Monday, February 24, 2014

Catch Up Post 4: Lolita Hallows Eve

This has taken me an awful long amount of time to write but I'm very glad it's done. This is a very long post full of my deepest emotions regarding this event. I can safely say that I am very happy with the achievement. Dont feel like reading all the text then have a look at the pictures below.


On the 26th of October my Lolita Halloween event took place. I had been organising this event for the past year and worked really hard to get a schedule together full of fun activities, cool shows, helpful people, awesome gifts and so much more. I was super excited as this was my first ever Halloween Lolita event and I was very curious to know how it would turn out. Luckily everything turned out just fine and we all had a blast.

You may ask yourself why on earth I needed a whole year to organise this event. Well the answer is quite simple. I’m a perfectionist. Everything had to be perfectly worked out into all details, whilst  being realistic with my experience thus far and the budget I was given of course. You cant organise something with nothing. Well maybe some things can but not most things. Not the things I want to do at least. I had to be quite clear to myself that some things I wanted to do this year just weren’t possible. Which wasn’t a bad thing. You guys can still look forward to some really great ideas in the future.

If I go back a few years, to when I first started organising parties, the soul reason I did start doing them was because I wasn’t satisfied with other peoples parties. I always found that they were missing something and that it was all about the booze. I blamed myself for years, at first, for being too shy and boring to fit in at those parties. Until I came to realize that every one of these parties, I was attending, was just the same. Boring. And I don’t easily call something boring. This was a big epiphany moment for me. It frustrated me that people just couldn’t get it right. So I showed them how I would do it and I came to find that all my friends loved my parties because they were so fun. Especially my Halloween Parties. Here in the Netherlands Halloween isn’t such a big deal, which I found a big shame when I came to live here a few years ago. I couldn’t go trick or treating any more which upset me very much. So I started having Halloween parties instead and hoped to bring Halloween to the Netherlands, in my own kind of way. Luckily my friends were very enthusiastic and every year my parties returned. They especially loved that fact how I captured detail in my themes. For instance in decoration or in the food.
Because I love Lolita fashion too I thought it would be a great idea to combine both. Luckily there were no such events in the local Lolita community yet, so I squeezed my event into the October month and hoped for the best.

The first thing that I needed to do, and which was the longest and hardest to do, was to find a good location. I needed to keep a few things in mind. Like; was the location central enough for everyone? Was it easy to find? Was the location the right size? Did they have the right facilities etc.
Because the budget wasn’t that big made it especially hard. Everything nowadays is so expensive. I looked for possibilities in free rent but was always stood up by their rules. For instance that you had to have a minimum turnover in drinks and food of at least a 1000 Euro. That was impossible. I knew damn right that no one would eat or drink that much. I came across many of those crazy suggestions from locations.
Luckily, with a tip from a friend, I found a little place that was just right. It wasn’t my favourite location but it fit the job for a first time event. Its better starting out small so you can gradually and surely grow.

Once the location was found I could concentrate on building up a programme and time schedule. I thought of a lot of fun acts. Some of which were eventually chosen and some I have saved for later.
The acts that I decided on were singing, dance, theatre, music, fashion show, panel, sales and contest.
Now that the programme was done I needed to somehow find the right people to help me with this. Of course I thought of Jessica and Natascha straight away. We used to be class mates from theatre school and I knew for sure that they could help me out. Artistic minds always do think a like. They became my crew later on at the event. I also asked Rosalynn if she wanted to sing at my event because she had the voice of an angel. Rosalynn agreed even though the song I chose was a bit challenging in her mind. But I knew she could do it. I chose a song from the Phantom of the Opera. Who doesn’t love that film? It was perfect for Halloween and it still somehow had that elegance that fit well to Lolita. So once Rosalynn was found I still needed a male singer. Luckily, during summer, I found the right guy. Together we all met up once in a while to practice.

