Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Halloween Prank

My husband, Paul, and I have always been fans of Halloween. Even as a young, married couple before our two boys came along with their cute costumes, we would celebrate All Hallows' Eve. Sometimes we'd dress in costume and head out to a party or other times we would just gather with our friends to carve pumpkins, toast the seeds and enjoy a hearty, soup supper (yeah, I know, we're party animals). But one Halloween, we decided to take it a step further and delve into the "spirit" of the holiday. We decided to pull a good, old-fashioned Halloween prank.

Halloween Trivia - Back in Anna Mary Robertson Moses's (A.K.A. Grandma Moses, the great American Folk artist) day Halloween pranks consisted of tricksters stuffing pumpkins down your chimney or dismantling your horse buggy and reassembling it on your roof.
Halloween by Grandma Moses, 1955
Our prank would not be nearly as sophisticated as all of that. But we did choose to pull a caper for all to see. At the time, we were living in Oakland, California just across the bay from San Francisco. Our townhouse was located in the hills near Joaquin Miller Park. Joaquin Miller was an early California writer and poet who bought the land, which makes up the park, in the 1880s. There is a large statue depicting Joaquin Miller mounted on his horse which can be seen from the road as you drive along side the park toward its entrance. We thought it would be a fun "Halloween Prank" to place a Jack O' Lantern over the head of Joaquin Miller. Sort of our own spin on the Headless Horseman.  

We enlisted the help of our friends, Dix and Anne. They offered to shop around and find a pumpkin big enough for the job. On Halloween night they arrived on our doorstep with an impressively large pumpkin. After supper, we set about carving the classic Jack O' Lantern grimace into the big orange orb. When we were finished, we dressed in dark clothing then loaded our masterpiece into the car along with several flashlights and headed toward the park. We parked the car several hundred feet from where the statue stood and snuck up on foot using our flashlights. Once at the base of the statue, we realized our miscalculation. The statue was huge! It was at least 15 feet tall. It didn't look nearly that big from the road. Never the less we soldiered on. While Anne and I held the flashlights, Paul helped Dix clamber up the statue. With lots of pushing and grunting, Dix made it to a spot where he could place the pumpkin on top of the statue. Which is exactly what he did. There it sat like a gourd beret on top of Joaquin Miller's head. I would like to think that Grandma Moses would have approved.  

10x8 inches, oil on linen canvas, 2016
BUY THIS PAINTING AT AUCTION Click on this link to bid:
The Break room - auction ends on Sunday, October 30th at 9:00am PST. 

These pigs are owned by my friend farmer Fran and live on a farm on Whidbey island. They are taking a break from foraging for food and are enjoying a bask in the warm sun.

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