Sunday, October 28, 2007

Adventures of a Face Painter

I've worked for the YMCA for six years now and every year volunteer at our Halloween at the YMCA event-always the Saturday before Halloween. I've had a variety of roles through out the years at this event and last night I was a face painter.

With my experience volunteering at all kinds of family events, I'm smart enough now to know which jobs suck at these kinds of events-1. Do not volunteer to run one of those giant inflatable things-like slides, bouncy houses, etc. The whole time you're worried that a kid is going to break their arm-as I tell kids at our afterschool sites that make unsafe choices, "Not on my watch." And you can't count on the parents to actually supervise their kids as you'd expect-no, that's your job-to supervise 1000's of kids and magically they will all listen to you. 2. Do not volunteer for any booth where things such as balls or rings are being tossed. You will spend the entire night bending over and chasing balls. You will feel it the next day.

So this year I specifically requested face painting-even after vowing I would never facepaint again. You'd have the luxury of sitting and have some control over the situation. And besides, there are no mirrors around for the kids to actually see the finished product. So after some practice last night I became an expert at pumpkins, ghosts, bats (took a while), spiders (took a long while), hearts, butterflies, skulls, longhorns (remember I'm in UT country), stitches, and ducks-yes ducks-one of the weird requests of the evening. Here are a couple of my other favorite requests-a horse. Umm, a horse? "I can't promise you that it will look like a horse." The kid to me, "Can you try your best?" Me: "Yes, I can try my best." Me to parent when finished, "Could be a horse, could be a dog, you pick."

Keep in mind people, we're working with crappy paintbrushes and thick paint-making it very difficult to paint anything detailed and any sort of really smooth line. So this is why this was my favorite request: Little girl about 3 years old: "I want a fairy." Me: "A fairy? Umm, I could do a butterfly, or a heart (I always try to suggest hearts because they are the easiest)." Little girl, really excited: "A heart!" I begin the heart then hear mom say: "Could you make a butterly with a person's face? I think she would be much happier." Are you kidding me! The child was content with the heart and she won't even be able to see the freakin' thing you freak! You try painting a fairy on paper for starters and then try painting one on a 3 year old's face! So I respond: "Umm, okay." I didn't know exactly what she meant but I made a damn butterfly and made a smiley face on it-totally stupid looking.

Overall it was a good night-In some ways I guess I should be flattered that people assume that I'm a brilliant face painter and could paint anything.

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