Drat! Don't know why insert image isn't working--will try again later.

Top: Ras Al Ghul

Third Row: Deathstroke, Mad Hatter, Two-Face, Assassin henchman, Joker

Second Row:Penguin, Asylum Pharmacist, Inque, Asylum Matron, Catwoman, Killer Croc, Generic Henchman, Scarecrow

Front Row:King Snake, Asylum Director, Asylum Nurse, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Asylum Orderly One, Asylum Orderly Two

2014 Cast Picture
This year the theme was “Arkham Asylum,” based on the “Batman” comic and TV series of the same name. This meant that most of the characters would be Batman villains of the crazier sort. I was prepared for this, having saved the “Two-Face” costume I had had made up years ago when we did the “Supervillains’ Club”. After some research, Georgie decided to do Jervis Tetch, a.k.a. “The Mad Hatter.” She had most of what was needed in her closet: we just ordered an appropriate hat, and she was ready to go.

I used a new set of Ben Nye gel effects makeup to do Harvey Dent’s facial scarring. The clear and flesh colored gels worked well and were pretty convincing as burn scars. The red was disappointing: it was thinner than expected and came out a bright red rather than the scabby color shown on the examples, but I had to go with it. Overall, the effect was not bad.
We had a very good “Joker”: he had an excellent costume and characterization. As a new member to the ensemble, he worked impressively hard to “host” the Asylum portion of the event for most of the afternoon.

The set up was that the Asylum was open for tours. The Director, “Dr. Generic,” (Todd Voros) gave an instructional/safety lecture to the people waiting in line. However, once the people entered, they found Joker and other putative inmates in charge, and were required to choose which of three doors to open to release another. Various members of the cast took turns behind the doors, being menacing in their own ways when let loose, but always ending up with candy bars being handed out. (It was cute that some of the kids had to be persuaded to take them, having been warned outside not to accept anything from the inmates.)
I started out working the sidewalk, flipping Two-Face’s two-headed coin to predict if people would get candy from the Joker or not. (Good face: “Eh, maybe so.” Bad face: “Doesn’t look good--.”)

The second half of the afternoon, I changed places with “Killer Croc”, who went out to prowl the sidewalk and I lurked behind Door number Two or Three. When my door was opened, I would say, “Oooh, visitors! I wonder if I like them?” (Flip coin) Good face: “I like you! Have some candy!” (gives candy bars) Bad face: “I don’t like you! Here’s something BAD for you!” (candy bars--).

The Trick Or Treaters seemed to have a good time, and so did we. The only “Batman” costumes that showed up were on really little kids, so we didn’t give them any extra hassle that we might have to a teen-age Batman. There was a large variety of costumes this year, with “Ninja Turtles” being popular. Given the popularity of “Elsa” costumes (from the movie “Frozen”) I was initially surprised how few came by, but then realized that the great majority of our visitors are African-American, and I can imagine that the pale blonde queen probably didn’t have great penetration in that market--.

Over eight hundred candy bars were given out.
Some of you may still care to see the cast picture from the Lytheria Wizard of Oz production:

2013 OZ Cast Picture

Rear: Emerald Citizens 1 & 2, Lord Mayor of the Emerald City
Row Six: Emerald Citizens 3, 4, 5, 6
Row Five: Emerald Citizen 7, Wizard, Flying Monkey, Patchwork Girl
Row Four: Gatekeeper, Emerald Citizen 8
Row Three: Wicked Witch, Emerald Citizen 9
Row Two: Glinda, Scarecrow
Front: Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, Toto
We had a very pleasant Halloween holiday, which started Friday night with "The Masque of the Red Death." That made it a three-costume Halloween, since Georgie and I dressed "Steampunk" for that occasion, which was appreciated by the theatre and cafe staff. We got a number of compliments on our outfits.

Saturday, we hosted the October MilwAPA collation during the afternoon, which was a very pleasant affair. We had decorated the house by bringing out a selection of our "Spooky Town" ceramic buildings, and a few more than two dozen of my 12" scale monster and monster-hunter figures (including "Darkness" from the movie "Legend", who's actually two feet tall in 12" scale--.)

