Well, after that amazing spring we had a rather dull summer, so it was fabulous that most of our autumn was stunning!
Great for me painting in my wee corner at Bewilderwood, as I still have just the temporary platform and umbrella. (I did treat myself to a new black-with gold-stars- tablecloth & chair drape, seeing us I was working at Bewilderwood and then a different event every night and will use it through Christmas as well.
I usually have a more rustic Twiggle-ish table set. And yes that is how small my kit is – its paint, if I need more colours I blend them.)
Mornings were cold, but as the sun is so much lower now, by lunchtime it was shining in UNDER the brolly into kids faces and usually getting me so warm I’d had to take off lots of layers. We only had 1 wet day which compared to the torrential rain and winds last year was fine! Plus I found the ‘magic’ mode on my camera which makes the early morning sun sparkle:) This is my usual view from my corner.
Hallowe’en at Bewilderwood is huge for us, and they decorate the whole place but not with blood and tacky stuff. Thornyclod spider spins webs around the whole park (carefully avoiding the Cosy Cabin signboard where our resident pipstrelle had yet to depart to its winter roost from).Staff can dress up…erm, Ok I always dress up but maybe I’m ‘special’:)
And I think Tom Blofield (owner/ author) was a bit stumped for words for once when trying to compliment my elegant and understated Webby Witch (or batty bag, as I was told by a close friend, thanks!) outfit. Well at least it was warm – tights, leggings, thermal socks….
I saw a bunch of Twiggles carving their way through an entire lorry trailer full of pumpkins as I arrived the 1st morning of the holiday. They use a cute pattern with a bat for a mouth seeing as Snagglefang the Bewilderbat is 1 of the main characters in the Bewilderwood books.Luckily they had paper as well as real pumpkins, as the sun pretty much baked the carved one by Cosy Cabin’s till every day and it got a bit whiffy. Still, better than ours at home which dissolved into goo before the week was up and didn’t even last till Halloween night!Even the twiggle houses have in-proportion Mumpkins (mini pumpkins) which give me flashbacks to when I had to carve about 200 each year in a few days, as mini lanterns for each family who came to our annual spirits of the Marshes Spooky game walk thing. (Urrrgh)
Bewilderwood don’t ‘do’ licensed character face paint designs (YAY!), or really scary stuff as the whole place is about nature with a touch of magic & imagination. So, my creepy seasonal designs tend towards the spooky and magikal, the closest to gore being red glitter which even the boys love at this time of year.It was a nice change to add some more ideas to my list as I do get a bit tired of all the Bewilderwood-colour rainbow butterflies and Crocklebog Crocs after doing 60+ a day for weeks:). And I did a few 1st experimental ideas I’d like to have a proper go at another time too…
Like many professional face painters I don’t use a photo board as I find it not only limits creativity, and my ability to adapt designs to suit the time available, but that many parents prefer lists as that allows them to ‘cherry-pick’ and read out only the designs they would rather have their kids choose from. So, I use a list of ideas – and having this also ensures kids who are young enough to be unable to read it then have to have a responsible older person to read it to them, which solves another problem we often have. My Halloween titles were thinks like ‘Shaky Skeleton’ , ‘Terrible Trees’ etc (Bewilderwood’s quirky signs love alliteration :)) I didn’t always have an idea to go with the name, I just painted as I went along:)
One of the most popular this year was definitely the Pumpkin Princess (first attempt at this years version above), closely followed by the trees…. and the 4 assorted bats I offer (2 are there all year round). The skeleton went down well too even though despite being an ex-science teacher I couldn’t quite recall how hip ball/sockets looked, oops. But I did always remember radius AND ulna, etc! And he shook when you wiggled your eyebrows…
My little tiddler finally let me paint his face – well, nearly – he let me do most of the Superfast 60 second bat on him but wouldn’t let me finish off around the eyes!Every evening the park stayed open later than usual, staff rushed round lighting candles in all the lanterns and dozens of tree-hung jars. People gathered by the main cafe with the lanterns they had made for free, and then were led on a parade through the dark woods by a Snagglefang lantern.The friendly witch waved from her house and a couple of the puppets were in their places around the park. I hadn’t had a chance to make new lanterns but luckily willow & tissue is tough and mine from previous years had survived – decorated with discarded bat masks!
My little Finley thought it was ‘big and dark and scarey – and big’ and loved it so much we ended up doing it each of my 4 ‘free’ evenings! Atmospheric but pretty, really..