Tomorrow is Humanities Day at the kids’ school and the students are required to come in some costume to personify a storybook character. Where the heck would we find adult-sized costumes? At this time of the year, the only costumes in the malls are Halloween costumes. So, great, I said, go as Death then. Death? asked the girls, knitting their brows. Yeah, Death is a character in The Picture of Dorian Gray, so why not? That should save everyone the trouble of finding impossible costumes.
So, we went to the mall two days after the Glorietta blast and bought costumes — twin costumes for the girls consisting of hooded capes and masks. I thought that was the end of it.
Then, Sam’s class decided they would all come as punks. I freaked out. So, we wasted over 800 pesos for a costume that would never be worn? No, she said, they were going trick or treating with friends on Halloween. Okay, fine, I told her where the leather jacket was, she bought new black cropped pants, black nail polish, chains… the works.
No costume change for Alex. No need for Speedy to get upset over his share of the expense. Alex bought a more expensive mask and her whole outfit cost over a thousand.
But… BUT… Alex wanted a scythe to complete her “look”. Shit. Where were we going to get a scythe? Or even a make believe one?
Alex did not mention the scythe for a couple of days and I just forgot all about it. Then, at 10 o’clock tonight, she asked me where her scythe was. What the…??!?
I started thinking. FAST. What could we use for the handle? I was already looking at the curtain rods and I told Alex to ask her father where the spare curtain rods were. He couldn’t remember. Before I could think of a substitute, Speedy came up with a brilliant solution. He sawed off the wooden handle of an old floor mop and, presto! Half of the scythe was instantly created. All that I had to think about was the blade itself.
Blade… metal… metallic. Of course! Aluminum foil! When my brother was taking A.B. English in college and they staged Hamlet (or was it Macbeth?), he made a “sword” from the foil of empty cigarette boxes. I have three rolls of aluminum foil in the kitchen, so, that shouldn’t be too hard.
Well, conceptualizing how to execute the blade of the scythe was easy. Even constructing the blade was easy, or so I thought. My problem was how to attach the bloody thing to the floor mop handle which, by the way, was black with grime and I had to wash it with soap and water.
To make a long story short, Speedy attached the blade to the handle. He drew the blade on a box of San Miguel Beer in cans (I didn’t even know how big it was supposed to be although I knew what the shape was) while explaining that we wanted something that looks like the weapon that Brad Pitt used when he destroyed the coffins in the theater basement in Paris in Interview with the Vampire. Okay, I understood. Explain anything in the context of Brad Pitt and I understand clearly. I have memorized all his scenes in that movie and I understood how big a blade we were making.
The cardboard blade having been drawn and cut, I wrapped it in aluminum foil. Shit, I couldn’t even flatten the wrapping. I couldn’t make the foil follow the curves and the blade had creases. What kind of blade has creases, right? But that’s about the extent of my artistic talents. It would have to do.
The blade finally shiny in places and wrinkled in others, Speedy wrapped the wide end around the wooden pole and held it in place with his huge stapler (you know, the kind used to mount posters). Then, we taped it to secure it even more. Finally, it was picture time. I mean, hey, all that trouble and no story to tell? No way!
Okay, so I was about to take a photo of the scythe with the wrinkled blade. I propped it against the wall and it just looked awful. Perhaps, with the proper lighting and someone in costume to hold it…??
Remember the movie E.T., the Extra Terrestrial when the kids wrapped him in a white rag of a blanket and brought him out of the house on Halloween? He was a “ghost” then. Well, he donned the costume of Death this time — black hood, skeletal face and wielding a scythe.
It took the better part of 30 minutes to get the proper lighting (and I’m not even satisfied with the way the lighting came out but that photo is the best among a dozen, so…), dress E.T. up and pose him with the scythe. Sigh. I think he looked better in the ghost costume.