By Diane Ako
Paul and I had our annual Halloween party at the chapel portion of Affordable Casket & Moanalua Mortuary. Our first one was in 2009. At the time I didn't think it would be yearly, but that's what it's become. It's grown and evolved in a direction I didn't anticipate but do like.
One hundred thirty people (33 of whom were children) from all parts of our lives came to the mortuary to celebrate the season with us. After the first party we thought it would be nice to get together with our KHNL alumni once a year, but it's turned out to include people we've met along the way through our children's schools and our new jobs.
This event gets bigger each year. This year we brought back our very popular psychic reader, Melissa Kurpinski, and once again offered a location tour, but we also added ghost storyteller Obake Hunter and lollipop maker Candy Art Hawaii, which not only made its popular amezaiku treats but also debuted a photo booth. People waited in line for the better part of an hour for a handmade sweet. We were the beta tester for the photo booth and it was well received. My photographer friend Sisto Domingo again volunteered his time to capture the evening on digital "film" for us.
Just about everyone came in costume, which is a significant increase from a few years ago. I can never predict how these things will go!
The kids go crazy at these parties. They run around in circles wearing themselves out, shrieking and squealing. Constant access to a low counter full of sweets keeps them mainlining refined sugar until midnight.
After the party officially ended a small band of people helped us clean up. At this time Olivia asked what time it was: "Is it midnight, Mommy?"
"It's past midnight, Sweetie. It's 12:15," I told her.
"Yeah! All right! I finally stayed up past my bedtime!" she excitedly said. That's not quite true that it's never happened before, but this is probably the latest she has stayed up.
I love doing the Halloween party, but I have to admit that the night flashes by in a blur. Anything past 40 people, to me, is like a wedding: you're just popping from guest to guest but not really having a deep conversation, plus you're still managing the kitchen, the timeline, and the vendor needs. Still, it's really fun to see all our friends, and to get swept up in the 'spirit' of the evening.