Once that was sorted I needed to look for dancers for my intro act. I can tell you that this was one hell of a task. Dancers are expensive. Fact! Even the amateur ones asked for a lot of money for the hours they needed to practise and perform. Luckily I knew someone who was a great inspirational dancer. Romario. He performs every year at Halloween Fright Nights in Walibi. We used to go to the same school together too and worked together on a play from the Nightmare before Christmas. He did the choreography and me and the rest danced. I was looking for something new age and experimental and he had it.
Because we couldn’t find more dancers who wanted to help for free we ended up going back to our old school and asked all the dancers there. Keep in mind that we only had 6 weeks left before the event took place. Luckily there were lots of people interested so we had an audition and the best 6 were chosen. I was super happy that everything was finally going well. To my dismay three already called off a week later. I was in tears. But we kept practising with the rest of the group hoping that everything was going to be okay.
Later on two more called off a day before the event. One of them being Romario. I never knew I could spit fire until that moment, but the show had to go on. I was aware that things could go wrong and they always do. That´s part of being an organiser and it keeps you on the edge. Not sure if this will have benefits for me later on in my life though. Luckily everything turned out fine on the day. I was super glad and proud of the dancers and also of Romario for teaching them the moves in such a short amount of time. Respect!

Because I love a bit of edge and creepiness I asked my sister and her friends, who worked at the Amsterdam Dungeon, to help me out with some scare acts. As I recall Walibi has something very similar and I always get creeped out when I’m there. But somehow I always find myself going back for more. I’m pretty weird I guess. I just love the adrenaline it builds up in me. Of course I needed creepy monsters to creep the freak out of my guests. Who wouldn’t want that. Everything freaky, creepy and spooky was on my list for Hallows Eve. This was seen through out the whole event as well as in decoration and food.

Every party needs music. That's a fact. It keeps everyone in a good mood and if you add a metal jazz band you get the same effect only a 100 times better. I was originally looked for something Lolita related but was unsuccessful in finding one close to the Netherlands at the time. I still wanted something edgy and dark though. So my first thought was a metal band. But I knew that not everyone liked this kind of music. So I looked for something in between and there I found the band Fortune Cookie Dough. And also to my pleasure we were practically neighbours, so travel was no issue. Lucky me. The band leader was Lucas and he was very enthusiastic about playing at Hallows Eve and wants to come back next time.

I still wanted another music act. I happened to be chatting to my friend, Natasje, a few months before about the event and she gladly wanted to help me but wasn't sure how. She did tell me that she was in a band before but they had broke up. So I asked if she would like to play her guitar and sing at the event and she gladly agreed. She sent me a audio draft from her song Autumn Leaves and till this day its still stuck in my head. I sometimes find myself humming it or even singing it.

Some of the looks Kimmy created
Like every Lolita event I needed to have a Fashion Show of my own. But not just any old fashion show. I wanted a horror fashion show walked by the living dead and monsters whilst wearing pretty clothes.
Me and my mum started a Lolita fashion line together called Christeline and wanted to promote it on the fashion show. Together we began collecting beautiful materials for the outfits at markets and material shops in Amsterdam, Maastricht and Almere. We had a few designs in mind and went for a cute, classy look. We wanted to make the clothing for mostly bigger sizes because there are a lot of Lolitas out there that don’t fit brand dresses. Of course we also made them in smaller sizes to indicate that these can be made too.
We needed 10 models to model the outfits we made one of which was a kondona outfit for a male.
I scouted for models online and soon found a group of girls and a guy that wanted to help me out. I was really happy. Thank you again everyone for your dedication. You all looked amazing.
But I wasn’t done yet. After haven found all the models I puzzled over the looks of the monsters I wanted to portray. I needed a make-up artist but I didn't know anyone who could help.
Whilst browsing the internet one day I came across a Facebook page from a girl promoting her new make-up business. I was rather curious about her work so I sent her a mail asking if she could help me with these particular looks. Luckily this was her speciality and she was very eager to help. I gladly welcomed Kimmy to the crew. Kimmy needed to know who was modelling and which look was meant for who so that she could make a face chart and buy the right make-up. I was really happy she was helping me out. I chose a few interesting looks among which a werewolf, a vampire, Frankenstein´s Bride, a broken doll and many more. Kimmy really has amazing talent and if any of you are interested in her work do check out her Facebook page here or contact her via a message.

