Conventions & Events

The Lush Life: HALLOWEEN!

[Main image: Smith, the Pumpkin Carver]

I’m going to start this simple with a confession: I LOVE Halloween…love, love, love, love, LOVE it!  Halloween is my favorite time of year with all of the fun harvesty decorations, ghoulish fun, and ghost stories.  I could decorate my house with Halloween decorations all year long if people would let me (I mean, heck, my booze shelf is a Captain Morgan coffin for cripes’ sake).  I adore the gargoyles, pumpkins, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, potion bottles, cauldrons, candles, graveyards, blood, skulls, costumes, and masks.

Photo Courtesy of eschipul on flickr

So, to celebrate here on SciFi4Me, I figured a little Halloween-themed fun was in order!  Since I’m in the process of moving and I can’t hold a crazy party on my end, I’ll pass my ideas on to you all!  In this series leading up to the holiday, I’ll be sharing ideas for how to make your Halloween extra special…along with a little history about the holiday we’ve all come to enjoy today.  I’ll post on odd days between now and the holiday itself to make sure you’re ready with fun party ideas, costumes, the best jack-o’-lantern tips, awesome decorations, recipes, and more!

Since I’m a firm believer that party themes are not just for five-year-olds, I figured the best way to give this series a kick start is with some great (and inherently geeky) party themes.

These themes are just a few suggestions…if you’d like recipes, drink ideas, decorations, or even costumes, I’ll have those in the articles to come marked with the theme’s initials in bold.

Aliens Throughout the Universe (ATU)

Here’s to a fun and a little bit different theme.  In the SciFi and Fantasy world, there are so many different realms with alien races (I mean, look at “Farscape” alone…then you can get into the races of Star Wars, Star  Trek, even the Space races of Spelljammer from old-school D&D).  Encourage your guests to dress as their favorite alien race from their favorite corner of the ‘verse and the rest of the party should be simple!    Theme your food and drink as otherworldly delicacies (Bantha milk, anyone?) and make sure your playlist includes all sorts of music (didgeridoos sound especially otherworldly).

Video Game Deaths (VGD)

Uh oh.  Your level 85 priest just drew agro from your tank against Rom’ogg Bonecrusher.  Whoops…. Mrs. Pac-Man totally just got owned by a ghost, way to go…. Your Spartan just bit a sticky….  It happens…a lot…in the video game world.  Death, death, death, death, death.  The thing about video games: your playables just don’t die.  Just think of all the ways you’ve found your toons dead (I know, just speaking WoW I’ve fallen off cliffs, drowned, been ganked by rogues, fallen to magic, been alternately frozen and burnt to a crisp by dragons, and ticked off one too many Naga at once…and that’s off the top of my head)…and go with it!  Encourage your guests to come as their favorite video game character…but dead.  Play video game music for background noise, decorate with 8bit pictures or various video game memorabilia (not a stretch for many, I realize) and come up with all sorts of gruesome snacks (crispy fried adventurers, anyone?  Chocobo wings?) and you’re set!  Heck, you could even throw a few blood splatters around (the window clings make for easy cleanup) to really jazz up the place.

Comic Books (CB)

Cliché, I know, but nearly every geek has their favorite comic book character…and several tend to already have the costumes.  You could even do a running tally of who’s in DC and who’s in Marvel (and, yes, for the Indie folks too) and proclaim a winner at the end of the night.  Decorate with Bat signal lights, Captain America shields, Green Lanterns, Spider-Man webs (or even Venom!), and more!  You can find Superhero soundtracks and playlists online and set out fun symbol-based snacks.

Warehouse 13 Artifact Mystery Theatre (WH13)

Okay, this is seriously more involved than the others, but this would be my theme this year if I was having a big party…so anyone that does this has massive kudos from me.  You don’t have to do direct WH13 (heck, it could be Warehouses 1-12 J), but the basic premise is such: there is an artifact causing problems and your guests have to figure it out.  You can script it out if you have friends that number among the acting inclined or you can have dossiers on the case ready for your guests and see where things go…it doesn’t really matter!  You just really need Artie’s Oatmeal Scotchies…just saying.

Hallow’s End (HEW)

For the WoWers out there, I’m sure you’re already psyched about the upcoming Hallow’s end event (my roommate has been cursing the lack of toothpicks in her bags last year since August) and in-game plans of your own.  Why not take it out of game?  People can dress as their all-tiered-up main or encourage guests to even go as goofy lowbie alts or NPCs (I’m sure more than a few people will have leftover costumes from BlizzCon).  Decorate with crests, banners, whatever sorts of WoW-themed things you can come up with and turn your house into a crazy Goldshire (lunatic RPers not included…and, yes, I’m Alliance…and I’ll still kick your butt).  Music isn’t hard…if you are really pressed for background noise, leave your computer up and hook up the big speakers…and the game has all sorts of suggestions for treats…invite your guildies and run with it!

Ghosts (or Zombies) of Halloweens Past (GHP)

Pick a time period and decorate!  Encourage your guests to come as ghost (or even zombie) versions of famous geeks from that time and run wild.  Draw inspiration for music, décor, and treats from the time period and enjoy a little history with your Halloween.  This sort of theme would work especially well if you’ve got a Victorian or specifically themed or timey home.

And, in true AJ style, onward with the history!

Photo Courtesy The Oceanista's flickr Stream

Halloween originates with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced “Sow-an” or “Sow-in”), a holiday which has been theorized to have been practiced for years (the first noted reference in literature dates about the 10th century).  The original Celtic calendar has four divisions according to the sun (the longest and shortest days as well as two of equal length of night and day) but also four other days known as “cross quarter days.”  Samhain is one of the cross quarter days, and it was the “final harvest.”  On this date, traditionally October 31st on the modern calendar, farmers would bring in their livestock and make final preparations for winter.  Its spiritual representation was that of the end, as well as beginning, of a new cycle which lasted for eternity.  Basically, it was the Celtic New Year.   Samhain was also traditionally the day in which the “veil between the worlds” was at its thinnest.  In plain English, it was the spookiest day of the year-one in which faeries, ghosts, and all sorts of other beings were out and about in our world.

The Schedule

October 17th: Party Ideas
October 19th: Costumes
October 21st: Decorations and Crafts
October 23rd: Recipes (Food and Drink- Alcoholic and Non)
October 25th: Jack-o’-Lanterns
October 27th: Last Minute Makeup Tips
October 29th: Halloween in Geek Culture
October 31st: An Extra-Special look at Halloweens of this Lush’s past…yeah, I’m going to bare my costumed soul for you all!

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