Saturday, November 7, 2009

What the Halloween?

One of the more interesting traditions over here is Halloween.

I really wanted to experience as 'American' a Halloween as possible, and so Ashley and I started by carving a pumpkin a couple of days before hand. Pumpkins in America are not like pumpkins in New Zealand. They don't eat theres, unless it's in something sweet such as a spiced pumpkin mocha/latte/donut/muffin/steak. Turns out there's a lot of admin in carving a pumpkin - the bulk of which is normally dedicated to scooping out the insides with your hands. For those that have never tried this, there isn't really any way to explain the sensation, other than perhaps it's like putting your hand into a deep dish apple pie, all the way up to your wrist (not my hand).

You keep scooping until you have gotten all of the insides out:

Then you get to decide what to carve into the pumpkin. I had initially wanted to do 'something kiwi' like a fern or actually a kiwi, but in the end decided that it would be better to go with the decidedly non-kiwi owl.

Not bad, eh?

But now I had one more dilemma - what to dress up as?

Once revered as a night full of spookiness and mischief, Halloween is now widely considered a night to dress up in funny, cute, or slutty costumes. This usually splits along gender lines: guys will usually dress up as something funny or lazy (I saw a guy dressed up as a toilet, another just with the word "Book" on his face. Facebook... good one mate, topical), with the girls usually treating it as a chance to really dress like a woman of ill-repute - I lost count of the number of slutty nurses, cops, little red riding hoods over the evening.

I found myself torn between the desire to be incredibly creative and clever, and my unswerving desire to be lazy. What could I do that would be unlike everybody else out there, would get a smile or a knowing nod from passers by, but which didn't require me to invest in hours of papier mache or a construction kit? I wanted something clever, yet captured the spirit of Halloween.

In the end, I went as something classic, with a contemporary twist. I decided to revive the Halloween traditional ghost outfit (complete with bedsheet and eye holes), but to make it relevant to today's society. So, in the spirit of the season, as well as to celebrate the Yankees making the World Series against Philadelphia, I went as "The Ghost of Yankees Past".

Now I know what you're thinking - brilliant, right? Yes, in this case you would be correct. Most people who saw my costume got it pretty much straight away, and thankfully nobody seemed to think I was predicting that the Yankees were about to die. Willem Defoe even liked my costume, and he wouldn't lie.

I met up with my friend Rohan to catch the annual Halloween parade in the city, but due to rain and us being stuck behind a large crowd of people we were unable to see very much. So after about 30 minutes of standing in a large crowd of zombies and Michael Jacksons, we decided to head to a bar to have a drink and watch the Yankees beat the Phillies. Which they did.

In there, we saw some pretty cool costumes:

I wasn't allowed to wear my costume at the bar though, as apparently there was some concern that as a ghost I would think I was invisible, and cause mayhem (though they said it was 'for security reasons'), so I was dressed only as a Yankee - a far lamer costume, particularly as it only looked like I was a fan. Later in the evening I was showing some new friends my costume, and was promptly told that there was no way I could wear that outside, or anywhere around them.

"Are you guys Phillies supporters?"
"No way man - that costume's 85% inappropriate - you can't come out with us dressed like that!"
"But I'm a ghost!"
"It's Ku Klux Klan"

These guys liked me - we got on really well. What worried me though was that if these guys thought that, then somebody who didn't know or like me might take it the wrong way and stab me. Not entirely the approach I had gone for. In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have worn the hat:


  1. You do look a bit more racist than usual in that "costume".

  2. Sorry, but that's totally the first thing I thought of too when I saw that photo: "why is Steve all KKK?"