At first consideration, most holidays are about art only as much as the construction paper craft projects we made in elementary school. The Thanksgiving turkeys, with all different colored tail feathers with the things we were thankful for written out; the painstaking Valentine’s Day cards we made for each and every classmate, some expressing a little more affection than others. And, of course, the orange pumpkins and black bats for Halloween. Maybe we even got the chance to draw vampires and gablins if we had an especially artsy teacher.
But! Halloween is all about art in so many other ways. Since it’s less than a week away, it’s time to get in the swing of things in a serious way. There’s the obvious choice of pumpkin carving. Novice or pro, there’s tons of options to exert your creative spirit here. I myself just gave it a go for the first time, and even though I might have been unplesantly competitive, I thought it was pretty awesome. (and word to the wise, roasted pumpkin seeds are kind of the best snack known to the universe). If having lots of messy squash with sharp knives hanging out in the dorms doesn’t sound like the best idea, painting is a fallback.
Then there’s the historic connection of Halloween with the arts: The Day of the Dead/El Dia de los Muertos. A Mexican tradition, this holiday celebrates the memory of family and friends who have died. Rather than being depressing or solumn, the day is a celebration, full of bright colors, visual art, and food. This year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is even having a Day of the Dead Festival on the 31st, with all day art-making and academic activities.
Sometimes, we also forget that movies are art, too! So, horror film fest is an obvious choice. It’s ripe for a theme-night: zombie, teen slashers that are so bad they’re good, the obvious Halloween saga marathon, or Hitchcockian thrillers. Then, maybe consider hitting the infamous NYC Halloween Parade. If that isn’t just one giant street festival of visual, performance, and public art, I don’t know what is.
Last, but definitely not least: costumes! The best thing to get creative with. You can hit a costume store and just find an all-in-one bag that appeals to you. Or, you can get those creative juices flowing and come up with something that’s pure genius. I, for one, take Halloween extremely seriously- no store bought last-minute choices for me. If you want to check out my costume, see the CUarts + Ricky’s Costume Contest. And enter! Just take a picture of yourself in costume before 11/1, and upload it to our flickr page. The Columbia community votes, and awesome prizes are to be had. I’d love some real competition…
Oh, and the jack-o-lantern you see here? My first attempt! Bonus points if you can guess the cartoon character subject I had in mind.