“This is the land of Narnia,’ said the Faun, ‘where we are now; all that lies between the lamp-post and the great castle of Cair Paravel on the eastern sea.”
I’ve got a chicken dinner in the oven and I’m sewing up the seams of my husband’s fur pants: do I feel like a real woman right now or what? It’s all preparation for tomorrow’s Parade of Lost Souls 2014: Masquerade.
The Parade of Lost Souls, if you haven’t heard of it, is this big halloween/harvest event, a participatory parade of people in costume who wind their way around the Commercial Drive neighbourhood. Along the way there’s all sorts of performance art, dancing and music to observe and join in. As harvest time is both a celebration of life and acknowledgment of death, this year’s parade theme is: the life and death of civilizations, presently and throughout history, including the animal kingdom.
Emrys and I will be transforming into fauns for the occasion; more specifically we will be Faunus and Fauna, the horned god and goddess of the untamed woodlands in Roman mythology. Faunus and Fauna are prophetic creatures, offering visions to those who fall asleep in their woody precinct and are said to be generally responsible for the fertility of cattle. In literature Faunus came to be associated with the Greek god Pan; although they are not the same.
The first step in this transformation is the making of our horns, which requires: a headband, two small cups, coat hanger wire, tin foil, duct tape and paint. I got the idea from this handy instructional video. It was pretty easy to do and I really enjoyed crafting with Emrys.
I was initially inspired by a gothic satyr picture I found on the internet, so my costume is built off of a black dress, black leggings and black boots. Emrys on the other hand has a very organic, forest concept in mind. He starts off buying giant swathes of fake fur and sets about sewing himself fur pants, to represent the goat legs of Faunus. As our costumes evolve he comes to add a roman breast plate and black accents, while I add some forest-y elements (fur accents and a wooden staff) and our costumes slowly become a bit more cohesive; although they are still very much their own beasts.
The final step comes with makeup. I find some inspiration online and use an eye liner to give myself a goat nose and mouth and otherwise play up my eyes with some dark liner. As I look into the mirror I’m starting to see a faun staring back at me. How excited am I?
Emrys gets home from work and we suit up. Safety pins are added to secure everything in place before we head over to a friends place, just off Commercial Drive, for a drink and to gather with the blessing of unicorns that we’ll be leading tonight. (Yes, that’s what I said). While en route I have the sudden realization that as Faunus and Fauna, we are responsible for the fertility of cattle and I have concerns about what that means for our unicorn friends; but Emrys assures me that unicorns are not cattle, so no one need be fertilized tonight.
Arriving at Alan and Erin’s, everyone’s unicorn costume is amazingly unique; there is a cat-icorn, clown-icorn and zombi-corn among others. After a drink and some last minute paint and pinning, we head out into the cool night, stampeding along the aptly named Woodland Drive, towards the Community Centre and the start of the parade.
We arrive in the main square, which features the Vaudeville Vagabonds on stage, a burlesque tent off to the side, a thriller-zombie performance and a projector that you can walk in front of, casting giant shadows on to the wall of the community centre. We take a few minutes to get oriented in this crowd of amazing creatures before finally funnelling into the parade route at the far side of the field.
There is a marching band to lead us along the path, as it twists down corridors. We make our way between strange creatures on stilts and stop here and there to take in the flickering light displays and performance art vignettes along the path, before eventually looping back to the main square.
Once back in the main square it’s time to check out our friend DeirDre’s thriller-zombie dance performance in the headlights of a hearse (very cool) and a titillating burlesque show (brrr!) before concluding that our horns are damn pinchy and it’s getting cold. We bid our friends good-bye and climb into the car and head home. Taking off our costumes, we pack our faun personas away for another year. What a magical night!