Saturday night was the Lytheria Halloween party. I had bought a "Dr. Horrible" style lab gown (properly called a "Howie coat") last fall but hadn't worn it anywhere. Georgie had bought me some nice new goggles, so I decided to combine the two, add a "utility belt," zap gun, boots and gloves, and went as "Dr. Awful." Georgie has a very pretty Moresca "gypsy" outfit she normally only wears to the Bristol Ren Faire, and decided to wear that. This was one of the smaller Lytheria parties, but we had a very nice time as always.

The theme for Lytheria trick or treat Sunday afternoon was "Pirates of Barataria," and Lee had particularly asked me to do Jean Lafitte. How things worked out was that I, backed up with a few henchmen, such as Steve Hanchar, acted as gatekeeper on the stairs to the porch. I would stop a group and subject them to the following (you must assume that I am speaking in an OUTRAGEOUS French accent, largely modeled on John Cleese as "the French Taunter" from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail):

Me: Greetings! I am Captain Jean Lafitte, King of the Pirates of Barataria! Have you come to join our pirate band?

Them: uh--yes?

Me: Excellent! Can you play any pirate music?

Them: uh--no?

Me: Too bad, you can't be part of the pirate band, then. You might pass for crew, though. I'll ask some questions. What's your Pirate Name?

(Most of course have given absoutely no thought to a pirate name, so either came up with their own name, or the name of our costume, which we made more or less fun of depending.)

Me: "Princess? That's not very scary! 'A Pirate ship appears on the horizon. Oh, no, it's the Dread Pirate PRINCESS! We're DOOMED!" --I think it needs work!"

(On the other hand, we had to agree that Dread Pirate Batman had potential, and "Skullface" was scary enough--.)

Me: Let me ask some more questions. What's the difference between a binnacle and a barnacle?

(This question stymied 100% of them. Half a dozen or so were able to answer that a barnacle was some sort of sea creature or was found on the bottom of the ship. We took pity on some of the later arrivals and occaisionally asked, "What's the difference between fore and aft? or "Port and starboard?" but might just as well have asked "binnacle/barnacle." The average Milwaukee trick-or-treater just isn't nautically inclined.)

Them: I don't know--

Me: Do you poop on the poop deck, or not?

Them: (laughter) Not!

Me: Good answer! You pass. Go up and see the Pirate Parrot, he'll give you something. (Aside, as they go up stairs: "Probably a bite on the nose, but that's parrots for you!" or "Probably a disease, but that's piracy for you!")

There were a half-dozen or so unfortunates who answered "Yes" to the poopdeck question. They got:

"Bzzt! You flunk! You are rated un-able seaman, and get to swab the poopdeck! See the parrot--."

On the porch, Lee had built a ship's stern as counter, bearing the name "Petit Milan," after one of Lafitte's ships. Todd Voros and Lily Sullivan took turns manipulating a parrot puppet that was persuaded to share its "treasure." Terresa Roden and others helped hand out the candy, and Georgie and other members of the crew handled traffic control. Lee Schneider as Sir Henry Morgan supervised all.

The afternoon was clear but chilly. It started slowly, but in the end, we gave out more than 900 candy bars. Fun was had--at least by us. The kids seemed to enjoy it, too.

Me as Captain Lafitte:

And my scurvy but loyal crew:

Following the success of the recent Robert Downey "Sherlock Holmes" film (sequel forthcoming next month)it was decided that "Baker Street" would be the theme for this year's "Trick or Treat" production.

Lee Schneider did his usual awe-inspiring job building and decorating the set, which represented Holmes and Watson's sitting room at 221B, with fireplace, bookshelves, and a really nifty chemical bench (kudos to Lytheria resident Dave Martin, who researched period chemical labels) to which I contributed my brass microscope.

Lee asked Dr. Chuck Tritt to play Sherlock, and Bob Seidl to do Watson. Me, he asked to reprise my theatrical role of Professor Moriarty, and Georgie to do Irene Adler. We also had Inspectors Lestrade and Gregson, Thaddeus Sholto (The Sign of the Four), Violet Hunter (Adventure of the Copper Beeches, two Mrs. Hudsons (who worked in shifts answering Holmes' door), and assorted thugs,
street urchins, and Londoners.

