I made an old woman cry yesterday. I was serving her and as I removed my mask behind the screen she did a doubletake. Then she said I was the absolute double of her son, down to the beard, eyes, and voice – and tears welled up. She left quickly after, as I told her I hoped it meant it could be something she could look forward to next time – which was the best I could manage at short notice.
I don’t know the context, I assume either death or estrangement figured in the story somewhere. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for moments like that.
And so we carry on. In this case to Halloween, which feels thematically consistent at least.
And I have assistants dressed as witches, a bone suit and face mask at the ready, and loads of families wandering in and out despite torrential rain. There are far worse ways to spend a Saturday than dressed up and having a bit of a light hearted approach to the job. It would have been the last of MCM comiccon this week so at least I’m dressed up for something.
I’m not going to any conventions at the moment due to money and general exhaustion, so I’m cheering myself by peeking on social media at what my friends and acquaintances in cosplay circles are up to this weekend at MCM and other events. There are so many talented people out there and it’s so good to see their love of our shared hobby manifesting in such a glorious profusion of colourful costumes and memories they’re making.
Inspired by that and the time of year, I turned to some elements I bought earlier in the year that have been languishing in the bottom of drawers to begin assembling a version of Michael Myers from the Halloween films. For the most part the mask needed the most attention – and I’ve been weathering it with inks and some general battering to help make its features easier to photograph. The boiler suit turned out to fit pretty much perfectly, but had dreadful press studs that fell apart, so Lady M has volunteered to replace them.
So now my big debate is whether to do a film-accurate silent brute, or to subvert it. Some of the messing about I did this morning has already suggested versions with a more… hippy feel… complete with rose-tinted spectacles, and possibly a long wig, hoodie over the boiler suit and some tie-dye silliness. I’ll let you know…
Our local coffee shop staff have recently been calling us ‘the coolest people they know’, which is a great ego boost, but usually comes in the same sentence as a guess at our respective ages that are usually about ten years out. They’re a good bunch at our local Harris and Hoole, and are all very friendly. As they are nearly always up for a good chat while serving up, it’s become clear that many of our recent escapades seem to have become something like the stuff of legend.
To be fair, the last few weeks have seen us doing a variety of slightly more weird and wonderful things with all the cosplay preparations for Fright Night, MCM London and this Halloween weekend, but talking with Lady M, neither of us feel particularly special or amazing. Far from it – we both work hard and plan our leisure time escapades carefully to get the most from them where possible – but I guess to hear the stories all in close order one after the other it could sound like we live some epic life of geekery that bears very little resemblance to normal life.
So this weekend saw one more outing for the death eater costumes – and this time it was to head down to the pub to meet C and her mother and assorted people for a few drinks after work on Friday.
By far the highlight was watching a number of unsuspecting people leap in the air as we walked down the road once we’d parked the car by the green. As I was both driving and working in the morning I couldn’t really drink, so it was a good excuse to talk and catch up people I’ve not seen for a few months. It is also, surprisingly, the first time I’ve ever actually gone to a Halloween costume night at a pub.
Indeed, as far as I can remember, it’s the first Halloween party I’ve been to in many many years – it’s just not been something that’s been on my radar or comfort zone map in any way – so there was an odd mix of the comfort of being around other people similarly in costume with the curious reactions of people out and about on the streets or driving while we were in costume. I’ve come to the conclusion that I basically don’t care – the innate British reserve around people in costume has a very funny side to it while still acknowledging style and poise – so who knows, perhaps costume elements will begin to appear in day to day life, just to see how far I can push it…
We’re going to go to a Thorpe Park Fright Night again this year, having enjoyed it so much last year. The difference is that this year we’re going to go in costume, having seen quite a few people do it last year. We had such fun at Universal Studios this summer that it seemed perfectly right when my daughter suggested that we go as Death Eaters… so decision made. Then I mentioned the plan to Lady P and how we had no intention of going anywhere near the Fright Houses and she was in too. So that’s four of us unless we get any last-minute additions, who are all going as Death Eaters.
My daughter has supplied capes and raided her mother’s boot supply for her costume, while I spent a fun hour or two yesterday wandering around Kingston in various costume and art supply stores. I’ve found some plain masks to use as the foundations for the papier mache construction suggested by the designs that my daughter has been quietly putting up on Pinterest, and a selection of black, white, silver and gold acrylic paints and black ink.
I used to paint figures for our tabletop roleplay games, including the odd bit of Warhammer 40k, so I’m used to working with acrylics to create metallic effects. That means that the transformation of the raw materials holds no terrors for me. Tomorrow morning we’ll be designing the masks themselves and I’ll paint them up when the papier mache is dry.
The wands we bought at Olivander’s will complete the look, but I’ve a few additional wrinkles up my sleeves for the night, if the things I’ve ordered come through in time. If they don’t, there’s enough elements for the night.
The follow on from this is that Lady P is already a cosplayer, having a fondness for Merida and assorted characters as who she attends various conventions. It was only a short hop from doing this preparation to agree to all turn up to the MCM expo in London later in October with her and some of her friends – so hey, there’s at least two outings of the Death Eater family to look forward to.