Maude night.

Not to overstate the case, but State Street in Madison on Hallowe’en Saturday is something not totally unlike Kenmore Square after the Sox defeat the Yankees. Crowded, riotous, full of cops and drunken fools, and a general atmosphere of expected lawlessness, and front page articles in the paper next day detailing the hullabaloo. Of course, the worst of it all happens when the bars let out. But even at 11 pm State is packed tight, and you have to push your way between angels and demons, Ron Burgundies and sexy what-have-yous (the generic undergrad girl costume). And the guy dressed up as the orange-clad piccolo guy from Library Mall.
And there’s horseshit on the ground from the mounted unit.
Actually, it’s kind of more like an inverted St. Pat’s Parade in Southie: instead of watching from the sidelines, the crowd is the parade.
The day began with a trip to the farmer’s market with Abby to buy carrots for the orange soup she was going to make. Then Paul and company dragged me on a five-hour shopping excursion, everywhere from Ragstock to the East Towne Mall, to procure various components of costumes (Maude Lebowski, Margot Tenenbaum, and the Thundercats). I had found a choir robe of the appropriate shade of green on Friday at St. Vinny’s and a perfect wig at Ragstock for five bucks — all that remained were the finishing touches to make the choir robe into something that looked more like a bathrobe. In the end, I found a furry green collar of the correct shade at Jo-Ann Fabrics, and bought some thread to sew it on.
I returned home, exhausted, around 5 pm, and set to work on my own costume, wolfing down some leftover curry with Miss Neely, who was preparing her soup. A bunch of people came over around 8 for some wine-and-soup pregaming by the woodstove; of course, Abby and I were still in the process of getting into our costumes. It took about four girls with little knowledge of eye makeup to get Abby’s eyeliner just right, but in the end we were successful. Around 10 or so we headed across the street to Andrew’s for the History Hallowe’en party.
When Martha and Abby headed out to the Geography party on the other side of East Wash, I headed over to Paul and Miller’s, where a huge crowd was assembled in the living room for the costume contest. After prizes had been awarded, we headed up the road to catch the bus down to State Street.
After several ridiculous encounters with various other costumed troupes on Langdon (the Hans & Franz from our group met up and tussled with another Hans & Franz; Miller tried to give his driver’s license away to random people in cars), we emerged at the Lake Street end of State, and elbowed our way through the crowd all the way to Gorham. Miller was spoken to by Madison’s Finest a couple of times, due to his rather enthusiastic running and jumping about; I tried my best to keep apace with the group. The scene was pretty much exactly what you’d expect: a whole mess of costumed people acting like fools, hordes of underdressed undergrads, and a scattering of really great costumes. I suspect that, since my coat was covering my green robe, most people had no idea what I was (Abby pointed out that, at the History party, it’s probably few people actually recognized me as me at all), but in the end I was pleased with my Hallowe’en experience. I think I enjoyed our Ingersoll pre-party most of all — I only wish I hadn’t lost a whole day’s reading to the project.
Photos here.

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