The main routine was that Mrs. Hudson would admit a group of trick-or-treaters, Holmes, Watson and I would introduce ourselves, and if we had time would interview them about what brought them there, and whether they were interested in joining the Baker Street Irregulars or Moriarty's gang (a short, exciting life of crime, as I put it). most voted to go with Holmes, but either way, everyone got a candy bar, a tour of the lab bench given by one of the other players (Lestrad, Adler and Sholto all got in on that act) and the chance to find their way out via the secret door in Holmes' coat closet (a non-canonical addition of ours--).

We had a good time, and the trick-or-treaters seemed to as well.

Baker Street Cast: Top row: Jack the Ripper, Moriarty Gang Thug
Second Row: Navvy, Violet Hunter, Victorian Woman 1, Inspector Gregson, Baker Street Irregular, Victorian Lady 2.
Third Row: Thaddeus Sholto, Victorian Lady 3, Mrs. Hudson 1, Cook.
Fourth Row: Dr. Watson, Irene Adler (largely hidden, I'll post a better picture when I can get one-), Mrs. Hudson 2.
Fifth Row: Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Inspector Lestrad, Victorian Young Lady.
Front: Victorian Girl
Halloween festivities continued on Saturday the 29th, with the monthly Milwapa collation held at our house. Physical turnout was small, due to Icon that weekend, colds, and printer failures, but we were pleased to have long-time Illinois fans Dick Smith and Leah Zeldes Smith appear. It happens that Dick's grandfather owns a home in Wauwatosa that Dick and Leah will be living in and working on for a while, dividing time between here and Illinois.

Saturday evening was the annual Lytheria Halloween party. I had been enviously eying the expensive "Professor Snape" costumes in the Museum Replicas catalog, when it occurred to me that I actually HAD parts that could be made to do Snape. I had a black wig, originally purchased to do "Guy Fawkes"--many years ago, pre-"V", although I used it for that costume also--. Black academic robe, check. Black nehru jacket, purchased to do "PsiCorps". White regency shirt, gives that long cuffs effect we see on Snape. Black trousers and elastic-sided boots, check. I also have my very own wand in a fancy serpentine grained wood that I bought from "Ironmonger Jim" yea many years ago, long before Harry Potter was even a gleam in Rowling's eye, and good to go. People at the party thought the "transformation was remarkable," and I thought the effect pretty good, although I probably ought not to have washed the wig--.

Georgie did not have a particular character in mind, so just went as her fabulous self in fancy dress, pulling out a lovely green and silver (Slytherin!) gown that hadn't been out of the closet in a while. She looked great, as you may judge from the picture below.

Professor Snape and friend at Lytheria Halloween, 2011.

Sixth row: Mongol woman 1, geisha, mongol man, mongol woman 2, sage, ninja.
Fifth row: Old man of the mountain, duel master 1, Monkey junior
Fourth row: Bride with white hair, Dragon Lady, geisha 2, duel master 2, geisha 3
Third row: Palace guard, pokemon kid, Vampire Hunter D
Second row: Kitsune 1, Cheng Ho, Empress Wu, palace guard 2
First row: Bruce Lee, kitsune 2, gaijin child, Monkey King, oni

Photo by David Martin for Lytheria Facebook page.
We had a very good time this Halloween holiday, beginning with the annual Lytheria party Saturday night. We went in costume as we always do, myself in pretty standard Victorian gentleman garb, but with makeup that distinctly divided my face into two halves. Inspired by the “Jekyll and Hyde” musical we saw in the spring, my right side was my “normal” self, while the “sinister” side was markedly darker skinned, hairier, and lined with the marks of dissipation and bad character--. I did some small “schtick” with this, growling out of the left side of my mouth as “Hyde” when approached on the left, and speaking pleasantly as “Jeykll” from the right. People were amused by this and thought the execution clever.

Georgie wore an elegant cream-and-light-gold Regency dress, accessorized with a lady’s gloves, jewels, and a katana. She came as “Lady Catherine DeBurgh,” who, in the parody novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is not only a formidable lady of society, but also a notable slayer of “dreadfuls,” as zombies are known in the book. This outfit got a lot of favorable comment as well, and Mike VandeBunt, who was wearing a zombie-themed t-shirt, obligingly posed for some “action” photos. There were other costumed couples as well, notably Chuck Tritt and Julieann Hunter, as “The Green Hornet and Kato,” and Bob and Judy Seidl in Victorian outfits, crowned by Judy’s very elegant newly decorated hat.

