Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Traditional Halloween

For the last seven years, I have attended the same party at the same house in Nacogdoches. Merci and Tracy are known for their Halloween event and never failed to disappoint - a huge bonfire, spooky food and drink, live music, costume contests, and a few surprises each year to keep it fresh. (My favorite was the time they hung chicken bones from the trees along the dark path that led from the parking area to their home. So creepy!) No matter how busy my friends were or what we had going on, we always made it out to the Halloween party, dressed up and ready to celebrate.

So you can understand the wave of homesickness that rolled to shore on Friday, when I realized that Merci and Tracy's party was this weekend and I would not, in fact, be in attendance. I am a sucker for traditions and rituals and hated the fact that I would miss my first Halloween party in seven years.

Luckily, it's never too late to start a new ritual and Wilmington provided the perfect opportunity. Apparently, the MFA program at UNCW has a tradition of throwing an annual Halloween Party and MFA reading at a huge house known as The Mansion, which has many rooms and apartments within it's folds. At least one MFA student has lived there for many, many years, and that person, along with a group of students, volunteers to host and organize the reading and party. I can't speak for past years, since this was my first time attending, but I thought they did a great job.

I had no idea Princess Leia was such a talented poet!

The reading started at 8pm, with the party to follow directly. It was really fun to sit in a room full of folks dressed up as ghosts, killers, autumn, the Olsen twins, sandwiches, jellyfish, etc, and watch people in equally weird garb read poetry and prose. Some people read things that were funny or scary, others just read their usual work but added a few Halloween-themed haiku's. Everyone was wonderful, as usual. I would expect no less.

After we cheered and laughed and clapped, it was party time. Lots of people, lots of food, lots of creative costumes. Because I am super broke and short on time, I re-used my costume from last year. I figured no one in North Carolina has seen it yet, so why not? Minnie Mouse is timeless, after all.

Me and two of my favorite MFA peeps. I have a lot of favorites.

I ended up drinking red wine all night (Target wine cube, I love you) which means most of the other photos I've been tagged in feature me, sweaty from dancing and sporting purple-stained lips. C'est la vie.

Towards the end of the night, a very drunk young man began twirling fire on the front lawn, much to the party's unease. Our fears were founded because he ended up briefly catching on fire and not really doing anything to put himself out. Nathan and the husband of an MFA friend had to smother the flames, which the drunk young man did not appreciate. We left shortly after, as it seemed a good time to head out, but I heard that later the drunk dude tried to twirl his fire again, set himself on fire a second time, and that a fight broke out. I was glad we left when we did!

This is before things got ugly.

Despite the fire and the purple teeth, I had a great time and didn't get home until 5:00 AM. Needless to say Saturday was rough but I seem to have made a full recovery. I even went to a birthday party last night (though I didn't really drink) and a spin class at the YMCA today (which nearly killed me). I also finished a novel for class, before the day of class, and successfully folded and put away all the laundry. A good weekend and a great Halloween. Thanks, Wilmington. You make missing Nacogdoches a little easier to bear.