Choosing Wisely: Halloween 2011 at YDS

Saints and Sinners

Each year at Yale Divinity School, there is one party that everyone is excited for and about: the Saints and Sinners party (named for Luther’s notion that all people are simultaneously saint and sinner).  It happens around Halloween, but being put on by the YDS Lutheran students, it is actually a Reformation Day party (celebrating the composition of Luther’s famous 95 Theses).  People dress up for Halloween of course, and given the event’s occurrence directly at the end of paper due dates and midterm weeks, people come to the party armed with two things: 1) a deep need to let loose and 2) preemptive inebriation.  Not what one might expect, perhaps, from an institution of religious education, but then again, Jesus wasn’t exactly opposed to wine-drinking himself.  The party was held in the Old Refectory (photos available here) at YDS, which meant that the DJ was going to be heard quite powerfully in that large and echoing space; this was, so-to-speak, music to the ears of the assembled students.  The party was well-attended (even by the New Haven police, as apparently the last-second room change to the Old Refectory necessitated the Fire Marshall’s approval, which was only obtained at the VERY last second), and enjoyable for many of the people there (those poor fools in warm costumes, such as I, quickly discovered a new meaning of suffering and warmth as the dance floor literally heated up the room).

‘Costume party’ implies that I wore some kind of costume; this being a correct assumption, it is worth spending a moment or two on the subject.  For those of you, my readers, who like what is good, right, salutary and delightful; that is to say, those of you who have seen Indiana Jones and enjoyed it, this costume should be entertaining.  My roommate Ryan agreed to go as Indy himself, after I realized what my heart deeply desired: a remixed version of the Grail Knight from The Last Crusade.  Basically, I have always loved the actor’s line delivery and how much it added to the entire scene as Indy discovers the chamber with the various fake chalices and then the True Grail, or Cup of Christ; as such, I wanted to do something like that character, and thus be able to tell people to “choose… wisely” (as per the Knight’s famous lines), but without breaking the bank on a direct costume from the film.  As such, I pared down the costume to the barest essentials: the chain mail hood (technically called a coif), some kind of chalice to represent the Grail, and then some method of making clear who I was referencing.  This last bit is where my roommate Ryan stepped up to the plate; his willingness to play Indiana Jones himself helped a lot of people catch the reference better (plus, Ryan makes a good Indy).  So, after some thought, I figured that a chalice, or cup, would be the realm of a cooking-related profession, and so decided to play on the economic troubles we face at present: the economy is so bad that even the Grail Knight is underemployed, thus necessitating that he pick up a second job, in this case waiting tables.  Easy enough to wear a black suit, white shirt and bow tie, and then the chain mail coif atop it; but thankfully for me, Shannon (my other housemate who is a cosmetologist for Sephora) was excited to help me do some make-up to make me look ~700 years old.  Take a look at the photo gallery for the make-up process, the costume assembly, and the finished products (both my costume, and Ryan’s).  All told, quite the enjoyable evening; after all, I was expecting zero (0) people to catch the reference, and then a whopping four (4!) caught on, and in two of their cases, thanked me for doing that costume and doing it so well.  Given that four is infinity times higher than zero, I am going to go ahead and declare this evening’s costume caper a success!


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