Sunday afternoon was the trick-or-treat production, which this year was “Mythic Asia.” Lee had built the porch set representing the Imperial Palace of China on one side, and a Japanese tea house on the other. I’d decided more than a year ago I wanted to do the “Monkey King” from the Chinese classic “Journey to the West,” and Lee had recruited Georgie to be the “Empress of China”. We both put in quite a bit of work on our costumes, Georgie having made (with sewing help from Teresa Roden) an undergown for the silk robe she would wear, and doing up a black wig with a headdress borrowed from another costume.

Mine was one of the more elaborate make-ups I have done in a long time. I got a “Woochie” brand latex ape face prosthetic and monkey ears off the web—not the best or most expensive available, but they looked good for one use. I spent much of Saturday afternoon making up hairpieces out of crepe hair to go around the edges of the face piece and comb back over my own hair, ending up with a very “Planet of the Apes” look. Applying the makeup on Sunday, I had to start by putting brown color around my eyes and black on my nose so it wouldn’t show through the nostrils in the mask. Then, I glued the face piece and ears on, and then applied the hairpieces I had made, and had Georgie help me trim and comb the hair. A heavy application of spray kept it in place. My costume was a dark red “noble jacket” with gold dragon trim, over black pantaloons and tabi-style construction boots, which also had that “Planet of the Apes” reference. Outfitted with some black gloves, which both hid my hands and kept them warm, and a plastic and rubber “practice” staff for safe sparring, I was pretty well set. Mike Davis had a number of straw “coolie” hats, and I gleefully added one as the perfect topper to the costume.

We also had a number of other Asian characters in attendance: Todd Voros as the Lord Admiral of China Zheng He/Cheng Ho; Lee Schneider and Gary Cone as palace guards; Joleen Stiles as “The Bride with White Hair”; Kelly Lowrey and Laura Thompson-Mason as characters from the “Duel Masters” anime; Jackie Hanchar and Antonia Newmark as kitsune; Jennifer Newmark as “Vampire Hunter D”; Julieann Hunter, Teresa Roden and Sari Stiles as geisha/tea house attendants; Mike Davis as a ninja; and Steve Hanchar as an Oni demon. There were also Mongol Hordesmen Tim Haas, Cynthia Webber, and Leah Fisher roaming about.

As Empress Wu, Georgie was enthroned on the porch and granted ‘audiences’ to the ‘fascinating barbarians’ who were shown in to see her. The Empress granted gifts of candy bars to the visitors and they were shown out through the tea house.
As Monkey King (Sun Wukong), I worked the sidewalk, greeting and directing the trick-or-treaters, and haranguing them about the exploits of Monkey King (“Able to leap 33,000 miles in a single bound!”) between sparring with the Oni.

Everyone attending seemed to have a good time, and we got some overdue recognition from the local press who seems to have discovered every other “Halloween house” in town before finding us (purely by accident) this year. After all, we’ve only been doing this for thirty years--. The short story that ran on Channel 12 Halloween night can be seen here:


Crew and Company of Her Majesties' Airship Albatross: First Row Kneeling: Second Mate Jack Flynn (Henry Osier), Chief Gasfitter's Mate (Gary Cone); Able Airman (Steve Hanchar). Center Row Standing: Sra Julie Ann (Julie Ann Hunter), Fra Pavel (Todd Voros), Captain Vanderdecken (Gregory Rihn), Gyptian Woman (Debbie Schamber); Jordan College Science Specialist (Georgie Schnobrich). Rear Row: Serafina Pekkala (Joleen Stiles), Lee Scoresby (Lee Schneider); Ma Costa (Jennifer Newmark), Iorek Brynisson (Mike Davis); John Faa (Tim Haas).

More pictures can be seen at:

Trick-or-Treat for the City of Milwaukee was held on Sunday afternoon, October 26th, and so, then was the annual Lytheria Trick-or-Treat production. This year, the theme was "The Golden Compass," and Lee Schneider and the other denizens of Lytheria transformed the front porch into the flight deck and salon of the Airship "Albatross," soon to bear the Jordan College Polar Expedition into the Arctic regions.

On the sidewalk, representatives of the Magisterium (Todd Voros and Julie Ann Hunter) cast a suspicious eye over people queueing up to board the vessel, looking for contraband aleitheometers. Meanwhile, the uniformed crew (Henry Osier, Steve Hanchar, and Gary Cone) gave the safety lecture. ("In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, hold your breath until we fix the problem. Please keep sharp objects away from the gasbags!")

