It’s Halloween in Holland. A time when the undead walk the earth looking for candy. As a horror movie fan I always enjoyed this time of year and the basic special effects make-up techniques I was taught at college come in handy when creating costumes for Halloween parties. However, they also resulted in a few awkward moments as I traveled to my first Halloween party in Holland.
I had decided to go to the party as a zombie and spent an hour in front of the mirror molding morticians wax and latex into mutilated burnt flesh on the right side of my face (a little extreme I know). With the addition of fake blood and a dirty boiler suit I almost looked like a bootleg version of Freddy Kruger. Close enough in appearance to be mistaken for the well known movie villain but different enough to avoid copy right infringement. I could have been Fred Crewger, the killer from A Nightmare on Elton Street.
Since I knew it would take a while to get ready I decided to prepare at home and travel on the train to the party. It was not until later that I found out how much of a mistake this was. I thought people in their costumes traveling to parties would be a common sight but it turned out I was wrong. Halloween is not a very well known holiday in Holland. Hardly anyone celebrates Halloween in Holland (however that has changed in recent years). This is especially true amongst the older generation who must have been more then a little surprised to see a zombie buying alcohol at the local super market for a party. I probably looked like an off duty horror movie killer taking a break from murdering lost teenagers in the woods.
As I browsed the shelves for booze I heard a small scream and turned to see one of the regular checkout girls running towards me with a look of horror and concern on her face. She frantically asked me what had happened as I tried to calm her down and explain it was not real. I could have used the opportunity to ask for compensation money for extreme freezer burn from the frozen foods section.
The look on her face was similar to what I saw later on the faces of my fellow train passengers during the two hour journey to Rotterdam. However, they expressed a lot more horror and a lot less concern (unless you count concern for their own safety). As each of them boarded the train they would look at my face with worry before looking at my hands, going wide eyed and moving very quickly to another part of the train. In retrospect covering my hands with fake blood might have been a bad idea as well.
I wanted to explain to all of them that I was going to a party but at the same time I did not want them to run off screaming before I had time to elaborate that I meant a Halloween party and not some kind of serial killer reunion party. I decided to sit quietly and avoid eye contact which probably made me look like a very shy serial killer.
Eventually I arrived at the party and was no longer out of place amongst the vampires, zombies, witches and other party goers enjoying Halloween in Holland. Everyone was very surprised that I had traveled so far in my costume. It made an amusing story during the consumption of alcohol.
The next morning I discovered that pulling latex off the face is even less pleasant with a hang over and fake blood dyes skin orange. I only got a few strange looks on my return journey due to the orange rash like marks covering my hands and face. Luckily there was nothing in the newspapers about a shy serial killer timidly stalking people on the train to Rotterdam during Halloween in Holland.
Next time I think I’ll go as a ghost under a sheet or a Ghostbuster.