At two years old, he was dressed as a pumpkin. The following year, as Count Dracula. And with his 3 years in Preschool –Nursery, Kindergarten and Preparatory, he wore ninja, scarecrow and tiger-chef costumes with appropriate face-paint makeups done specially by Tina.
From his school to malls in the Philippines such as our favorites, Greenbelt, TriNoma and Gateway, Gabby enjoyed collecting candies wearing his costumes we fancied every Halloween. He was even awarded as a student with “Most Creative Costume” in their school parties for 2 consecutive years.
Being abroad with limited budget doesn’t deter him from celebrating Halloween with other kids. Despite the fact that his school here and our appartment do not have similar activities, some malls here in Penang also conduct such events that add to priceless childhood happiness. Although admittedly, it’s still best and more FUN doing all these things in our own country (read : we miss the malls and almost everything in Pinas!).
29 October 2011, Saturday –We arrived 10AM, so early at Queensbay Mall and headed directly to Starbucks Coffee, not only to grab quick morning drinks and bites but to be strategically near to the venue and stage where the Halloween Costume Contest for kids would be held. As I went to the counter to order a couple of ventis of frappuccinos (chocolate for Gabby, and dark mocha shared by Tina and me) and a plate of sausage roll, Tina didn’t waste any second and prepared her stuffs to do Gabby’s face paint.
If you must know, Tina doesn’t have any formal training, whatsoever on doing make ups. In fact, she only began wearing them few weeks after she first met me (she’ll kill me for this!). Apparently, she’s doing great with her face and with Gabby’s, isn’t she? This proves that Tina has many skills and talents. My wife isn’t only a diligent Operating Room nurse, a dedicated mother, a passionate educator herself, but also a creative makeup artist in her own right! She even managed to work well with the face paint I bought from Toys R Us here despite it was far from the brands she told me to buy (supply of those things is rare in this part of Malaysia).
Gabby requested one of his favorites, Pizza Hut for lunch. We’re delighted with a pitcher of Mountain Dew, a small loaf of garlic bread, soup of the day and a large 7-cheese-pizza!
Gabby remains to be a purist when it comes to pizzas so he wants it nothing but cheese. This new offerring from Pizza Hut was welcoming to him and in fact, we all found it sublime that I am craving for another slice as I write this.
We finished lunch a few minutes prior to 1:30PM call time for all participants. We went back near Starbucks, confirmed Gabby’s attendance and got his number-tag. He was contestant # 6 out of 33 (or was it 34?) kiddie participants all in all.
His royal blue Chinese-inspired satin tunic was a hand-me-down costume from his eldest cousin, that was worn at our wedding reception almost 8 years ago. We only added a few accessories that Gabby chose himself from a store also in Queensbay Mall for him to look more like a Chinese pirate (uniquely wearing a Beijing Opera mask).
Each contestant was called, asked to walk on the ramp and introduce themselves a little and greet everyone a “Happy Halloween!”. It was the very first time we saw Gabby became shy on stage (read : he doesn’t have stage fright for he had won and placed in several declamation contests in his former school back home).
They paraded on the entire Ground floor before the winners’ names were announced.
He lost but nonetheless, we’re definite that he enjoyed the experience this year. Tina and I had fun too being with these kids! As token of participation, we’ll be issued after a week, a free 8R picture officially taken by Queensbay Mall photographer during the event.
Honestly, when Tina and I saw her and her props, we knew she deserves to be the contest’s grand winner, but this 10-year old girl geared as a ‘Halloween dinner table’ only bagged second place.
First place went to…
Tina and I told Gabby that he had done a good job on stage and made him feel our very own champion. He is and he’ll always be, of course!:)
One more time!
Gabby had fun, he even retained his face paint and costumes on until we reached home; except the fact that he only got candies and chocolates from the organizers of the event themselves because the shops and stores inside the mall didn’t prepare sweets like the way it’s done back home and else where.
How’s your Halloween?
Because obviously, we cannot visit cemeteries of our departed, we’ll just utter prayers for our late grandparents and relatives. It’s what we practice back home on top of trick or treating.