Once ushered aboard by the Jordan College Science Specialist (Georgie Schnobrich), prospective crew members got a welcoming harangue from "Captain Vanderdecken" (me): "Welcome aboard the "Albatross." On this expedition to the polar regions, we expect to earn great fame, find great fortune, and endure great likeihood of slow, painful death!"

Once signed on, the new crew drew their chocolate pay from the First Mate "Iorek Byrnisson." Mike Davis popped out from behind a curtain in his custom-made polar bear suit to many gasps--both of delight and dismay--. He was assisted in crowd control by "Ma Costa" (Jennifer Newmark), Therese Roden as another Gyptian woman, Lee Schneider as "Lee Scoresby," and Tim Haas as "John Faa." Debbie Schamber as another Gyptian kept Iorek supplied with candy bars from the ship's stores. Joleen Stiles appeared as Serafina Pekkala, and we had a brief cameo by Antonia Newmark as Lyra Bellaqua.

Weather was bright but blustery, and dire weather forecasts may have held down the number of Trick-or-Treaters, as we gave out something more than 800 candy bars, down almost 200 from last year. On the other hand, we did stop traffic! There was absolute gridlock at the corner of Park and Shepherd for several minutes during the afternoon.

Fun was had by all: I tend to get a bit silly(er) with my spiels sometimes, and after about the second time I had slipped up and referred to the "Albatross" as a "starship", I came up with this:

"These are the voyages of the Airship "Enterprise":
It's five-month mission: To seek out new ice, and new condensation;
To boldly go where no bear has gone before!"

--which prompted Lee Schneider/Scoresby to remark: "I'll have what he's drinking."

Hot chocolate, anyone?
Can you tell I've figured out how to add pictures? Here's one from October 28th's Trick or Treat production.

That's Georgie, center, as Jadis the White Witch, putative Queen of Narnia; Tim Haas, right, as General Otmin; and me, left, as Ginarrbrik.
Since actual Halloween was mid-week, Lee Schneider set the annual Lytheria Halloween party for November 3rd. The party was well attended and Lee laid out the usual feast and a good time was had by all. There was rather a confluence of Steampunk/Victorian era costumes.

Here's me as "Captain Shakespeare" from the "Stardust" movie (reviewed in my journal, below). Surprisingly, very few of the people present had actually seen this excellent movie, so did not immediately "get it."

Other personages behind the cut:

Read more... )
Sunday the 28th was City of Milwaukee Trick or Treat, and, as usual, we were assisting Lee Schneider and the Lytheria crew for their presentation. For those who may be new to this concept, "Lytheria" is Lee's large Steamboat Gothic house on Milwaukee's near-lake East Side, which he runs as a communal rooming house. Each year, the voluminous porch is decorated with a "set" in which we make the beggars interact for their candy. (Worth it, since the house chips together and gives out full-size candy bars--.) This year, the theme was "Narnia." The porch was largely enclosed with panels that had a winter pine forest theme from the outside. Down on the sidewalk, Mike Davis was playing Mr. Tumnus, aided by Neil Haas and Joleen Stiles as assistant fauns. Lee and Steve Hanchar as Palace Guards did crowd control. The porch was divided ito two halves: The White Witch's Palace to the left, and the Beaver Dam to the right. Visitors were chivvied into the presence of Queen Jadis by her evil dwarf assistant, Ginarrbrik. (Me. Yes, I know I'm not a dwarf. However, I spend most of the afternoon crouching on a low stool at the foot of Jadis' elevated thone, so the illusion kind of worked.) Georgie, as the White Witch, was regal in her flowing white gown, fur wrap, pale makeup, snarly blonde wig, and icicle crown. She was backed up by Tim Haas as "General Otmin," her minotaur henchman. Tim's was THE costume of the day, made up of a full black fur bodysuit and armor made by Char Haas, and a truly impressive bull headpiece made by our prostetics expert, Mike Davis. He wielded an ominous axe and was definitely the most scary figure in the group.

Georgie/Jadis would greet the newcomers and offer them the opportunity to join her realm of eternal ice. ("Milwaukee in January forever! Wouldn't that be nice?") Most sensibly declined, at which time we turned them off, and sent them over to see what the Beavers had to offer them. The occasional sporting ones that agreed to enlist were offered a piece of Turkish Delight and then sent on a mission to despoil the Beavers of their chocolate hoard.

