktails, mingle with crowds and do what I love doing best – taking tons and tons of amateur photos of a brilliant, carnival-based atmosphere.

It really was a great mix of costumes. I was a little surprised by the relatively low turnout, but it was on a Monday this year, and the snow this past weekend probably scared off a lot of the fickler crowds. And which also may have inspired a fair amount of Christmas-themed get-ups:

There were a fair amount of suitably creepy costumes (clowns, clowns and more clowns), bizarre mish-mashups (such as the cheerleading Stewie) and many adorable puppies and babies dressed for trick-or-treating fun. My particular street was well-stocked for the little candy-grabbers, but I could see a few houses whose owners were running low on supplies for the greedy little bastards.

Live music dotted in and around Derby, Washington  (near the station) and Essex Streets kept people in good spirits and distracted them long enough to forget how unreasonably, unexpectedly seasonably cold it was last night.

A lot of the photos I took were of people who had already stopped to take photos of me. I didn’t particularly want to post pictures of myself (I’ll leave the glamour/high-fashion couture modelling for another day), but I spent so much time on this horribly ghetto costume that I wanted it up on the web for mockutastical posterity:

That’s me on the left. As Hedwig! I finally found Harry after nobly giving my life to protect him:

(I was just going to hyperlink to that scene, but it made me so pathetically teary-eyed that I simply had to embed the video.)

And yes…I am holding an “Occupy Hogwarts” sign. Perhaps if the school had bothered to use proper precautions and enforced effective security measures, the safety of thousands of Hogwarts students (and my life) wouldn’t have been such a tragically recurring joke throughout the entire series.

I made quite a few Griffyndor students come close to tears, tracked down two Harrys to assign blame, and accidentally doled out spoilers to a bloke who hadn’t “seen past the third movie yet”. I even voiced my concerns to a reporter from the Salem News, who sympathised with my plight, and who wished me luck on my Eric Draven-style quest to take down Voldemort. I mean, he who cannot be named.

It’s difficult to write a summative post of something that I am so close to, even if only as a spectator, because I’ve been so used to hosting my dorky little Hallowe’en parties since I was 9 years old. When I moved to America, it all changed.

For me, though, I was obsessed with getting as many photos as possible. I knew I’d invested in a decent compact digital camera, but failed to read the instructions (even after a year) or test the limits/read tutorials on the manual setting to get to know how to use it optimally.

The thing about Hallowe’en, or any carnival, is that there are SO many blink-and-miss them photo-ops, that you need a fast shutter speed, decent ISO range and a bloody good lens. As long as the photos were clear, I didn’t need that narrow depth of field trick that every n00b with a new DSLR uses in every damn photo. Like the above photo – I had only wanted a pic of Yogi Bear, but Red Riding Hood accidentally photobombs this and it turns into a brilliant photo of RRH trying to escape that pic-a-nic basket-thieving bastard.

Regardless of my iffy photos, for me, last night really was all about the costumes. I wish my brain dispensed printable film, but for the relatively few I’d captured on my camera, I made another list. I like lists:

Creepiest costume: Zombie axe-wielding teletubbies

I really wanted to get a crisp photo of this lot, but they were trying to escape Jigsaw.

Most widely-represented costume: clowns

Aside from Mr Jelly, Clownhouse, Juggalos, Edgar Ektor, John Wayne Gacy, Killer ones from Outer Space and Pennywise, who doesn’t love clowns?

Scene-Stealer: Freddy Krueger

We didn’t see him until we…heard him…scraping his sharp gloves in an alley off of Essex and Washington St. Even when we acknowledged him, he was eerily silent. I never saw him again.

Cutest costume: Puppy Dinosaur

This was so adorably tiny, I failed to see how it could even exist:

WTF-est costume: the Man Baby

Will probably succumb to man-flu after the recent cold snap, but at least he chose a warm costume:

Crudest costume: The Breathalyser

I passed by him way too many times to not take his photo:

Prettiest costume: The Tooth Fairy

Look at that pose! What a hot bitch. Clearly winning the $10 first prize in every beauty contest. Jealous.

Best, most amazing-est costumes: Kiddie Daleks

My god, these kids were so cute! Their casing looked proper-quality (clearly made by the parents), and so accurate, from the lights to the dodgy-looking toilet plunger arms. The kids looked a bit uncomfortable with the attention, but when I, Hedwig (who they seemed to adore – and get what I was), told them these were the best costumes I’d ever seen, they lit up and smiled. Adorable!

And now, as is usual at the end of every post, I’m feeling a tiny bit homesick with a case of the weeps. I can look back on this long month of chamber music, trick-or-treating, cemetery strolls, haunted houses, themed grocery shopping, dodgy bars, cosplay events and an inventive costume I was sad to take off. Hallowe’en in Salem, you were absolutely beautiful – see you again next year!

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