Thursday, November 13, 2014

Halloween Parties

Dear Ellie,

Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays since before I could remember.  Just in case you take a liking to it also, I thought I'd document your very first Halloween.  Granted, from your perspective, it couldn't have been much more than an irritating, confusing hodge podge that was interrupting your naps.

The fun began at Annie and Tony's 7th birthday party, and since their birthdays landed so close to the 31st of October, it was Halloween themed!  Aunt Holly planned and arranged the party at a pavilion, your mother helped with decorations, and I vowed to make a "snake cave."  I'm sure you've heard the stories by now about the Smith Garage Haunted House Adventures when I was a kid.  About when Grandpa and our Uncle Doug turned the garage into a virtual scare-the-pee-out-of-little-kids machine.  Giant snakes and the magic mirrors and the like.  The snakes especially were frightful, to me.  I couldn't have been older than perhaps five or six, but being trapped in a corner by a giant, hissing, snapping snake that was as round as my torso was a wonderfully traumatic experience.  Even though I knew the snake was just a giant sleeve that your grandfather made (because I saw him making it), it has still to this day left a fond scar in my memory.  So what does the Smith Garage Haunted House have to do with Annie and Tony's party?  Well, some day, I'd like to leave fond scars in your memory too, and I used Annie and Tony's party as an occasion to test out the whole snake thing for future Ellie Halloweens.  

Here is the Halloween Party Pavilion

Some of your mother's "monster poofs" and her skull Jack-o-Lantern.

And the snake cave.  The best I could do in a few hours...

Sadly, it was a rather blistery day so a lot of the decorations for the party blew away into the highway (nearly causing a few traffic accidents) before anyone even showed up to admire them.  The snake cave took a beating too, partly because I wasn't thinking very hard when I used push tacks instead of nails to put the darn thing together.  Oh well, duct tape to the rescue!

As the children started showing up, the snake jumped into action.  That is to say, I scattered candy in front of the cave to lure the children over and when they were inches from the wall, the snake THEN jumped into action.

The snake guards his hard earned candy (the snake himself, courtesy of Grandpa).

As one might expect from a bunch of young kids, they were at first fearful and uncertain of the beast.  As the snake popped out from holes in the cave, they shrieked or lurched away.  Some of the children courageously darted in closer to snatch at some of the candy.  Pretty soon, though, their attitude toward the snake closely mirrored broader human tendencies when a people are faced with a terrible beast.  At first, they fear it.  Then, it fascinates them.  Then they take up arms.  Then they kill it.  Then they dance about in triumph with some part of the defeated creature's carcass.  My poor snake was no exception.     

Phase 1: Fear and Uncertainty.

Phase 2: The Humans arm themselves, using the bones of the 
snake's former victims as clubs and candy as projectiles!

Phase 3: The Humans band together and do what 
they do best... violence!  A Great Battle Ensues!

Phase 4: The Beast is Slain!  The Victors Celebrate with clenched firsts!

So there you have it, a microcosm example of why many animals go extinct (and why your father's arm gets bruised so often).  I suppose there is a last phase to the whole thing, too.  Once the snake was slain, there was great regret at no longer having a creature to do battle with.  Fortunately, the party furnished many more activities to amuse them.  From there, we moved on to numerous games that your mother and Holly prepared, with little trinkets being awarded to the winners in order to motivate them.

With the limbo, Holly and I abruptly yanked the bar down on 
the bigger kids so that the younger ones would win.

Here we have the classic potato sack race.  First one to touch 
the snake, wins!  In a momentary lapse of adult judgement 
though, I started the kids off going downhill and, well...

You can see the result for yourself.  Its a good thing kids bounce back easily...

...though I'm not sure I can say the same thing for the adults.  Look closely in
the back and you can see Sajan wiping out right out of the gate.

I'd like to think you enjoyed yourself, in so far as you can enjoy apparently random noises and movements.  A few pictures would seem to suggest that you did.

Here you are with Grandma! 

 People who didn't understand that you were dressed like a Star Trek science and medical officer thought you were a boy.  Blue is a boy color, supposedly.  Who knew?  On the upside, when we dressed you up in the same outfit for Uncle Zack and Aunt Danielle's Halloween party, there was a good bit more context, and a good bit more nerds to get the reference.

Our half Vulcan, half human baby.

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