The right side of the porch was the "Beaver Dam," actually a puppet stage. Todd Voros and Julie Ann Hunter interacted with the kids using beaver hand puppets, congratulated the people on their escape from the wicked queen, and furnished them with chocolate for their journey. Exit from the porch was through the "Wardrobe," complete with hanging coats, down the side stairs. A large stuffed lion could be seen lurking in the bushes--.

A good time was had by all and our candy bar count indicated we had processed as many as one THOUSAND trick-or-treaters in three hours. I can believe it, since we were going steadily with people waiting for us to open, and continuing until twenty minutes after the four PM end time.
Milwaukee trick-or-treat falls on Sunday afternoon, so that is when the great Lytheria trick-or-treat production goes on. This year, the theme was "Mount Olympus" and we had a good turnout of Gods and Goddesses to make the kids work for their candy. We had Poseidon and Pan working the sidewalk, Hades and Charon controlling traffic, Haephestus and Urania entertaining the line waiting to be admitted to the Throne Room, and Athena and Artemis acting as gatekeepers there. Zeus and Hera entertained the visitor's petitions, and the Oracle of Delphi pronounced futures on the way out. The sorceress Circe showed up fashionably late and charmed the guests.

While a neat idea and resulted in some neat costumes, we had to give some thought to our "shtick." We didn't feel we could very well demand that the kids pay us homage or worship us. (Although one or two did bow to us. I gave a candy bar to one little boy who responded, "Thank you, God." I suppose there are worse things than thinking of God as a nice man who gives you candy.) (On the other hand, Lee Schneider ("Hades") reported asking one party, "Don't you know who lives on Mount Olympus?" and being answered "Santa Claus?")

I, as Zeus, and Therese Roden as Hera, were fitted up with microphones hooked to amps with some SERIOUS subwoofers under the porch that actually caused the floor to vibrate. The effects lights were also hooked into the system, so that when I boomed out, "I am ZEUS, the Great and Terrible!" lights flashed and thunder rolled. (None of the kids seemed to get the "great and terrible" joke--sigh.)

Once the visitors were before our thrones, we demanded why they had sought us out. A remarkable number were tongue-tied, and needed prompting to get out that they wanted candy, which Hera and I dispensed from a chest between our thrones.

Pictures can be seen at:

The weekend of October 28-29 was a busy one for us as it usually is. Unfortunately, due to some illnesses and departures for other jobs at the Library, Georgie had to work through a lot of it this year.

The weekend started off with Milwapa collation at our house. I had tastefully decorated the downstairs with my (increasingly) extensive collection of 12" monster action figures. New this year were the "Barnabas Collins", Christopher Lee as "Dracula", "Dr. Phibes," and "Willie Wonka." "Willie Wonka" you say? Well--I think that when you take the figure of the vaguely sinister Depp in the Edwardian outfit and replace the candy cane with a long knife and a doctor's bag, he makes a good Jack the Ripper--.
We also had out some of our ceramic Halloween houses and the Jack-O-Lanterns of the season. Georgie always does the traditional Schnobrich pattern: Round eyes, traingle nose, grinning mouth with one square tooth. I try to do a different monster each year, and managed a creditable "gargoyle" pumpkin.

Once the collation was well underway, I fired up the DVD player and inflicted a slide show of our Vienna trip on the helpless captives (the horror!). They retaliated by producing Wierd Al Yankovick's new DVD/CD which was played. Three words:"Weasel Stomping Day". This cheerful and totally non-PC video is funny and gross in that bad-little-boy way Weird Al can carry off.

In the evening, Georgie and I went to the annual Lytheria Halloween party. I went as "V" from "V for Vendetta" and made a good entrance declaiming "Remember, remember the fifth of November!" (Scary thing, all I needed for this costume was the mask. Years ago, a Halloween party had actually fallen on Nov. 5, so I went as Guy Fawkes and still had the hat and wig. The boots were from my Ren Faire garb, and doesn't everyone have a long black cloak?) I wore the mask most of the night, and was surprised at how many of the other guests found it unsettling--.

