In the tent: Wigstock at Arches
November 3, 2009
MOAB, Utah – We knew it was risky to spend Halloween weekend at Arches National Park. The weather was likely to be cold, we’d upset the usual trick-or-treat tradition and, by definition, taking the whole family camping is a headache.
On the other hand, we wanted something different than simply chasing our costumed kids around the same neighborhoods all evening, and then watching them fight, freak out and melt down in a spectacular collective sugar-crash later that night. We figured a nearly full moon in the sandstone formations of the Devil’s Garden would be a cool Halloween setting.
So off we went – 4 or 5 adults and 7 children. (At one time or another, about 20 people had expressed interest, but nearly all of them bailed. Wussies.) Friday night was bitterly cold, as a chilly wind chased last week’s storm to the east and prompted the younger kids to shriek like banshees before falling to sleep in their bags. (Spooky, but only to parents.)
Saturday morning was equally cold, but eventually the adults got their coffee, the kids got their pancakes and the weather warmed up. The adult boys rode their mountain bikes on the Slickrock Trail (a sweet treat, as always) while moms and kids went first to a pumpkin-chucking festival and then trick-or-treating in Moab.
By late afternoon, it was balmy and comfortable. Everyone reconvened around the campfire at Arches in the evening for dinner. We had s’mores for the kids, beer for the adults and a traveling salesman’s briefcase full of wigs – everything from Elvira to the rainbow-fro to the two-dollar prostitute to Rapunzel (surprisingly similar to the two-dollar prostitute) – which made for dozens of goofy pictures and prompted a few group howls. One howl even got a response from somewhere beyond the rocks.
The next morning was much warmer, so everyone was happy. No screaming from freezing kids, and a continuing parade of ever-changing wigs; neighboring campers and passing drivers seemed to find this amusing, but they kept their distance. Eventually the group rallied for a hike (with wigs) to a couple of arches. Not sure whether we added to or detracted from the scenery.
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So, was it worth the hassle? Well, I know all past Halloweens are essentially identical and indistinguishable from each other, except for the costumes. If nothing else, Wigstock at Arches was vividly memorable.