I remember asking Katie, from Fly Away Fashion, if she could help me out in some way too. We agreed that she would give a panel about Lolita fashion. She had done this kind of thing before at conventions and knew what to talk about. Only this time she wanted to make the panel more interactive and added a discussion so that people could share their opinion about the particular subject.

Katie also bought her Fly Away Fashion stall to Hallows Eve so that all the lovely participants could buy lovely items. But not only Fly Away Fashion was present. Daniela from Cute Lou Couture was also promoting her lovely accessories and apparel. I remember Daniela contacting me out the blue asking to have a stall at Hallows Eve. I was over joyed because she was willing to come all the way from Germany to be at the event along with her friends. She was also very popular on the day. I was very happy to have met Daniela. She really is a kind person and very cute. My mother got on very well with her too and enjoyed the fact that they could speak German together. My mother built up her stall, Gothic Elfen Fantasy, too. She mainly specialized in lovely jewellery and accessories that day. She was very excited to be there.
I hoped that by inviting these shops that this would promote them more. This is one of the main goals of my events. To help one another out. Every stall also gave gifts for the lottery and outfit contest so people had a chance to win something unique.
People not only had the chance to win gifts from Cute Lou Couture, Fly Away Fashion and Gothic Elfen Fantasy but also from many a Etsy seller like; Cute and Candy Clouds by Shelby Cloud, StarChild by Saffron, Princess Dreaming, KreepyKawaii, Peacock Alorum, Black Tulip Shop, Kawaii Deluxe and Hysteria Machine.
I remember being very excited once I had received everything in the post. I already knew people would love these. 

The Day!

The day was nearly upon us when I received an unexpected call from the hall I was renting for the event. I had rented two days for the event so that I could decorate everything a day in advance in order to avoid stress. To my horror the hall called off my first day for another, bigger party. I was furious and demanded to keep the day but no such luck. I was in tears once again. Everything I hoped not to go wrong was actually going wrong and I knew the day later would be a stressful day. We would only have three hours to decorate everything, set up all the food, build up all sound equipment and have numerous sound checks with all acts, practise all acts, handle any questions from the people I was renting the hall from and get dressed, which I nearly forgot.
I knew that I would not be renting from the same hall again in the future. It was just too much trouble.
I could have flipped tables, smashed dishes or made an elephant stomp all over these silly hall owners.
Luckily a group of friends offered to come along earlier along with me, my mum and my boyfriend (Stefan) to help with everything. If it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would have had everything set up in time. I thank you all heartedly for your awesome help and friendship.
The day of the event arrived and once we arrived in Amsterdam we stormed the hall in the cellar. I gave instructions to how everything needed to look decoration wise, while Stefan and his friend set up all sound equipment and helped the band set up their instruments.
Luckily the hall wasn't that big and decorating was done in no time. In between setting everything up many volunteers and friends entered who were helping with the event. Kimmy was the first, as she would be making up the models. After haven made a time schedule, prior to the event, the models came in one by one to get ready. All outfits were neatly hung in the back (back stage area) for them to put on later.
Next came the dancers. They were very excited to be performing later that day. To my horror, once again, Romario forgot to send the music file the day before. So no dance if there is no music to dance to. Luckily one of the dancers, Christel, put together a quick mix. I was overjoyed as I hugged her tight. I was so glad she did that. After haven experienced many horrific moments I seriously asked myself if I wasn’t going to have a heart attack from all these last minute surprises. I just shut myself off and concentrated on what was important and what my back up plans were, should something not work out.