Georgie, having had one of those ideas that would not go away, went as "Grendel's (Soccer) Mom." She made crude-looking skin shoes, and covered a simple dress with scraps of hide and fur, draping it with a gray-green shawl reminicent of lake weeds. The killer, of course, was her spiel: "Hi, I'm Grendel's mom. Grendel's a good boy. I think the anger management classes are working for him. Little Rolf's your boy isn't he? How's he doing? I'm glad the scazrring won't be too bad--." To that effect, delivered in that sincere, parent-teacher conference voice--. I must get her to write it down so I can post it. I didn't take pictures at the party, but pictures were taken, so I will post or link to some when I get them.
As usual, this year, our Halloween Celebrations centered around Lytheria, the east-side mansion owned by our friend Lee Schneider, and inhabited by a changing cooperative household of fans and students. Saturday night was the open-house Halloween party, which we attended in costume. Our friend, Lisa Mason, had suggested that "Scary Godmother" a cartoon character by writer and artist Jill Thompson would make a good costume for Georgie. (See Wikipedia entry on SG here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scary_Godmother ) After some time of finding the right parts the costume made its debut at the party, with me going as her skeleton lodger, Mr. Pettibone. Both costumes were well recieved, and a good time was had.

The following afternoon was the Trick-or-Treat production. We had decided that this was the year if any to do "Star Wars", never having done it, and set the theme as "Coruscant Job Fair" with recruiting tables for both Jedi and Sith, Imperial Armed Forces (motto: "The Clone Army Builds Men!"), droid repair school, and the Mos Eisley Musicians Guild. I came as Count Dooku, but turned the Sith table over to my master, Emperor Plapatine (Kev Gallimore) and spent most of the afternoon working the stairs and sidewalks when we had a line, which was most of the time. Georgie came as female Jedi Bariss Ofee, Henry Osier was the Imperial recruiter, Todd Voros the droid repair tech, Janice Hanchar the Cantina performer, Lee Schneider and Gary Cone as Security, Julie Ann Hunter as the Jawa, Barisha Lettermann as Amidala, and Chuck Tritt, Steve Hanchar, Jolene Stiles and Mike Davis (aka "Raxus") as bounty hunters/mercenaries. Perhaps due to the good weather, we had our largest turnout ever, giving away ALL the candy we had on hand except for some emergency reserves, meaning in excess of 600 visitors, mostly not counting parents. The schtick was that the kids had to choose whom to sign up with, at which time they got a chit to hand in for a "hiring bonus" from the cashier (Therese Roden).

As usual, fun was had. The best moment was when we saw a Yoda costume coming. The reaction of myself, Chuck, and Mike was "Yoda! Let's get him!" Taking charge as my "Count Dooku" personality, I declared "He's mine!" I went to the sidewalk, took a guard position with my (toy plastic) lightsaber, and gave my challenge: "OK, you shrivelled green runt, time for a rematch!" "Yoda" was taken aback for a bit, then gamely deployed his lightsaber to the cheers of the onlookers and moved in for the attack. We had a brief "duel" which ended when I let Yoda touch me on the leg. I then escorted the victor to up to claim his candy.

OK, let's see if this works: The Halloween 2005 folder should be publicly viewable at:


Hmm. Forgot to upload the photos to this folder. Check back later!
Lytheria is the name of the fannishly-well known house on Milwaukee's east side that is home to Lee Schneider and the ever-changing band of communards that have taken part in the great experiment as to whether or not a fannish household can long endure. This April marked the 25th anniversary of Lytheria, and a long-expected party was called for. Lee invited all the former residents he could find (that weren't banned--not everyone has left under happy circumstances) as well as friends and familiars. I fall into the latter category, having hung out there ever since I moved to Milwaukee twenty-four years ago. By this time, I've probably spent as much cumulative time there as some people who have paid rent. Of course Georgie has been a regular visitor too, and felt called upon to exercise her cake artistry in the cause, producing a spectacular three-dimensional replica of the house in four layers of cake, finished off with cardboard porches and model railroad architectural details. Several people who saw it did not realize it was a cake at first.

The doors opened at noon for some of the out-of town guests. I dropped off Georgie and the cake there about 5PM on my way to my last performance of "Hound," and came directly back from the theatre after the show. As i expected, the cake had not been cut, and wasn't actually disassembled until after midnight when a mob demaned it. The cake was delicious as well (as ususal).

