Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Halloween 2017 Wrap-Up

Happy Halloween! - is finally over! Is it just me, or does it feel like Halloween goes on for at least a week now? And that's not even including Dia de Los Muertos! It's crrrrazy. And also really fun. Venice is an excellent place to celebrate the holiday that has come to be as big a deal for adults as it always has been for kids ... if not bigger. With all the artists and creatives that call Venice home, the decorating and Halloween spirit is in full effect here in these parts. Even the Venice Sign goes orange for the season! Settle in ... this is a long one.

The whole week kicked off with a big Halloween day party at Couer D'Alene Elementary School last Saturday (because I had to miss the big Jim Robb/Paige Petrone party the night before at The Victorian), that was both really impressive and very small town feeling. Kids and parents alike were all decked out in fun costumes, and the candy barrage had already begun. They had games and crafts and giant bounce houses and just about anything a kid could ever want in a party. Then it was time to go home to get ready for the grown up parties. This was THE night, and there were a ton of them happening, and you want to hit them all, but you just do your best to have the most fun possible.

My brother, Paul, decided to have a Halloween party this year, and worked for weeks and weeks on turning his house into a haunted one, so that's where I was going to post up. He refused all offers for help, as he had a particular vision in mind for what he wanted. And that vision was spoooooky.

You entered through a dark walkway, where a big spider jumped out at you at the exit. A kid friend of mine who all week has claimed to be unafraid of anything jumped about a mile at that one, pleasing me greatly. Right when you walked out of the dark, there was a peep hole area, where you could look inside to see photos of awful clowns ... including Trump. My little pal, Beckett, peered inside and jumped back at that one, yelling, "Scary!" He doesn't even know. There was also a hole to reach inside of that was full of guts (spaghetti, hot dogs, and if you reached far enough back ... a big dildo).

The kids only got to stay briefly, because ... nope. But they got to hang out in the scary cage and take a turn at scaring the grownups. Kids can be very creepy, after all.

There was an entirely new structure that Paul built, to house an alien that lived among bloody hands reaching out at you. Not a room you'd like to be locked in. Sound effects were equally nightmarish.

A portal to Hell had burned up hands reaching out at you that I could barely look at, and a gigantic spider that hung over the outdoor proceedings.

The garage held a bunch of dangling, plastic-wrapped bodies, making me wonder how my brother knows how to do that. Very Saw like (I say that, but I've never seen any of them. Nope.)

Inside the house, Slender Man resided, as well as a very eerie man inside of the wall.

I recently had a real life cockroach incident at La CabaƱa, so when I turned on the light in my brother's bathroom to see all of these awful creatures skittering up the wall ... Ok, I really did jump. Disgusting jerks. *Health code note - they were not real.

My favorite costumes at the party were Van Gogh (complete with severed ear) ...

And I also have to give it up for the Fantasia couples costume. 

The party hosts were pretty good too ... Spacepants (I guess it's an SNL skit starring Peter Dinklage) and Yacht Rock. Good times!

Paul's band, spaceblanket, ruled it as usual, even throwing down a little Halloween theme song cover. In the middle of their set, Steve Irvin did a performance art piece that featured him fully nude, tearing liquid latex off of him like it was his skin. It was both brave and cool, and when the "skin" was left behind on the floor, appropriately creepy.

All in all, it was a complete blast and I'm so proud and impressed with Paul and all of his hard work - Oh, and I almost forgot to mention his delish vegan curry he made for everyone - it was totally worth it and THANK YOU, for providing so much fun for everyone! LOVE you!

A couple days off to recover, and then real Halloween. Venice goes off. And it starts early. I've always gone mainly to Rialto Avenue, but the people I don't see there told me that the walk streets are great, so this year I decided to check out all of it if I could.

The walk streets are great because they never have cars on them, and Rialto is great because they close down the whole wide street. Both are very decorated, and both you will see friends and neighbors ... as well as all of the people that drive in for the occasion. I dug the fresh graves at one house ... meaning I liked them, not that I physically dug them.

There were a couple of witches hanging out, stirring their cauldron of brew. They were great, and it was cute to hear a little kid say, "I remember you from last year!", all excited. He explained that he was something different last year, so they might not remember him. Adorable.

The adults were pretty dressed up to accompany their kids this year, and I especially appreciated one family that was the Von Trapp Family Singers, with all the little kids in dirndls and leiderhosen, only the mom was the captain and the dad was the singing Maria. It was great, and they win my favorite of the walk streets.

The walk streets were cool, but they're very narrow, and there is a lot of trick or treater gridlock. Everyone was having a great time, and I saw more than a few Dads looking at their phones to keep track of the Dodger Game 6 (They won! Game 7 tonight!), and more than a few Dads AND Moms holding on to their Solo cup roadies. Necessary. 

Rialto is still the best, in terms of concentrated Halloween spirit, and almost everyone getting in on the scene. One nice family again rented a giant bounce house thing for the kids to jump in if they could be torn away from the candy getting.

The Haunted House house was even more haunted this year, and though it wasn't quite dark yet when I visited, it was still scary.

The inside part that you walk through is actually scary and I made a Frida Kahlo I just met go through it with me.

Severed heads were hanging from the ceiling, along with some Day Glo worms, but it got real when a horrifying Grandma jumped out at us with a big knife. I actually jumped.

There was also a scary Cowboy in there, and ghouls and skeletons in the bushes. I think some of them are actually there all year long - they looked familiar.

The Dragon House did it up again this year, only they added a giant, kind of albino bat thing. It looked great, as did all of the houses, really. I love how everyone gets so into it!

My favorite costume award on Rialto this year is the little family that went as a recycling truck and recyclable items. Socially conscious AND adorable. I loved them.

The Frankenstein House added some stuff this year too, and really meant business.

There was an extra graveyard and smoke and all the good stuff you want in a haunted scene. I found myself wishing I lived on Rialto, so I could stay in one place all night and watch everyone come to me. There were so many cute kids I found myself looking for new adjectives better than "cute". But they really were. I met some little skater kids who grilled me for directions to the most candy that I'd seen. I sent them to Nowita, as they'd already gone up and down Rialto. I'm pretty sure they cleaned it ALL up.

I stopped to say hi to a casual banana on a porch ...

... and then headed back to the walk streets to try to find my people that I'd taken off from. The sun had set, and spooky music was playing on every street. Every house had candy on the porch and the t.v. on inside showing the Dodgers game - truly Americana at its best. People walked up and down until the either the kids dropped or the parents did, because it didn't seem like the candy ever ran out.

Then it was back to the house to count the candy, sort the candy, eat the candy, smell the candy (I love that cumulative Halloween candy smell inside the bag, everything all mixed up. It's a classic aroma.), and then, ultimately melt down - again, the kids and the parents. Drinks, scary movies, steal some kid candy for the movie candy, and it's a perfectly wonderful Halloween '17 Season wrapped up, with candy and memories to last for ages.

Good job, everyone! I think we all really needed this fun this year, and we did it up right. Love.

Oh, hang on ... It's All Saints' Day now. Have a good one, you Saints.

And Go Dodgers!

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