The next people to arrive were the actors. I gladly welcomed Dorry, my sister, Anwar and Roxanne. They merely asked for a quiet corner to get ready and informed me that I will be able to enjoy a bloodbath later on. This was a hint to Dorry and Roxanne’s bloody act. They were two brides to be married to the same man. Together out of sorrow and revenge they killed off their future husband and thus appear at Hallows Eve after their killing.
My sisters act was a mad widow/cleaner suffering from schizophrenia or MPD (multiple personality disorder). Its always fun to play a medieval mad person.
Anwar played the character of the demon pumpkin king. He once ruled these lands when he was alive. He was a cruel king that never showed mercy upon any living soul.
I was very excited to see their acts later on and I knew that the guests were in for a surprise.
Bit by bit everything was coming together nicely. Nearly everyone had arrived and we were finishing last minute things. Daniela from Cute Lou arrived nicely on time as she, and her friends, were staying at a hotel across the road. She had already acquainted herself with my mum. She was very surprised that I could speak German too and was glad just in case she didn’t know what to say in English. Katie was a little late to arrive but had everything set up nicely on time. As the events opening time drew nearer I became more and more nervous. I was worried that not everything would be done in time or that everything would go wrong.
Luckily I was reassured by everyone around me. This gave me courage and made me strong throughout the day.

We had another half hour before the opening would take place when the magazine press came to see me. A few months before I was contacted by Gato magazine, Mari and Rei. They had found out about my event via a post on the Kawaii Deluxe website about the event. They were very much interested in a interview and to make a report of the event in their magazine. Next to that they offered me a sponsorship partnership with Gato magazine. I of course accepted. We had a quick little interview while being asked about why I was organising the event. They also stayed and took pictures of everyone.

Soon it was time to start so I ushered everyone, from the acts, behind the curtain to the back stage area to wait until it was their turn to go on stage. All acts were a surprise of course, especially the fashion show.
I made one last minute check and gave the thumbs up to Jessica and Natascha who were my crew. The had been keeping everyone upstairs while we were applying last minute touches to everything.
I then also hid behind the curtain and waited until everyone had taken a seat. Once everyone was down stairs Jessica made the introduction announcement and called on the first act. The dancers.

The music started and before I knew what was happening the dance came to an end and everyone applauded. It was then my turn to go on stage to give my introduction speech. I had one of my many nearly crying moments when I beheld everyone starting up at me. I was just so happy to see that so many people had come to the event. I saw many friends but also many new faces. It really meant the world to me. I welcomed everyone and informed them of the days schedule and what they could expect. I also let them know what that general safety rules were and where to find drinks, food and rest rooms. When I was finished everyone applauded once more. I really couldn’t help but smile very broadly.

Soon after the acts fell into place without many issues. The first act was Katie's panel. I didn’t get to hear much of it as I was very busy back stage helping the models out and being a support to everyone that needed it.
Apparently it took a while before the guests were warmed up but once the first question was asked everyone joined into the discussion. Katie did a great job!
A short break followed after Katie's panel and very soon after the horror fashion show took place. I was most anxious about this act. For me this was one of the highlights of the day, next to the Phantom act by Rosalynn and Daniele. I had planned it out into every detail from outfits, to make-up to the way the model's walked. They were monsters after all.

Jessica gave the announcement and Stefan started the music. I had chosen a very good piece to walk to in my mind. It was a house/industrial mix which sounded creepy all the way through the act. Perfect for the model's. Alexandra was the first to walk. She was a zombie and I heard from people afterwards that her walk was one of the best. She really did look amazing. One by one each model walked up and down the catwalk with me and Rosalynn in the rear. We walked one more time together while everyone applauded. We took out bow and after a dozen photo's the act was complete. I couldn't have been more proud of everyone and I could see from the audience's face's that it was very much enjoyed.
All models who didn’t have another act got redressed and took part of the event for the rest of the day. Rosalynn and Natasje on the other hand got ready for their acts later that day.

