Monday I spent the day tracking down materials for my Costume for Halloween. I went to mall to ask clothing store for boxes and got one pretty good size box after pacing around giving time for the girl who who works there, who looked at me confusedly unpacked the clothes from the box. Huge department store i needed more cardboard so I went around looking for places but didn’t have luck getting more cardboard so I just set off on my way home with intention of going to Chino store [similar to dollar store]. As i was passing a cardboard recycling bun I found a massive box for a TV made from pretty sturdy cardboard so I snatched it up with a few other pieces laying around. In the Chino shop i picked up a box cutter and looked for paint but didn’t find what i was looking for but on the way out I spotted a helmet with horns and studs. 1 euro?! Yes please, that will be the perfect start to the helmet I will make. After dropping off those materials I got on my bike and rode over to huge department store where I once saw a girl carrying yarn with hopes of buying some black yarn and paint. I didn’t find yarn but i found awesome copper iridescent paint and black too. a guy told me yarn could be got near my house so I entered the Merceria, I think it’s called. It was filled with women buying ribbon and fabric and things; exactly what you would expect at a sewing store, I got yarn and headed home to cut into the cardboard. little by little the pieces came together and after about 6 hours or maybe 8 the project was complete. People may think that is a long time to spend on a costume but for me it was meditative and fun. when you are working on a creative process your mind thinks differently or for me I don’t think much its like auto pilot.
Normally I don’t get excited for Halloween I don’t remember the last time I dressed up. usually i liked just staying home and handing out candy. last year I went to a Halloween concert in Segovia, a tribute to Creedance Clearwater Revival but didn’t wear a costume. This year though a friend made plans to throw a Halloween party where costumes were “Required” and I wanted to go.
After spending so much time on the costume I was contemplating wearing it to the school but that would imply getting it all there on public transportation, sort of a hassle. this morning i saw on of the auxiliares [teaching assistants like me] post that they saw someone dressed like a day of the dead skeleton on a bike. so i figured what easier way to get the costume to school than wear it. I am not the type of person to have too much “fun” or draw too much attention to my self. But “today I will break that” I thought. so i laced up my shin guards. put on my lower body armor, put on helmet, realized my upper body armor wont fit on over the helmet; square peg round hole moment. got that figured out and out the door I went.
Its about a 5 minute walk from my house to the bus stop. people were sitting outside on the patios of cafes chatting, old women were wheeling there little shopping bags along getting or returning from getting groceries. I got some confused stares and lots of smiles. Some, “Ay que guapos”. and many other comments. one lady rounded the corner and jumped back with her hands towards her chest, yelling out “Que asusto!” [what a scare]. At the bus stop a guy rode past on a bike with his head coked, nearly veering off of the bike path. I turned around to see a girl pretending to not take my picture with her phone. I though to ask if she would like a picture from closer but my bus pulled up at that moment. I got on the bus to more stares saying WTF IS GOING ON! but it was a great way to start a conversation with the people on the bus.
When I got to school i walked in like i would any other day but a few feet past the main entrance the secretary came darting out yelling. “ey!, Ey! EY!” finally I heard him through the helmet and turned. he hadn’t recognized it was me and just had to do his job. two of my sixth grade students were wandering around after getting some water and saw me and ran back to class. later that teacher told me two students ran in yelling that a samurai was chasing them. the teacher dismissed their comments as tonterias and continued the lesson. a few minutes later I opened the door slowly not letting them see me and then jumped into the class with a battle cry, scaring the daylights out of them; we had a great laugh.
Today was supposedly pay day but one can never know in Spain with this program; some students haven’t been and wont be paid until December or January or even February. The secretary of money has a crazy sense of humor and made comments about non payments not being his fault. i walked into his office full costume wielding my sword and said, “estoy aqui para lo mio” [i’m here for what’s mine]. He happily signed me a check and suggested that before I go into the bank I take off the costume, which I think was good advice, I may have actually entered thinking it may be funny.
At recess, after I handled the bank stuff I suited up with 700 euros in cash in my pocket and walked out to where the kids were playing. I was surrounded by a mass of kids of varying heights none taller than shoulder height. They knocked on my armor pulled at the sword, everything to destroy it but it managed to survive. kids lined up to go into class and as I walked past the lines a group started chanting “KENNY!, KENNY! , KENNY!” another group chanted something else, some rhyme that I couldn’t understand. This is just a hyped up version of what I have to “deal with” on a daily basis.
In Spain Halloween is gaining popularity but only a few kids dressed up. instead of candies they do some exchange of Frutos Secos, like almonds, peanuts, corn-nuts and such. each kid brings something to class and outside teachers put down big sheets of paper where kids dump out all the nuts. they all sit around the paper eating and talking and pegging each other with castannas, though that wasn’t allowed. All of the 5th grade classes were out there so I walked from group to group saying hey, eyeing what they had to offer. They held out bags offering me all sorts of things but the castanna [chestnut] was what interested me most, having never tried one. one girl showed me how to rip into the exterior with my teeth and continue to peel the shell off with my fingers. One girl came over to me with a piece of cake on a spoon and said there was one piece left and that she wanted to give it to a teacher, her mom made the cinnamon and vanilla sweet potatoe cake, which was delicious.
Standing around all of the sudden two fingers poked me one on each side of my ribs and a kid went running away from me. Again it happened and a different kid was running from me. I started watching around me and just as i would turn around another kid would be about to run at me but would stop and pretend to be up to nothing. I let some time pass and one of the pokers got busy sweeping up their mess. I snuck up and ran past, getting him back. without him seeing me coming. the other kids all cheered. I felt like a big kid today. I caused so much chaos in that school but it was for everyone’s enjoyment including my own.
Andrea and her Spanish Fiance, Carlos were having a party so around 11 I wandered out, walking down the main pedestrian bar and cafe street, again in full costume and got more entertaining comments. Andrea and Carlos had their apartment decorated with spiderwebs and orange balloons.