I had said costumes were optional, but I was gratified that so many people came dressed for the holiday. Lucy, I think, took the prize for best costume: she was a corpse crawling out of a grave. Norman was a cowboy who had been hanged ("Brokeneck Mountain," he quipped). Curtis and his girlfriend Veronika were Lupin and Tonks from the Harry Potter books. Feral Mom came as Ozzie and Harriet -- you'll have to ask her to describe it, as I cannot do it justice; I also got to meet C and M, the Feral offspring, who are adorable. I just dressed all in black and emphasized the already sizable bags beneath my eyes; I'm afraid I looked more tired than fearsome. Naturally, I took pictures of none of this.
My friend and co-worker Robyn read tarot cards for all interested parties, and she did a terrific job. I was the first person to sit down with her, and she kept saying, "Now, I'm just a beginner...." She gave me an accomplished and thoughtful reading, and I told her not to tell anyone else that she hadn't been doing this for years. By the end of the evening, she said she and I should go into business together with our tarot card and palm reading acts.
Yep, I was the palm reader last night. I really studied up on palmistry for our last Halloween party, which was two years ago, and I was surprised at how much I recalled (though I did a quick brush-up last week). It astonishes me to see how much people get into having their fortunes told: even my skimpy skills left guests awestruck at the "accuracy" of my readings. And people are so quick to drop hints ("Oh my god, that totally explains __________!") that it's easy to see how professional psychics prey upon the credulous. I'm not saying my friends are credulous; in fact, I think they're all smarter than the average bear. It just seems like folks want to be told something magical about themselves and I found myself feeding off the energy of my subjects. Some of them practically became giddy as I was talking to them about their pasts and suggesting what may happen in their futures, and it made me giddy, too. (For the record, while I don't believe in any of this hooey, I stuck to the "facts" of palmistry and didn't just make stuff up for entertainment purposes.)
Two of my subjects kinda bugged me, although for very different reasons. Norman acted really silly and kept checking to make sure people were listening whenever I said anything even moderately interesting about him, so I finally gave up and started feeding him a bunch of bullshit, of which he was well aware. For instance, he has a well-developed head line (pertaining to intellect, logic, reasoning powers, etc.) which is crossed by many, many fine lines; I told him it meant that every day he encounters people who are idiots and he has to deal with their idiocy. I ran my finger along his heart line and said he would never find true love, and that I was concerned about that deep line that slashes across his Mount of Venus. The other person whose reading was less than satisfactory was Lucy's. No matter what I told her, she just nodded and said, "Mmmhmm. Yeah. I get it," and other things along those lines. She seemed entirely skeptical, which is exactly how I would feel and behave if I were getting my palm read. But I was the palm reader, so I wanted her to squeal and get excited and say, "That's amazing!" Instead, she acted like me and I ended up disappointed. Go figure!
While I was reading someone else's palm, Norman got the little kids together and had them start beating the pinata. They were all off in a darkened corner of the yard and I couldn't see what was happening, though I heard lots of yelling and laughter. At one point I saw the pinata, a stark white ghost, go flying through the air and crash on the ground beneath one of our fence lights; someone picked it up and dragged it back into darkness. Those kids were really waling on that poor thing. Turns out, it was practically like that scene in Parenthood where Steve Martin has to saw the pinata open. Finally the pinata ended up on the ground and Norman told Dylan, the biggest kid, to attack it and stab a hole in it. Here were the remains this afternoon:
It looks like a crime scene! It's hard to see, but that furry white blob lying next to the white pot is the remains of the pinata, ripped nearly in two. And at the bottom left is the half-inch round stick the kids were using, broken in half. Plus, what's wrong with those kids, leaving all that candy lying around?