It was very good to see some of the old-timers, such as Peter Thomas and Ingrid Stark (aka Ingrid the Crafty), but also sad to see how many were kept away by distance, by life, or at least in one case, by death. Twenty-five years is a long time and a lot can happen in it.

It was a good party and a worthy commemoration.
The theme for this year's Trick or Treat production was "Far, Far Away," from "Shreck 2". After a couple of intensive costume and set years, we thought that this one would be easy and fun. As it turned out, we had some really remarkable reproductions and good effects. Lee really can't do anything simple and paneled in the front porch with white faux brick to suggest the palace facade, complete with flickering sconces and the Fairy Godmother's potion cabinet, with bottles that glowed magically under black light, and which also served as the cache of candy bars.

The cast included:

Jennifer "Stormsinger" Newmark as Princess Fiona (one of our best likenesses, with a very accurate wig, dress, and green makeup);
Paul Sullivan as Shreck, aided by a decent mask;
Georgie Schnobrich as Queen Lillian, very elegant in a gown looted from and American Players Theater costume sale;
Therese Roden as the Fairy Godmother. Her hair sprayed silver and swept up, several people said the resemblance was "frightening."
Mike Davis as the Big Bad Wolf and Steve Hanchar as a clueless woodcutter did a lot of good comic schtick.

We also had help from: Letha Welch as "Malificent," Jackie Hanchar as "Sleeping Beauty", Todd Voros as Captain Hook, Bill Bodden as "The Magic Mirror," and Tracy Benton as a court lady, whose role evolved into that of Keeper of the Secret Door.

Lee Schneider himself was the Palace Guard/Gatekeeper and used his spear to good effect in traffic control.

Me? Oh, I decided to challenge myself and take on the role of Doris, the Ugly Stepsister, bartender at the Poison Apple Inn (voiced in the movie by larry King--). A bit of hunting on eBay found me a close dress in my size, very good wig with a braided front in the stle shown in the movie, and Georgie found me a Shreck picture book for makeup reference. Of course I had to shave off my mustache--the first time in twenty five years--but the effect was worth it.
(There's a good image of "Doris" on the movie website:http://www.shrek2.com/
It's of course part of the Flash presentation, so I can't link to it directly, but the curious may enter the site, choose "About the Movie," "Meet the Characters." The Ugly Stepsister is right after Prince Charming (scroll down on the thumbnail bar at the right hand side.)That'll give you an idea.
Aha, a simpler link to a smaller pic here:
If we get useable photos I'll see some are posted.)

The schtick at these is pretty much improvised on the spot: here's roughly how it worked out this time: kids ran the gauntlet of the Wolf and Woodcutter out on the sidewalk, and got passed by the Guard. Going up stairs to the house, males got mashed on by the Ugly Stepsister (looking for a date to the ball) and females got comments about hair and outfit. They were snored at by Sleeping Beauty and greeted by Queen Lillian, who greeted them with more or less grace depending if they were pretty costumes ("bride's side") or ugly costumes/no costumes ("groom's side/commoners"). They were then passed on to the tender mercies of the Fairy Godmother, who granted their wishes by giving them candy. Then Captain Hook ushered them to the Magic Mirror, who gave them the 'password' which got them out the secret/side exit controlled by the Doorkeeper. (Lee added side stairs to improve traffic flow a number of years ago.) Yes, we give away full-size candy bars, but we make them work for it!
We got over to Lytheria for the annual big Halloween party about 8:00PM. it is a costume optional party, but we always have some: this year I went as "Van Helsing," from the movie of that name, and Georgie went as Anna Valerious. I was able to pick up long leather coat, brimmed hat, gloves, boots, and suitable pants from my own wardrobe--. I bought a decent leather vest and a roll-neck sweater that was a perfect match for the one worn by Hugh Jackman in the film, but it was too hot for indoor wear, so I substituted a plain gray shirt. Georgie got lots of complements on her leather corset and boots, and embroidered blouse and jacket, which were referential to the movie character, but in her colors.

As usual, Lee and the Lytherians (good name for a rock band--)set out a feast and had a full program of movies--including "Van Helsing" and "Hellboy." There were a few more costumes this year than some, including Henry Welch as a "hula girl" and Chuck Tritt as "Alladin," among others. We had a good time, but folded up about 11PM due to work and APA party earlier in the day.



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