October 24th, 2002

duke-juggle

Halloween Decorations

My company is very halloween-obsessed. It all started 3 years ago, when they decided to have a department decorating contest. We are a smallish company, with about 100 employees. Each department decorated their office area for halloween, and then judges came through and selected the winning department.

The IS department is where I work, and we went completely overboard with it. For the week before the contest, everybody was brainstorming, designing props, and decorating away. We went with a "graveyard" theme, and each cubicle was decorated with a handmade tombstone inscribed with each employee's attempts at being clever. Our foyer was filled with headstones, leaves, skeletons, dry ice, etc. We had various macabre scenes tucked into corners, including a car crash (since we are an auto insurance company).

Needless to say, we won that year. First prize, woo-hoo!

The next year, we went with an "alien autopsy" theme, and the main scene involved a female dummy being autopsied with a tiny alien baby coming out of her. She was in a conference room, with a complicated silver-painted wooden airlock which we would raise and lower on ropes to allow people to go in and out.

We did not win the contest that year, but we believe it was because the judges didn't want to let the same department win two years in a row. We were robbed! The other departments did fairly elaborate decorations too, but still....

This year, we are determined to take back our title. Our theme is "fractured fairy tales", and we have a total of 10 different displays, throughout the department. The idea is to make a spooky/disgusting/warped version of a children's fairy tale or nursery rhyme. It helps that most such stories are pretty twisted already (example: Little Red Riding Hood...a child's grandmother getting eaten by a wolf??).

For example, we have jack getting crushed by his beanstalk, little miss muffett being swarmed by spiders, and a very mutilated jack and jill after having tumbled down a hill.

My scene is from Ring Around the Rosie. It's a song children sing while dancing around in a circle, and then flopping to the floor on its last note. A (false) urban legend has it that this children's rhyme comes from the Black Plague, which is what gave me the idea. I made 6 ghosts out of white bedsheets, and hung them from the ceiling with fishing line, to make it look like they are floating above the ground. The ghosts are arranged in a circle around a large pillar we have in the middle of our office space, and the ends of the sheets are pinned together. It looks like a group of little ghost children, holding hands in a circle around the post. On the post is written in dripping red blood-like paint:

ASHES ASHES
WE ALL
FALL DOWN


I think it looks pretty cool. I'll have to remember to bring in my camera next week, before the judging on tuesday. Hopefully we'll win this year!