“You’re so dramatic!” my mother would lament. I don’t know why she was surprised. I loved dress up and acting since in kindergarten. Costumes served me well in my career as a young actress, then years later while gluing dinosaur and robot outfits together for my grade school son. My DIY costume instincts have been long dormant until I was invited to a witches luncheon and Halloween party this year. The theme wound around Paris and it’s too long since I’ve visited. Sometimes traveling locally can feed wanderlust!
I have a dear friend who loves the challenge of designing a Halloween costume. Teresa’s attended the Witches Luncheon for several years. Her excitement about the event started during the summer. This year I was in town and cobbled a costume together. Without much time to be a crafty girl, my glue gun stayed in storage, but I managed to cull pieces from thrift shops and stitch accessories together. Teresa and I dressed excitedly for an entrance.
We pulled up to the elegant, historic and reputably haunted, Horton Grand Hotel on the morning of the event. The Victorian lobby, full of gilded glass and wooden curlicues, fit the ghostly Parisian theme perfectly. Inside the atrium, a ghostly white, Eiffel Tower replica had a giant black spider descending it’s side. We were invited to imbibe a ‘bloody,’ watermelon cocktail. Tables were set with feathery masks and minitature French poodles. Our hostess, Helen, thoughtfully arranged a long table of loaner hats and wigs for anyone wishing to add to their Halloween party costume.
Helen took her costume cue from Audrey Hepburn’s coming-out dress in the movie, My Fair Lady. Eliza wasn’t exactly a witch, but Henry Higgins might disagree.
I knew few of the attendees – most worked in downtown offices and I work from home. Being a bit of an outsider gave me the freedom to engage as the room filled with all manners of witches. In friendly competition most lobbied for costume contest votes. The Sea and Crafty Witches won prizes. My gal-pal, Teresa, won for best makeup. I loved the hat winners – Domino and Ice Cream Sand-witches especially.
Professional photographer, Douglas Gates, corralled everyone together for a Halloween party shot before lunch and invited each of us to pose for portraits in a side room.
Moments before salads were served, the opening beat of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ filtered into the space. The willowy Helen emerged in a new costume, dressed as a mummy, and she slithered into the center of the room. Soon a flashmob joined her, kicking and twisting to the beat. How I wish I knew the steps!
The party continued, conversations and wine flowed. Garden doors opened and we were invited inside to view several tables overflowing with costumes and decorations. Our votes would determine next year’s Halloween party theme.
Being with all those inspiring women stirred up memories. My mother loved Paris. Side-by-side, we once looked up at the Eiffel Tower replica in front of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. She whispered, “Now, I don’t need to visit France,” and then we giggled at the thought. Before she passed away, we walked the Opera District, visited the Louvre and ate true croissants together in Paris.
Mom loved costumes too. Somewhere there’s a snapshot of her dressed as a gypsy for a cocktail party. I couldn’t have been more than five but remember being impressed with her huge, golden hoop earrings. The apple hasn’t fallen far from that tree. I’m already planning my Fairyland ‘witch’ costume for the Halloween party next fall. Mom would’ve fit right in.
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