A Halloween Win



Dr. Saturnino P. Javier is an interventional cardiologist at Makati Medical Center and Asian Hospital and Medical Center. He is a past president of the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) and past editor of PHA’s Newsbriefs

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For quite a number of years, Halloween has increasingly become a special occasion for the family. Dressing up in costumes and making the rounds of houses inside the village was always an exciting event for my children when they were growing up. There were some occasions in our previous abode in Magallanes Village when we even tried to join the competition for the most creative Halloween decoration in the village. Though we never won, the experience was great nonetheless, especially for young children whose creativity and innovativeness were put to test at a young age.

A Halloween Win

This time, we went the extra mile. We decided to be more involved and took the tradition more to heart. For one, it was becoming more embarrassing if we stayed off it because all the neighbors in the nearby households had Halloween written all over their homes.

So this year, we vowed it would be different. And indeed, it was.

The entire household was dressed – variably as Incredible Hulk, a vampire, Satan, a zombie, among others. My visiting Balikbayan sister Melinda was a fairy tale godmother in blazing and shocking purple. The family driver Nilo was a wolf. Even my 87-year-old mother donned a monster mask. I put on a confused Lucifer-meets-zombie-meets-vampire outfit that made use of 99 cents prosthetic horns from some US Halloween retail outlet stores which my daughter Sofia glued painstakingly on my forehead.

Our garage front was turned into a wedding ceremony for two monsters – the bride was dressed in a flowing, ethereal white satin wedding gown (exclusively designed and executed by our cook Emma) and the groom donned my old used black suit and a colorful Marks and Spencer necktie which I have stayed away from for years, complete with a unique improvised pseudo-carnation on his lapel – a miniature witch on a stick. To complete the bridal look, Emma created a bouquet of pumpkin balls.

A Halloween Win 2Scattered all around them were skulls, bats, a giant menacing rat, a monster sphinx and decapitated monster heads sitting on baskets and trays. The backdrop which my sister created was a panel of freely flowing black sheets adorned with cobwebs, spiders and black balloons.

It was a sight that could scare. It was a sight that merited a second or a third look from joggers passing by – and who instantly took “selfies” with the tableau. It also caused others in their cars to stop momentarily to take a photograph of the scary couple. It became a conversation piece for the drivers and housemates of the nearby households who delightedly converged and huddled in the area for sometime – again for a round of “selfies”.

When it was trick-or-treat time, it got more attention than the candy jars and the “taho” vendor on the side. More photo sessions – as more “selfies” and “groupies” were taken – although scared children did not want to come close. For the most part, the horror wedding tableau got the attention we did not expect and much less hope for.

It is common knowledge that part of the reason for giving gifts during Christmastime is the inherent desire to share our blessings in some small way – with friends, colleagues and household members. I must conclude that part of the fun in this Halloween gig was the realization that our household creation was a remarkable source of scary fun for the others. I would venture that in a small way, we were giving away something. We were giving away the sight to bring about some happy reactions, some smiles, and some scared but fun-filled responses.

Halloween brings about the unique opportunity to elicit fun when one is able to scare, startle, or shock. The fun of succeeding in making someone gasp in fear, or respond with a cringe, is a free ride and a cheap thrill – making it a real Halloween win!

Needless to say, we are gearing up for part two next year.

December 2016 Health and Lifestyle

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