Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - November 7, 2014
Magnum, monkey, Maleficent, M&M's and more
Youngest daughter Katie opted out of the In-A-Chord a cappella group this year to pursue jazz, but husband Art and I went to the concert last Friday on the Kansas State University campus because we still know most of the members and didn't have other plans for Halloween night. But while we knew we wouldn't be the only ones in attendance, we weren't quite ready for some of the folks who joined us
As we entered through one set of doors to McCain Auditorium, a young man wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shades, baseball cap and mustache was entering through the ones to our left. Once inside, he looked at us and then said, "Who am I?"
We both paused.
"A 1970s TV detective?" he added.
He didn't wait for us to guess.
"Magnum, P.I. What do you think?" he asked.
He was a pretty good likeness to the handsome Tom Selleck, the actor who played the part of Magnum, although not quite as burly. He complained that the mustache wasn't quite up to Magnum's bushy standard.
His companion was a lanky monkey in a brown suit. As he waved his skinny arms up and down, I could imagine him swinging from tree to tree through the jungle.
Abe Lincoln was there too. He had his signature top hat, black coat and beard, but for some reason his pants were missing, replaced by red boxer shorts.
Katie's musician friend Xan wore green lederhosen and felt hat and carried a tuba. He played the part of a German oom-pah band member to the hilt. And since Xan actually is a tuba player, well it probably wasn't very hard for him
Katie had spent a good part of the previous week assembling her costume. She was a convincing Maleficent, a character from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty." She wore black leather pants and a black jacket. She and boyfriend Matt made the horned headdress from papier-mâché.
"Man, does that make you look vertical," Art told her.
If it hadn't been for the concert, Halloween would have come and gone this year without much hoopla - at least on our part. I had put up a few of Katie's and older daughter Mariya's grade-school construction-paper cats, bats, skeletons and scarecrows. I bought pumpkins and gourds for the front step, and passed out candy in one of my classes.
But both Mariya, 28, and Katie, 21, still love Halloween - the candy, the decorations and the costumes - especially the costumes.
Over the years, the girls have raided the Halloween box at home to piece together outfits. What remains are bits and pieces - an alien mask, clown "hair," kitten ears, sunglasses and other items that complemented various earlier costumes. This year, however, they didn't check out the box at home at all. Katie pieced together her outfit on her own, and Mariya and girlfriend Miriam bought giant yellow and green M&M costumes.
I've never been very artistic and so I was happy none of their costumes in those earlier years required much from me. When Mariya was little, all I had to do was buy her a black sweatshirt and black sweat pants and then accessorize. When she was Batman, I sewed a yellow felt Batman emblem onto her sweatshirt and bought a black cape, mask and hood to complete the ensemble. The year she was a skeleton, I bought a cloth "rib cage" to tie around her middle and applied white face paint. When she wanted to be a black cat, I bought ears, a tail and a black mask and painted whiskers on her cheeks. In later years, she became characters from her favorite TV shows and movies - Sydney Bristow from "Alias," Juniece from "Saturday Night Live" and others.
When Katie was almost 10, she decided to be Hermione Granger, one of Harry Potter's best friends. Her outfit was easy, too. She chose a white blouse, navy skirt, gray sweater, white tights and black shoes with buckles. To complete her ensemble, she selected a tie from Art's closet and a black sweater from my wardrobe. I added eight inches of cloth to the hem of my sweater to fashion her black robe. In other years, she was Princess Leia from "Star Wars," Eowyn from "Lord of the Rings" and Captain Kirk from "Star Trek," among others.
This year, I had considered buying bat wings so I could "fly" with the critters we see on occasion in our campus building, but I opted not to. Still, I'm glad others had the gumption and creative spark to become someone else for the day. From the Mustachiod Magnum to the Mischievous Monkey, from the skinny Maleficent to the fat M&Ms - they all made me smile.
Top-left: Miriam (left) and Mariya as M&Ms; top-right: Mariya as a devil; lower-left: Katie as Maleficent; lower-right: Katie as a pumpkin.