For a few hours more it’s Halloween in Kentuckiana. With a tornado watch in the air and rain for certain, it’s not boding very well for the actual observance. Sorry about that kids. It does seem to me that the actual going door to door and collecting candy is not the same prized occasion it used to be. It seems these days (and here’s where I start sounding old) every holiday has candy and it’s not as special as it used to be. Halloween is becoming more of an indoor activity with parties replacing the ceremonial wearing out of the shoe leather. Still there are decorations and costumes to carry on the tradition. While making my rounds at the Falls of the Ohio State Park…I keep my camera and collecting bag ready for any Halloween related or other spooky items. Among the more common Halloween finds are these plastic jack-o-lanterns. The bigger ones are used for actual candy collecting and the smaller pieces are novelties for the table. Here are a couple more the river has washed up.
Of course, all these novelties are made from discarded plastic which may turn out to be the scariest thing of all. Walking near the river’s edge, I will often be startled by sights of a spectral nature. The ghosts of objects and functions past hang mournfully from the branches of the willow trees. Observe these two ghostly images…if you dare.
During one recent high water moment along the river’s edge…I spotted what appeared to be “something” hanging upside down from a tree branch. It was animated, black, and hairy and after snapping a quick photo…I got out of there. In the back of my mind the words “cat demon” formed. I didn’t want to hang around and find out more. The hairs on arms were standing straight up! Judge for yourself.
Today we had a Halloween party at the art program that I manage. Needing a costume I had to do some quick overnight thinking and making…which often produces interesting results. How many times has having a deadline served you well? Looking at the river junk I have saved at my house…I created this head-gear? or weird sculptural hat to fill the bill. Here’s my “costume” photographed against a black cloth that makes it look like an art object. Imagine wearing this on top of your head!
The foundation is the Styrofoam shell of an old bicycle helmet. The effigy head is actually recycled from an old, now destroyed sculpture I made and left on site at the river. After the rest of the body fell apart…I wandered bye and salvaged the head since it was still in good shape. I had no idea what I would do with this head…until this opportunity presented itself. The eyes are plastic bottle caps from old dish washing detergent bottles. The red mouth is more waste plastic as is the yellow hand on top. The arms, nose, and ears are wood bits. The neck (which you can’t see very well in this image) is a polystyrene mushroom. The bungy cord which forms a chin strap, is the only element that did not come from the river. I have a beaver-chewed willow stick running through the head and into the base. A little glue holds it all together. If one can “prize” finding discarded Styrofoam…then I confess to liking the shells from old bicycle helmets. I have used several over the years to make various turtle and tortoises. Here’s an example that became the basis for my Cottonwood Turtle story from a few years back.
Well, it’s time to call it a day. Just a few intrepid souls in costumes made it to the door on this dismal night. They were well rewarded with chocolate and bubble gum. To close, here’s one final image from the river…what would Halloween be without witches and here’s one of the best. Trick or Treat from the Falls of the Ohio.