Halloween is one of my favourite times of the year; the weather hasn’t begun to get too cold yet and colours change dramatically all around you. I look upon this time of year as a time for renewal and relaxation. Old leaves are being shed and branches are exposed, making way for a fresh start in the spring. Decay is so much more evident. I closely associate autumn with spring, when life and death are more apparent in nature.
It is a mellow time of year, when it is ok to put on your pajamas as soon as you come in from work.
In work I was kept very busy. My art class and I completed three big projects for Halloween.
The first project was a ‘Haunted Forest’. We had two wooden electrical spools in storage and we decided to put them to good use. They are pretty heavy duty, so they act as a great counter balance for the branches. These branches were found around the grounds of the centre. The leaves were removed and they were painted, along with the wooden spools, with normal household white paint. We then slotted the branches down into the central hole of each spool. Paper bats were then hung from the branches and candles, stones and bones were placed below them. We plan on using these trees again at christmas, but this time instead of bats we were going to hang red hearts and fairy lights from them.
The next project that we completed was ‘Grim’!!
‘Grim’ was created out of a mish-mash of bits and bobs that we found around the art room. The starting point was an old metal frame that we found in a hedgerow. The skull and wooden antlers are a beach-combing ‘find’ that I made, a good while back.
We had great fun taking photographs with him.
To see more creepy pictures of Grim and his creators, check out the centre’s blogpost for Halloween – Halloween EVE Estuary 2014
Along with the usual Halloween festivities, this year I wanted to mark and celebrate Día de Muertos or the ‘Day of the Dead’. I have always loved the iconography associated with this day and the juxtaposition of bright colours and skulls. Día de Muertos originated in Mexico and is celebrated throughout the world. It is a time when families and friends come together, to remember and celebrate loved ones, who have passed on.
I love the idea of celebrating life, after a death has occurred; to honour the life of the person who has passed away, as well as the life that you have left.
I presented this idea to my art class, in EVE Estuary, and their response was wonderful. We worked on a number of projects in relation to this new celebration. One of these projects was the creation of our very own large scale decorative skull. The skull represents the fact that death is a part of everyone’s life and that we should not fear it. The flowers, colours, patterns and love-heart represents the beauty and wonder that surrounds us, in our lives. It is about celebrating life and living each day as if its a gift.
As part of the ‘Day of the Dead’ celebrations people build private altars called ‘Ofrendas’ to honour their dead. These altars are decorated using skulls, flowers, food and photos.
‘Day of the Dead’ coincides with Halloween and All Saints’ and All Souls’ day, and runs from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November. On Friday the 31st of October, before we had our Halloween party, we created an area dedicated to ‘Day of the Dead’ and ‘All Saints & All Souls Day’.
Within this area, we had an altar. This altar was decorated with skulls, plants, flowers, colourful skeletons and candles. Beside this altar we placed a board, upon which we pinned photographs and drawings, of those that we wished to remember. We also took some time to share a fond memory of that person with each other.
To see more pictures of this event, in EVE Estuary, check out our blogpost – EVE Estuary’s Day of the Dead Celebration
At home, I also set up our own ‘ofrendas’ in the kitchen and placed photographs of loved ones whom we, as a family, wished to remember and honour. This splash of bright colour was a nice addition to the Halloween decorations.
I am trying to alter my perception of death and I found this celebration to be very helpful.
I had a relatively quite Halloween night, after wearing myself out at the ‘Shapeshifters Ball’ in IMMA the previous weekend. So I volunteered to babysit my niece Eibhleann. We had lots of fun staying in. We helped my sister Alison to get ready for a fancy-dress party, she was going to.
She went as ‘Maleficent’. Her costume was completely home made; from the cloak, to the horns and staff. She even put some battery operated lights in the top of the staff to make it look even more dramatic. I love this picture of Eibhlean and Alison. Eibhleann looks super happy and totally unaware of her predicament.
I am committed to sharing my love of fancy-dress with Eibhleann. For her first EVER! Halloween costume I picked up a very appropriate ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ outfit in ‘Lucy’s Lounge’, Temple bar. They had some great costumes for kids and all for only five euro. Eibhleann embraced her character wonderfully and had a great time helping me out with the Trick-or-Treaters who called around.
Our autumn harvest –
© Most photos shown have been taken by Rachel Kiernan and are not to be used without permission.