Part of the problem was Hilda Walspurgis. Now this lady had definite opinions about what is acceptable and what is not. Little in the way of innovation was allowable during her tenure as Chairperson. However, Hilda scheduled a Caribbean cruise in defiance of hurricanes; therefore she could not chair the committee any longer. (The hurricanes cooperated.)
So Father Devereaux roped Crazy Chester into running things since the local racing season hadn't started. And over time other parish unreliables had been roped into this sort of duty. There was Al Gautreaux and Missy Chauvin, local television personalities (just so they could get away in time to read the 10 P.M. news.) There was Suzanne the Existential Stripper, the Prophetess Madeline, Clotilde Badeaux, the Lucky Dog Guy, and other New Orleans characters of dubious orthodoxy. Perhaps the concept of critical mass applies to groups as well as nuclear fission.
Anyway, this motely group continued some of the old standbys for Halloween Festivals and added a few new ones too. The old, reliable, well-loved activities included the Half Court Basketball Shoot, the Cakewalk (which became a quasi-contact sport), the Parish Pie-Eating Contest, the Horror House, the Ring Toss, the Kissing Booth, and others were continued. Among the new ones for the year was the adult only Cocktail Booth. There, the Lucky Dog Guy managed to get the recalcitrant adults into both literal and metaphorical good spirits. And the booth turned a tidy profit!
Now the old Best Halloween Costume contest had occasional bits of sensationalism, particularly when pre-adolescents participated. It always resulted in a gratifying shock on the part of the remaining shock-prone people when some boy dresses as a satire of a holy saint or a girl wears a faux strumpet costume (Hilda Walspurgis's term). However, Madeline reasoned that Halloween involved mischief anyway; so why not have a Best Saint Costume? In that way they could harness the adolescent proneness to shock with uplifting examples. It's a time-honored fact that any formerly-forbidden action loses its temptation value when it becomes approved. "Oh sensationalism, where is thy sting?," as St. John Bosco was supposed to have said. But there was another element to the costume contest with some over the top acting: who could do the best imitation of the archbishop?
Speaking of uplifting examples: Suzanne proposed a Guess Her Bra Size Contest, in which players would try to guess what was underneath the clothes of seven participants. Suzanne and three other committee members were among the subjects in this contest; each one walking on the stage while holding a number.
Now Father Devereaux was wont to enjoy a restorative glass of Jameson's in the evening while doing the parish paperwork. Truth to tell, he wasn't disposed to read very carefully the turgid committee reports very carefully, so these innovations slipped through the cracks.
Several of the Old Guard had hissy fits on seeing the changes, particularly the Bra Size Guess and the Cocktail Booth; and Father Devereaux did a double take as well. But he did visit the Cocktail Booth and made his guesses in the Bra Size Guess. However, he did not win a prize. Being celibate can do that to guys.
Now some complaints reached the Archdiocese; but the financial report of the Halloween Festival indicated that the profit turned from this activity was three times higher than from previous years! A wise administrator does not inquire too closely on how this kind of windfall comes about, particularly if the Archdiocese is bottom-line oriented.
|Princess Peach costume for Halloween.|