November 4, 2011

First row:  Vampire, princess, Superboy.  Second row: Captain Jack Sparrow. Third row:  World’s Most Unlikely Hippie,  gory Goldilocks, French Native American, Fortune-teller, British Cleopatra. Fourth Row:  70’s disco man, Park Slope Food Coop Zombie Cartwalker, bat.  Fifth row:  Cereal killer.


When you speak French, there are few words as difficult to say as “Halloween.” This is in part because France doesn’t really celebrate Halloween, but also because French does not have an H, and does have a propensity for over-articulating vowels. That said, pronunciation difficulties did not get in the way of our celebrating a massive tri-cultural Halloween here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which we like to think of as the center of the universe for this most gory of holidays.

Our good friends were visiting from Aups, the rural French village where we spent a year of our lives, and making these friends was among the very best parts of a life-altering experience. But the whole time we were there, we kept trying to convince them to come here.  Bill wanted them to come on Halloween, specifically. Bill loves Halloween more than anyone I know, and is not afraid to share the love.

To prepare, we went on a massive shopping expedition to Ricky’s, which I like to call Trashy’s.  Bill bought fake human body parts to put in his fake shopping cart, as well as enough stage makeup to do a week-long run of Cats.  Grace purchased, and then carefully desecrated, several boxes of cereal, taping over letters strategically to turn Kellogg’s into “Killogs,” Cheerios into “Eerios” and Lucky Charms into “Yucky Arms.”  Abigail got my sister to find her a beautiful Goldilocks outfit, and then smeared it with fake blood.  “I mean, it’s really unrealistic that the bears don’t just eat her,” she said cheerfully.  Abigail is a big fan of realism.

I found costumes for the French kids, and for Laurent and Gerard, but faced a greater challenge finding costumes for our female friends Jess and Mathilde.  Most of the children’s costumes involve televised characters, but the grown-up costumes for females were all tarty in the extreme:  sexy nurse, sexy cat, sexy vampire-ess.  Sexy pirate. Sexy Princess.  I was grateful to find that there were no sexy teacher, sexy memoir writer, or sexy mother costumes — thank goodness my demographic is safe from fetishization, at least for the present. I got the most reasonable costumes I could find; happily Cleopatra wore full-length, and even in a mini-skirt Pocohontas is fairly decent.  The braids help with the wholesomeness, I guess.

The first day they arrived, Bill dragged them to the Museum of Natural History, while I stayed home and made American delicacies like cornbread, and pumpkin pie. I ordered fried chicken from a Chinese restaurant, and a keg of local beer.  They spent the day sloshing through a freak October slushstorm, and came home with their feet sopping wet and frozen.  We stuffed them up with American food and promised that the next day would be sunny.   And Halloweeny as all heck.

First, we carved pumpkins. French people, by and large, would vastly prefer to eat pumpkins than to cut them up and leave them to rot on their stoops.  They did love the pumpkin pie I made, which I suppose was good consolation for having to waste all that perfectly good squash.


The kids did not, of course, mind carving up the pumpkins. Here is an extremely proud Zack.

The kids also did not mind trick-or-treating.  We walked the streets for a few hours, amusing other Halloween revelers with our costumes.  Gerard seemed to think it was not just Halloween, but also Carnivale, so he went around hugging everybody he met.  Particularly the more beautiful women.  I explained, “He’s French. It’s his first Halloween,” and that seemed to help.  As it turned out, with his giant afro wig and drawn-on beard, Gerard made a most convincing Brooklyn Disco Man.  He enjoyed jiggling his way down the street as though to the sound of the Bee-Gees.

I thought it would be incredibly funny to get Laurent a hippie costume, as he is rather more polished and pulled-together than most of the people I usually hang out with.  But he got right into the spirit.  I took this photo looking up at him on my stoop — Cleopatra Jess in the background — which reminds me of John Lennon with the Statue of Liberty.

Here, French actors take on All-American roles:  Disney’s princess (with inexplicable vampire blood), Pocohontas, and Superboy with Superdimples.

Louise had been planning to be a bat — une chauve-souris — for months.  A bat costume was the most challenging costume to find at our local Ricky’s (no sexy bats, as of yet.) She was, of course, stunning as always.


Cameron was Captain Jack Sparrow with bad teeth and a fake knife through the head.  Cameron spent large parts of the weekend sitting on my lap as we took the subway to and from dim sum, museums, and a trip on the Staten Island Ferry.  Having never had a son of my own, I was unaware just how adorably snuggly they can be at age six.

Appy All-ouh-een, all.



moose November 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Beautiful site and great post….thank you!

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