Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween!

There's something about Halloween that really brings out the creative juices and the urge to be downright scared. I put more horror flicks in my Netflix queue than usual, visit a haunted house or two, and get excited about handing out candy to ghoulishly clad youngsters and attending our town's Halloween parade. This post is a tribute to this fun-tastic holiday and the crazy things it makes me do!

Haunted House

On Friday night, Ryan and I went to the Leitersburg (Maryland) Haunted House for their final weekend of fright before closing down after 30 years. It was a cold, rainy night and the town looked perfectly spooky with its old houses and semi-bare trees. The haunted house experience started with a terrifying show put on by the staff, which made me clutch Ryan's arm and hide my face in his sleeve...you know, the fun kind of scared. The second half of the experience, however, was a bit more intense for me psychologically. They ushered us into a pitch-black maze where we were forced to feel along the wooden walls, people searching blindly for a way out behind and in front of us. As soon as we entered the maze, I realized that I must suffer from a bit of claustrophobia. I started to hyperventilate and get light-headed, and had to remind myself that this was supposed to be fun, orienting myself by keeping an eye the whole time on the rafters at the top of the building that had a bit of light on them. No one jumped out at us, and there really wasn't much to see. It was just pitch black and tight spaces for a dreadfully long 15 minutes. Several times we actually ran into dead ends; that really almost sent me over the edge. Then we were ushered down a dark, metal tube slide that shot us out into the open air...finally. Phew! I could taste the fear and adrenaline in the back of my throat as we walked toward the car. I was a bit unnerved at first, but I must admit it was still a lot of fun to be that frightened. It can really take you out of your comfort zone, and highlight your most potent fears and how you might handle yourself in dangerous situations. My fight or flight instincts were on high alert!

Speaking sociologically, the haunted house afforded an interesting perspective on the cultural artifacts of what humans deem scary. For instance, someone dressed up in a hospital gown and a mask was enough to send a domino cascade of screams through the line leading to the haunted house as he walked through trying to scare people. How did these two simple props come to be considered horrific in our society? How did the concept of mummification from ancient Egypt come to be such a dominant presence in grindhouse and horror flicks over the years? It was fun to look around at the costumes at the haunted house and think about their historical adaptations and how fear-inducing they have come to be.

Photo-ween!

Ryan and I usually like to send out a little Halloween photo created especially by Chace+Smith Photography. This year's spooky photo project was especially eerie since we had Ryan's parents' attic at our disposal. I found his mother's old prom dress up there and Ryan put on one of his suits. We powdered our faces white and painted dark circles around our eyes. Then we sat up in an abandoned corner of the attic and scared ourselves silly. Keep in mind when looking at these photos that the flash went off at the very beginning, but the shutter stayed open for a good 30 seconds while we sat in the dark with crazed looks on our faces. So for an hour and a half we basically sat in the dark attic donning strange clothes and facial expressions. In the end it was a real hoot (Ryan's parents got a big kick out of it), and certainly a fun way to scare ourselves a bit. Have a look. Some of these are downright spine-tingling!



(Don't I look like a little girl who's been locked in the attic for 100 years?)


(You never know what strange artifacts you'll find in the attic to enhance your creativity)


(For this one, Ryan used his headlamp to trace the letters during the 30 seconds the shutter stayed open. He turned it off, then turned it back on to cross the T just before the shutter went off.)

All photos by Ryan Smith©


How have you been ghoulishly expressing yourself lately?

18 comments:

Russell A. Spinney said...

Somehow, I imagine most postmortem American couples must look like this. It is good to know that the cosmic form of American Gothic is out "there" transcending this world beyond; scary for others; comforting for us, I'm certain.

Larissa said...

Yes, this is a variation on the American Gothic theme. Glad you caught that. Thanks for reading and hope you're having a lovely time in Germany!

Karl Staib and the pursuit of happiness said...

Hey Larissa,

Great photo's! I'm so glad you keep you blog going so I can stay tuned in to what's going on in your life.

I don't express my self ghoulishly because I hate to be scared. I'm also not a fan of scary movies. Maybe I need to tap into this side of myself and learn from the fear.

Karl

Brechyn said...

that's fucking cool as shit

Larissa said...

Karl,
Thanks for the comment. Perhaps if you intentionally scared yourself more often it might become more "enjoyable" and fun for you. I have trouble not covering my eyes during scary movies (even though I love them). If I force myself to keep my eyes open I get to experience the fear more fully and I think that's a good way to look at life in general.

Larissa said...

Brechyn, thanks for checking out the photos and for posting the first official profanity on my blog. As they say in ol' Franklin Co., "you made it!" See you next week and have a great last few days in Austin!

Benzene Huffmaster said...

Oh my, the "Death" photo really creeps me out. Yikes! And way cool. I started celebrating Halloween last night by trying to stab the moon with a steak knife. It didn't work, so I ate a bag of chocolate instead.

Larissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larissa said...

benzene huffmaster,
ah yes, chocolate is ever important on this holiday. Glad the photos spooked you out! And Happy Halloween!

Tristan said...

these are so cool, is it light outside or dark. it's kinda hard to tell in some pictures. and is it raining? cause that's efing sweet. perfect mood and i love the death picture. i love how you guys seem to be fading away like your ghosts and you really weren't there in the first place! Incredible! :)

Larissa said...

Hey Tristan! Glad you enjoyed the photos. It was dark outside when we took the photos but because of the flash and the street lights from outside, it almost looks like day time. It was raining a bit actually, but the "drops" you see on the window is actually dirt. It's a cool effect though huh? Thanks for checking them out!

Anonymous said...

you guys make great dead people!!

jamie

Larissa said...

Thanks for the comment, Jamie. Glad you enjoyed the photos!
Larissa

brenda said...

Haunting and memorable images. Good story. Glad to see the inspiration is in full tilt boogie. I particularly like Larissa's comments and investigation of costumes/reactions etc.

It reminds me that LOVE>fear.

hugs,
mz. b

brenda said...

Haunting and memorable images. Good story. Glad to see the inspiration is in full tilt boogie. I particularly like Larissa's comments and investigation of costumes/reactions etc.

It reminds me that LOVE>fear.

hugs,
mz. b

Larissa said...

Brenda! So glad you checked out my blog and enjoyed the photos. Yes, inspiration is in boogie mode away up here. Hope all is well with you and thanks again for browsing. Hope you will continue to check in every now and then!
Larissa

Christina said...

Those are great. Very creepy and very halloweeny.. I am glad you guys are doing great.

Ricky said...

ok 1st, those pictures are freakin scary, 2nd....im sort of use to it after having to see your face without the makeup larissa ;) jk! The death one at the end is amazing with the writing. Damn Ryan and you for being so talented! Amazing pictures though!!