Here's What Went Down at Colonial Lake Last Night... (Warning: Scary Images)

Ellen McGauley

It's true that if you paint it (and it closely resembles Batman, Spiderman, or a wicked green serpent), they will come. 


A few years back, Melissa Bigner (Charleston Weddings editor and a longtime friend of mine) had the idea to set up something of a guerilla face-painting station at Colonial Lake on Halloween night. She'd seen that there were a lot of little kids trick-or-treating their way around the Harleston Village neighborhood without costumes, and figured, hey, maybe a good face-painting would go a long way.


So that year and this one, she, with the help of garden goddess (and Grit blogger) Joan McDonaldhung up flyers throughout the housing that surrounds the City Jail, in that Logan, Franklin, and Beaufain street area.



That happens to be my 'hood, which I love as much as the city itself. Just this morning I walked out my front door and across the street, a man was sitting on his porch smoking a cigarette. When he got up to go inside, I saw he was wearing an orange County Corrections jumpsuit. I gotta believe that's a morning-after-Halloween thing.


Anyway, last night Melissa showed up to the benches with a bucket full of paints and some face-painting designs to guide us and the kids. I brought a bowl of candy (the good kind—it's not Halloween for me without Butterfingers in the mix) and some hand mirrors. Joan brought her hat, modeled in the below pic by a neighborhood mom. The same one Joan had worn to a lecture she'd given earlier that day on, of all things, growing fruit.



Charleston magazine assistant editor Kinsey Gidick (another Grit blogger) brought more supplies. Melissa's mother Eda arrived armed with her mad artistry skills.  


And we waited...


Strike that, no we didn't. We never had the chance. At 5 p.m. on the dot, the kids started rolling in. And before we could say "boo," it was ON.




Note the wee, sleeping baby in the background above...



Maybe most hilarious was watching the kids literally mesmerized by their own painted-up images. 



The mirrors were indeed a hot commodity. A few fights broke out, but they were mild and all you had to do was toss another mirror into the equation and tempers quieted.



Another hot item was my camera. In fact, most of the pictures below were taken by a superhero or goblin who, upon getting the nod from me, ran off with it and started snapping away. 




Like everyone else on Halloween night, I went home feeling both weary and a little jacked up. I hadn't had any candy, but the kids had hit our bowl of goodies hard. I took the bowl home, mostly empty of everything but painting supplies when I set it down on my coffee table.


I poured myself some wine, sat down to watch Will & Grace, and what do you know? At the bottom of the bowl, underneath the brushes and mirrors and blood-red sponges, there was one single, solitary Butterfinger left.



I wanted to hug those kids for leaving that for me. I mean, boo-ya, wine AND a Butterfinger? Happy Halloween to me.