After the APAns left, we prepared for the Lytheria Halloween party. Georgie had hit on the idea of going as the "Green Fairy," a.k.a. the Absinthe fairy, and had assembled an elaborate costume including a "distressed" light green tulle dress, a matching green wig, and fairy wings. Accessories included a proper absinthe glass and a swizzle stick to use as a wand. I was a bit less ambitious, deciding to go as "Doktor Mirakle," the deadly doctor from "Tales of Hoffman." This consisted of a black suit, accessorized with my skull-pattern cravat, matching pin, and other ominous signs and symbols. I used my doctor's bag to transport Georgie's absinthe paraphernalia.
It was a very pleasant, if low-keyed party. Most of those attending were old-timers, and it was good to chat with them. We had a good time, but went home fairly early in order to prepare for the morrow.
The year's trick-or-treat theme was "The Wizard of Oz," in honor of the 75th anniversary of the MGM film. The main set was the Wizard's "throne room," built as usual on the Lytheria porch. It had a formidable door with Judas window, and a large green-painted space with emerald curtains at either end. The curtains covering the exit were used as a projection screen. At the other end, the last few feet of porch were screened off to create the Wizard's control area. Along with non-functioning levers and wheels, the area included a sound system, infra-red video camera, microphone, video monitor, and video projection system.
I was playing the part of the Wizard, and, with this set up, I could be hidden in the dark behind the curtain, with my face projected hugely on the far curtain. The sound system allowed me to do the big voice with reverb, and the monitor allowed me to see what was happening on the other side of the curtain.
So, the kids would knock on the big door. Todd Voros, acting as the doorkeeper, would open the Judas window, snarl, "No one gets in, no way, no how!" and slam the window. At a second knock, he'd open up again and ask, "Do you know the password?" If the answer was "No!", he'd say, "That's it! The password is 'No'," and let them in. Other variations worked, such as, "We're here to see the Wizard!"
Chuck Tritt and Jennifer "Stormsinger" Levin, dressed as citizens of the Emerald City, herded the kids in, and Stormsinger got them settled, while my image watched from the curtain screen. Then I started off with the line, "I am OZ, the great and powerful!" If we weren't too backed up, I might ask, "Who dares disturb my magnificent cogitations?" and see what answers we got. Then we got to the "What do you want?" question, to which of course the reply was "candy!" I pretended to be offended at such a simple request, but allowed that if they could find me where I really was, I would give them candy. Usually the first guess was behind the screen curtain, which was wrong. Eventually, someone would indicate the back curtain, and Chuck would pull it aside revealing me and the Wizard's control center. There was usually a good laugh and exclamations at this "reveal." Then Julie Ann Hunter and I would hand out candy and certificates that I had made up. These said:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY that the BEARER of this document has been determined to possess a great sufficiency of BRAINS, HEART and COURAGE, enough to deal with all the vicissitudes of Life of whatever Nature.
GIVEN UNDER MY HAND this 27th day of October, 2013, at the Emerald City, Kingdom of Oz. Signed,
Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs
And, yes, that's the Wizard's canonical name!
Out on the sidewalk, Georgie, as the Wicked Witch of the West, lurked and menaced with great glee, and was very effective. Mike Davis, as the Scarecrow, was set up on the corner of Park and Shepherd, and was a prime picture subject. Steve Hanchar, as the Cowardly Lion, prompted people when to knock at the door, and Lee Schneider, as the Lord Mayor of Oz, and other Emerald City-zens worked the crowd and kept things under control.
Counting the numbers of certificates left out of the thousand I had made, we processed over nine hundred trick-or-treaters and escorts that afternoon. It's a lot of work, but fun was had by all.
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