Finally polished off this guy when I was finishing up all the Drawlloween pieces. Everybody got backs and closed edges and a hanging mechanism.
Alice got really into watching Octonauts in the fall, and learned about the vampire squid, and asked to be one for Halloween. Cool, OK. What do I do?
I ordered a dyeable hoodie, skirt, and leggings from Dharma Trading. Then I dyed it all plus some scrap fabric in maroon. I didn’t really make it dark enough, but she loves pink and was fine with it.
The vampire squid has a membrane that stretches between its tentacles, forming a sort of skirt. Underneath it are a series of spikes. The squid turns itself inside out to display the spikes when it gets scared. I sewed and stuffed a whole lot of little spikes, and stitched them on the underside of the skirt in rows. Then I cut tentacle shapes from the scrap fabric and sewed that to the outside of the skirt. If I had spent a little more time on it, I might have added a drawstring to the hem of the skirt to flip it all up over her head at once.
I cut pieces from the scraps to make those little flappy fins on the head. Then I cut some circles from green scraps, and sewed them down with glow in the dark thread and a little glow in the dark fabric paint, because vampire squid live in the midnight zone and have glowing spots on their heads.
Hers was, I believe, the only homemade costume in her whole preschool class, but she didn’t seem to notice or mind.
Do you remember the Scary Stories series? Of course you do. Because those illustrations probably still haunt your nightmares. Do you remember Harold? He is the only scary scarecrow in all of history. Except he scared people, not crows. This guy here? He is no Harold.
Day 30 was spider. Bill told Alice a very abbreviated and edited version of Lord of the Rings. For some reason, she really latched on to Shelob, the giant spider who lives in a cave outside Mordor. Mainly she snacks on goblins, but she in the story she tries to eat Frodo and Sam. Alice’s love of Shelob has made her very disappointed that real spiders a) don’t have stingers on their butts and b) aren’t the size of our house. This piece is basically a valentine.
THE CATS ARE BACK!
I considered doing a picture of my mom in a witch hat for day 27’s witch, but I knew that day 28 was black cat and I would do Hugo, so I decided to do Linus instead. We like to dress the cats up for Halloween and put videos on YouTube. Linus has his own website. We’re just.. like that. Anyway. One of the videos features Linus in a witch costume on the dining room table. It doesn’t end well for him.
If you’re reading this you’ve probably seen the video, but hey. Watch it again.
And like I mentioned, day 28 was black cat. We have a black cat! Here, kitten Hugo charges his lasers!
I did not know what to do for mummy so I did this sort of clumsy thing with Lying Cat. This is not the best work! but they can’t all be winners. Lying Cat would very much like you to unwrap her now. “Get meowtta here!” and other bad jokes.
And then we came to rat. Rats and rats. If you see one how many are you not seeing? White rats aren’t really that kind of rat, they’re more of a bred-by-humans kind of thing. I originally was going to paint these rats brown or grey, but then I loved how it looked when I left them unpainted, so it stayed that way.
One of the people I’ve been following for Drawlloween suggested replacing ‘gore’ with ‘the Addams Family’ because gore is icky. And I get that, obviously, because I have definitely been bending the meanings of words and abandoning prompts I didn’t like. But I had an idea for gore that I didn’t think would be too bad. As I get older, I’m less and less able to look at gory stuff (real or not) without feeling a bit sick. That’s fine. I thought I could do an abstraction that might imply something fleshy or bloody. I thought about textbook illustrations of dermal layers.
Day 24 was skeleton. Skull was recent, so this felt a little redundant, especially because I chose another animal theme and made it black black blaaaaack. These are some of the skeletal remains you might find in an owl pellet.
I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the invention of Drawlloween, but I think it’s kind of funny how some of the prompts are generic and some are really specific.
For instance, day 19’s “Creature from the Black Lagoon” is very specific! It’s a classic Universal Monster, it has a look, it has been absorbed into the collective unconscious of the United States since its introduction. How do you deal with it? (You make a joke.)
Contrast that with day 20’s “skull.” That prompt doesn’t even have a modifier: human, animal, wine chalice made from, real, imaginary, etc etc. So you can go anywhere.
I went to the Morbid Anatomy Museum; this is a skull from the collection in the library. It wasn’t labeled and I don’t know what it is. I thought it might be a primate but I guess it could be a cat? I don’t know a lot about skull identification and am further stymied by its busted lack of teeth.
From the “hey wait that’s not right” files: day 17 was ‘demon’ and I bent the theme a bit and made one of the Icelandic Yule Lads. Not a demon. Maybe a bit of a troll. Impish even? This is Doorway-Sniffer, who wanders around snuffling at doors to find houses with freshly-baked bread to steal. (The bread might actually be cookies. Whoops.)
Mask: a mask from my mom’s collection of Halloween decorations. It comes from a vintage costume that would probably be better if it was just.. a kid with a crown and a masquerade mask, rather than a whole face mask of some blonde lady? I don’t know. This mask is weird.