- Bill & Jessi
- Kara & Harland
- Henry’s mom
- My mommy
- Henry’s sister Kelly & some of her kids
- Evonne, Sadie & Lydia
- Christy & Claire
When Chooch told me months ago, like literally it might still have been 2009, that he wanted to have a zombie themed birthday party, I had every intention of going all out. I even started thinking of ideas for like, ten entire minutes.
With the exception of designing the invitations with Chooch (which actually was not last minute and were mailed out in timely fashion), there wasn’t much more that I accomplished, aside from a last minute trip to Goodwill on the morning of his party, to shop for clothes to mutilate and bloody for the photos I wanted to take of each individual party guest, as a souvenir. Kind of like a prom picture, except with blood, a fake cemetery in the background, and a pine tree with Christmas lights haphazardly slung across its lower boughs, which really bothers me now when I look back at all the pictures. I think Bill should have painted the wires green. It could have been a zombie / Alice in Wonderland crossover, guests arriving while an undead Bill slops green paint on a tree and nervously yells about the scary queen (THAT’S ME) who’s running around with hedge clippers and shouting, “Off with your balls.”
The plan was to have the party outside; but like last year, it was around FIFTY DEGREES with the threat of rain. In May. So everything was set up in my mom’s garage to protect the guests from the impending deluge of rain. The kids had enough rain-free time to run amok outside for most of the party, at least. Because I can’t imagine Chooch being contained in a three-car garage for three hours.
Chooch the Zombie Enthusiast flipped his shit when he saw Bill for the first time, post-zombie makeover. We thought Chooch was just playing into it when he used the car as a barrier, but then Bill noticed he was legitimately crying and we all had an “oh shit” moment. Bill retreated to the garage to allow Jessi and I to try and coax Chooch from the car.
“You can open one of your presents now!” I pleaded. That worked. Good thing I used that first, instead of “You can cut Bill with this knife I got here,” because maybe Jessi might not have liked that. (And Bill wouldn’t have had much say.)
And Chooch was fine after that. So fine, in fact, that he wanted Jessi to make him up as a zombie too. I think it was just initial shock combined with Bill’s overzealousness (which Chooch ended up loving later).
Jessi somehow encouraged Alisha and Janna to get made-up, too. They kept trying to get me to do it as well, but having that much make-up on my face is yet another item in my treasure trove of neuroses and just the fact that I had to keep saying no nearly made me break out in hives. It’s probably not good that I took myself out of therapy all those years ago.
BFFs again, no biggie.
And the food! Don’t get me started on that. I had this great vision of mini meatloaves baked in over-sized cupcake tins and then Ketchup’d, like chunks of bloodied flesh. Well, Henry took that vision and fucked it up the ass. He basically made a plate of meatballs. When I voiced my aghast-ness, he then tried to get all Alton Brown: meatloaf edition on me, but I think he was lying. It could have been done.
I don’t even know what else there was to eat, to be honest, aside from what I initially thought were turtles (chicken breasts, apparently). But I will tell you there was no gelatin brain. I mean, why would there be something so disgustingly anatomical at a zombie party??
It’s a good thing a four-year-old doesn’t give a shit about the catering at birthday parties.
That morning at Goodwill, I found (fine – Alisha found) these two lovely nightgowns and I instantly had visions of my friends Kara and Christy swathed in bloody versions of night attire, and holding their babies in front of the cemetery I set up. The cemetery was the only thing I was concerned about all day. It was a very big deal for me. I texted Kara before she arrived and said, “I have a nightgown; will you wear it?” She said yes and thought nothing of it, because I’ve asked her to do dumber things before.
This ended up being my favorite picture of the day.
I barraged Christy before she was even out of her car. She just rolled her eyes at my request because we’ve known each other since we were four and short of auto-amputation, nothing I do really shocks and awes her. At first, she tried to say that she couldn’t get the nightgown on over her hoodie and I was like, “Bitch, you best be tryin’ a little harder. Don’t make me pretend I’m in a girl gang again.”
Also, this was my first time finally meeting Christy’s baby Claire and she is so sweet! The combination of Claire and Harland was like an upper-cut/right hook combo to my ovaries, though. At one point, Henry even grabbed my silk-gloved hand and said, “Darling, shall we try for another?” And then I rammed my parasol up his tweed-trousered asshole.
The best part was that Kara and Christy both kept their respective nightgowns on for the rest of the party. I like to think it’s because they thought it was AWESOME, but warmth probably had a little more to do with it. They spent most of the party together, in a baby bubble, and I couldn’t help but crack up every time I turned around and saw the two of them in their bloody nightgowns, cooing to each other’s baby.
“Just another night at the shelter,” Charlie said at one point, and I could NOT STOP LAUGHING. Don’t worry, I said the Rosary that night.
I realized afterward that I have zero pictures of Blake or any of the cousins, except Zac. None of the teens wanted to dress up, which I thought was strange since that’s like, something kids want to do. I mean, other than betting on cock fights in Biloxi and foxtrotting with trannies. (Is that still what teens do nowadays?) And Blake didn’t talk to me the whole time. I guess that’s a new thing or something. It wasn’t awkward at all and it certainly didn’t make me cry to Alisha behind the garage.
My mom ordered the cake undecorated, aside from the Happy Birthday part, and then made the graveyard scene with those new Oreos and zombie finger puppets. She apparently forgot to make sure it flowed with the writing on the side, but that’s just my bastard nit-picking coming out. I thought she did a great job! Unlike the photo I took, which is out of focus because I had like, 20 people staring at me and I just wanted to be done. Yet another reason why I’d never consider photography as anything other than a hobby!
He got a ton of great loot, like: a Jason Voorhees action figure, vampire movie collection, Night of the Living Dead DVD, and a Spiderman book (being held in above photo) from Bill and Jessi; a Spike Jr. and a dragon from Evonne, Sadie, and Lydia; a remote control zombie from Alisha; a Leatherface figurine, with interchangeable heads and arms, from Charlie; two plush zombies and a Tony Hawk bike from my mom; this really cool zombie figurine from my brother Ryan; a complete artist’s orgasm from Kara; gift cards from Christy and Kelly; and a Spiderman skateboard from Janna.
It really made me wish I was still a kid!
Before I knew it, three hours had passed and everyone started to leave. There was a Penguins game on that night and I’m sure most of the guests were happy to know that I’d be the first one to abandon my kid’s party for it.
Bill and Jessi had to check in to their hotel first, zombie makeup and all, but came back to my house later to hang out and, more importantly, so Bill could get called a “douche cup” by Chooch when he had the audacity to deviate from the Lego instructions.
When they came back over the next morning for breakfast, Bill held out his hand and said, “Here, somehow Leatherface’s head made it into my pants last night.” So, now we know what Bill does after drinking a little Manischewitz. I think that was the highlight of my entire weekend.
Thanks again to everyone who came and showed your love for my little zombie-child. It was so great to see everyone, especially you guys who came from hours and hours away. It really meant a lot to us! (Maybe not Henry, because he’s rude.)
And ever since his party ended, Chooch has been going on and on about his next party. “It’s going to be a CARROT party,” he says so full of certainty. “With CARROT ICING.” And no, he’s not just insinuating he wants a carrot CAKE. This is a full-scale carrot PARTY, you guys. And he wants everyone to dress as carrots. Have fun with that!