Dot writes: today was the day of the annual Halloween Fancy Dress Sponsored Walk at Hugh’s school. I took the boys last year and quickly realised that a couple of masks coloured in with felt-tips really didn’t cut it (even though Julie drew the outlines and did a beautiful job). There were some astonishing costumes, including a boy dressed as a truly gruesome hunchback, a child disguised as the Empire State Building, and another as a washing machine with her head sticking up through the clothes basket on top. This year we needed something a bit more high concept. Hugh proposed the idea himself: “Why don’t I,” he said, “why don’t I have a box in the shape of a plane, and I can have it on straps over my shoulders and wear a swimming hat and goggles?” I’m still not sure whether he had this idea spontaneously or had seen it somewhere, but, either way, it seemed like a jolly good one.
Everyone contributed to making the plane. I found a large stout box in the attic and stared at it for half an hour trying to work out what to do. Eventually I drew some pencil lines on it and, with Ken’s help, began to shape it into the plane. Ken did the majority of the construction work during the week, making the wings and tail and covering everything in brown paper. Then Julie came round last night to babysit while Ken and I went to The Irish Pub (film, not place: though it was at the Lighthouse Cinema which allows one to take beer into the screening), and she and the boys decorated the plane with stickers, glitter glue, streaky paint and a rather delicate pink and purple propellor made out of paper. Oh, and I bought a hat with ear-flaps and made some goggles out of cardboard and insulation tape.
We almost didn’t go, though. Half an hour before the walk it was raining quite hard and Hugh wasn’t feeling well.
But he was determined to show off his plane. And with his blue jacket and a scarf the whole ensemble really worked, I think.
Again, there were some fabulous costumes. There was a child with trousers on his/her arms, boots on the hands, cardigan on the bottom and false head dangling below, pretending to be someone walking on their hands. There was an amazing gargoyle costume: the wings actually spread out when the wearer raised his arms. There was a robot in silver paper with LED lights. There was even an accompanying Dad in a huge box disguised as a milk-carton. The rain eased off briefly and we all went for a token walk of about four hundred yards just round the road directly outside the school.
Afterwards about eight prizes were given. The junior infant dressed as a carrot got one, as did a boy in Hugh’s year who had come as the old man from Up. Two particularly deserving prize-winners, to my mind, were a girl dressed as Marie Antoinette with her own guillotine (complete with a head in a basket and an artistically-placed rat) and another as Barbie, in the box. We had pretty much got to the end when the judge announced “The child dressed as a plane”.
Hugh was awfully pleased.
Now, I don’t actually think it was one of the best eight costumes there. The gargoyle was definitely robbed. But it was Hugh’s own idea, and he carried it like a Trojan,* even though he wasn’t feeling that good and it was quite heavy. And we all worked hard on it, especially Ken. So well done us, and hurrah for the sponsored walk.
*or maybe more like a Greek, given that it was a hollow model of a contemporary mode of transport and he was inside it.