In between the acts there were little breaks to give everyone the chance to chat, eat gruesome food, take pictures at the photo booth and be freaked out by one of the actor's. They were very popular. I saw many people taking picture's together with them. I also made sure to ask if they had fun and if they needed anything. Nearing the end of the event they left earlier in order to walk in the zombie apocalypse that evening, which was a great success. All of Amsterdam was in the Halloween spirit that day.
 I didn’t get much time to interact with friends but I did make sure to ask everyone a 100 times if they were having fun or if they needed anything. I wanted to be sure everyone was comfortable and at ease. I also encouraged them to snoop around at the sales stands to see if they found anything nice. To my luck the sales were a great success and Katie, Daniela and my mum will definitely be returning next year among many others.
As every event there was a group picture. How would anybody know that it actually took place if there was no group picture?

It was time for the next act. The other favorite of mine. The Phantom of the Opera. The lights were dimmed down and a soundtrack of Big Ben chimming was heard throughout the whole hall. Slowly, as Big Ben struck to 12, Rosalynn walked onto stage wearing a wonderful black gown with a candle in hand. When the striking of the bell tower ceced Rosalynn began to sing the first part of angel of music. Rosalynn sounded wonderful singing this song and I could see the audience enjoying it too. Not long after a new song begun and Rosalynn sung anew. This song really gave me the chills backstage. Then it was Daniele's turn. He walked from behind the curtain and joined in with the song. When the song came to an end there was a great applause. A very well deserved applause. Rosalynn and Daniele did so well. I really couldn't have been happier.

Later on it was time for the outfit contest and the table with gifts was bought to the front. One by one numbers were chosen from the box. Nearly everyone received a prize. Then it was time for the outfit winners.
I called Daniela and Katie to the front to announce the winners. They and my mum were the judges and made sure to study everyone in order to find three winners. There were three prizes to be won. Everyone pinned their ears and the third prize went to....Jen from Germany! She wore a wonderful Gothic outfit and she was super happy with her prize. She won a lovely plush toy by Princess Dreaming, cute wrist cuff’s and a gift card to spend at Black Tulip Shop. The second prize went to...Eveline! Eveline made her own JSK covered in bats. You could see that she had put a lot of effort into her outfit and she really deserved her prize. She had won a bat scarf by Cute and Candy Clouds, a pair of wrist cuffs and a gift card to spend at Black Tulip Shop. And the first prize went to........ROWAN! The judges had decided that she was the best dressed. She received a fawn flower headpiece by Hysteria Machine. By the look on her face she didn’t expect to win. She was over joyed when she received her prize.
It was a lot of fun to see everyone win a little something and even if you didn't win anything there was a goody bag handed out to everyone at the end of the day. Nobody left empty handed.

It was time for a music act. Stefan helped Natasje set up her amplifier's and microphone while she tuned her guitare. I knew this was going to be a fun act. Things had become less stressful for me so I took a seat in the audience to watch her performance. She sung some really wonderful songs among which Autumn Leaves. I also liked her sweet Lolita song. In the song she mentioned all the cute and sweet things that a sweet Lolita is made out of. She mentioned some very tastey treats. I would love to sing this together with her some day. It would be a lot of fun.
The big finally had arrived and it was time to announce Fortune Cookie Dough. By the looks on their faces you could see that they were ready to rock. And my they did. We had been having a lot of trouble with the hall owners, who were at the bar upstairs, that day so the band played as hard as they could. Unfortunately they could only play three songs which definitely calls for an encore for next year. Their music was awesome and people even got up to dance. It was so cool to see. Sadly their act ended too soon and also the event. As soon as the last person left everything needed to be cleaned up as quickly as possible. Luckily it's easier to clean up than build up.

I remember when I was finally home I couldn't shake the feeling that it was finally over. Everything I had been working so hard for had been successfully executed. I felt very proud of myself and everyone who helped me out. I want to thank everyone who helped make this event possible. Please know that none of this would have been possible if none of you helped. I'm also so thankful that my mum and Stefan supported me so much before the event. I also want to thank all the people that came! I hope you had a blast and hope to see you again next year! I'm sorry if you helped and I haven’t mentioned you but do know that I am grateful for your help nevertheless. Thank you everyone for making Hallow's Eve possible. Thank you for making one of my dreams come true!

Bonus will follow soon. A video of the Horror Fashion Show! Dont miss it!