28 October 2013

Our Pirate Halloween Extravaganza

It's Halloween week and we, like most people I think, started the festivities this past weekend. Our church held the annual Trunk-or-Treat activity. It's dinner, games, haunted house, costume parade and good treats. People decorate their cars (trunks) and the kids get to trick-or-treat in the safe confines of the enclosed church parking lot gates. It's a great thing when you live in a city where most of your neighbors are young professionals and there really isn't a neighborhood to trick-or-treat in.

The Man and The Bug are HUGE into Halloween so I'm trying to get into the spirit a little more. This year The Man decided to pull out his amazing pirate costume and The Bug who was an awesome pirate last year, decided to be a cat again. Then The Man had the idea to decorate the car like a pirate ship. If he'd had his way we would've had a Hollywood set quality set up, but thank goodness I brought him back down to earth!

But we did go all out on a few projects. I decided I should dress up early that morning. So after everything was made and we were a few minutes away from leaving for the evening, I threw together a costume with a black maxi skirt, my brown Frye boots, a brown belt worn high to increase my buxom-ness (ha), a white peasant top and some big gold earrings. I added the sweater later when it got cold. The Man loaned me a piece of fabric that matched part of his costume that I wore as the scarf in my hair. I already had the side braid that day so it was an easy go for a pirate girl.

But early in the day we spent quite a while at Home Depot trying to figure out the ship. We bought several square 3/4" dowels at various lengths. Strangely, our one issue was trying to figure out how to get the top sail to stand up and then when we got home The Man found a very heavy standing lamp in the dumpster at our apartment and we just popped that on top of the car and lashed one of our poles to it for the top sail. Then The Man lashed our pirate flag on top of that. Unfortunately you can't see the front of the flag in the car photo, it's blown backwards so you only see the blue backside.

The lower sail was easier. We lashed two pieces of wood into a cross and then attached them to the hitch bike rack. Boom, sail two. We didn't have a lot of time to fiddle with things so we just had to go with it when we got close to what we had imagined in our heads as far as how the sails went.

We bought some plastic white chain at Home Depot and in the afternoon I spray painted it black on the balcony in a box. I had to re-position it and spray it again several times to hit all the surfaces. Next I drew and cut out the anchor from foam core  I learned that foam does not like spray paint and in fact it eats foam. That made getting the sides of our anchor to look black was a little  tricky. But it worked out all right in the end. Our original plan was to wrap it in silver industrial tape to give it a shine and some added strength. But time ran out so I just grabbed the spray paint can I was already planning to use. When we were getting loaded up to go home the anchor got hit in the car and one of the ends broken. It's already been taped up and I guess before we use the anchor again we will tape it from top to bottom.

Next we needed a flag. While I was whipping up all these little projects The Man headed to the thrift store to pick up a few white sheets and a black shirt for The Bug's cat costume. Of course she did not mention until that moment that she needed a new black top for her costume even though we'd been talking about her being a cat for several weeks now. Classic kid.

I had several thoughts on the best way to do the flag but in the end I decided to go with stenciling it. The first thing I had to do was find a piece of fabric I could use. In my thrift store donation bag I found some old blue cloth napkins. Each one was now a different shade of blue and they were quite beat up so I grabbed one of those. Then I needed it to be black so I grabbed my black spray paint and sprayed the entire thing on one side and let it dry while I searched for a graphic image from the internet. When I found one I ran it through our copier/printer a few times to get it the correct enlarged size.

Then I put the image on foam core and cut out all the white areas of the image and the eye cavity and nose cavity. Then I taped it all onto the now dry black "flag". I taped on the full skull then placed the left eye socket and nose cavity where they were supposed to be. With about two tablespoons of white craft paint left, with my fingers crossed that it would be enough, I started dry brush painting the cutout areas. It took a couple of coats because the fabric really absorbed the paint and I was working with a black background.

Once I got that done I pulled off my stencil and then took a dash of black paint and a tiny brush and touched up areas where the white paint had bled through too much. I was using a plain piece of paper for my stencil so getting it wet with paint was a bit of a problem. But with just a minute of touch ups, it was all looking much better than I had ever hoped or anticipated. I credit The Man for teaching me the fine art of tiny brush touch ups. He has saved many an art project for me when I needed some painted areas cleaned up. This was my first time creating my own stencil and I was really happy with it. I definitely want to play around again with doing some other projects like this!

I had the fan blowing on high speed to quickly dry all the the painting projects.It worked fantastically. Thank goodness because we had our backs to the wall on time. We got to the church and things were well underway with the games and we sent The Bug off while we rigged up the car decor. Then The Man ran off to get his costume on. He didn't get a chance to get his beard on, so I added one for him in the photo editing process of the family photo, haha. He looks much more authentic now. Who ever heard of a baby-faced pirate?!

We had a fun night with friends. We were exhausted by the end of the day. It was a lot to pack in the car to get there and a lot to unpack when we got home. We all got our PJs on and watched a movie for a while to unwind. The Halloween candy has barely been touched. Our girl likes to collect candy at Halloween and Easter but after that she's pretty much done with it. She'll eat a few pieces now and then, but she actually just forgets about it. I don't get her at all. haha.

We have a school carnival later this week which will be festive and fun and The Bug will get to wear her costume again. Friday night was a good start to the holiday celebrating. Last night I told the man it's just four weeks until we can put up the Christmas decorations. He didn't seem quite as excited about that as I am. Hope you enjoy you Halloween week and get some time to spend with family and friends. Sending you our best wishes.

1 comment:


A family portrait ... yay!


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