The image staring back at me was far from friendly, more fearful, frightening and shamefully forgotten. The semi-hidden, hollow eyes hid a previously untold tale of loss and grief and I sensed they knew only of wandering darkened corridors, searching for a happiness which was long-since departed. The dress hung tattered and torn to shreds, where once draped a beautiful wedding gown of ivory silk. The now-grey floral headdress flowed, with a darkened, somewhat smoky edge, into a delicate grey-edged lace veil.
Lifting the once-pristine, lacy mask from the desperately forlorn visage, I could almost taste the loss of a life she once knew, once planned for, and now only yearned for. Her delicately painted features now hidden under a desolate mask of spidery webs and blackened veins, so dark and mysterious, seeping from the corners of unseeing eyes, trailing across her sunken cheekbones and framing her purple lips. A trail of veins carrying their once-gushing deep blue life fluids, now blackened in death, led way to a shorter, darker, reddened trail which flowed around and from her delicate, white neck, telling the story of her final, excruciating moments before she was torn from her beloved and left suspended in a land of nowhere, the eternal space separating life from death.
With one more appraising gaze from top to toe, I was pleased with the reflection of my corpse bride outfit and make-up for this evening’s annual Halloween freestyle at Ceroc. My husband walked through from the bedroom, already wearing his skeleton t-shirt and sporting an eerie green face paint broken only with temporary tattoos of scratches, bloodied bullet holes and angry gashes. I helped him add the final touches, painting him a wicked mouth and we were ready to leave.
Ceroc Fusion did not disappoint. With ghosts and skeletons, creepy spiders and pumpkins adorning the dance hall, bar and entrance, the venue was seasonally transformed into a ghoulish den of horror and fear. An array of edible treats were on offer which included chocolates, sweets, crisps and, for the healthier dancers, trays filled with a variety of melon slices.
The dance floor was soon filled with ghostly apparitions, witches of the friendly and the wicked variety, devils, skeletons, counts and even a Joker from Batman. A Cruella DeVil from 101 Dalmatians, resplendent in her two-toned wig and dress moving fluidly alongside spinning grim reapers, jesters and bleeding corpse brides. The facial make-up was both as intricate and varied as it was amusing and, for some, quite terrifyingly accurate.
Steve the evening’s teacher and DJ, playing a varied mix of floor-fillers to keep the dancing ghouls gyrating, was surrounded on his platform by severed limbs, spiders in their webs, pumpkins and even a giant flesh-eating rat. His fun lesson comprising of two moves, the Scream Switch and the Ghost Train, had dancers giggling and squealing and eventually screaming on cue, setting the scene for a truly gruesome party.
Later in the evening, the compulsory fancy-dress competition was extremely difficult to judge, with so many dancers having made such a tremendous effort but a shortlist of seven was drawn up, with fellow dancers carrying out a secret vote for the two deserving winners of a bottle of wine each. Every single person who adorned a costume and make-up was deserving of a prize but a choice had to be made.
It was lovely, as always, to welcome dancers from other areas including St Neots, Downham Market, Great Yarmouth and Bury St Edmunds to name a few of the non-locals.
Halloween freestyles are up there with my annual favourites, but a good freestyle needs good music, good hosting, a good venue and a good number of dancers and this one ticked all of the above. A ghoulishly, gruesome, garishly ghostly but genuinely glowing, great night.
Just a note, for the four people who asked me last night about my dance shoes (and for the many who have asked before), I have added a link to both colours below. I think they are available in blue, too.
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