Skippy and I spent the weekend in Tucson for the All Souls Procession. I picked her up at the Phoenix airport Friday night, and we drove to Tucson Saturday morning. On our arrival at the Hotel Congress, we heard the evening’s band rehearsing down in the depths of the hotel venue. We both immediately recognized the unmistakeable sound of That Train Song by Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, from our home state of Indiana and my hometown of Nashville. We had no idea they were playing in Tucson, let alone in our very hotel! So of course we went to the show, and talked with them afterwards.

After the concert, we tried to go to sleep, but our room was apparently nestled just above the club’s 10,000,0000,000 watt subwoofer, because the dance music started and vibrated our entire room like testing day at the dildo factory until 2am. I tried earplugs, but I sleep on my side and they just transferred the vibration directly into my inner ear. Sleep came quickly once the music shut off and the party moved elsewhere.

Sunday was procession prep day. After a final run through the craft store, we settled in to put ourselves together. First, Ashlee dog became a skeleton. I ordered some dog-friendly spray paint beforehand, and used a cup and a brush to create the look. I’ve never painted a dog before, but I think she turned out pretty well, especially since she wasn’t exactly excited to have me brushing smelly stuff all over her.


I had spent the previous week making a skull mask. I Googled instructions for making one, and this was one of the top hits. It looked simple enough to attempt (I’ve never made a mask before either), and appealed to my inner nerd/tweaked my nostalgia bone. Here is the outcome of several hours of effort.


I meant to get a big cloak to wear, but I waited too long and everything was sold out for Halloween. So, I got a cheap little hoodie shirt instead.


Skippy did her own makeup, based on a tutorial she found on Youtube. It took a couple of hours, and I had to do the hot-glue work on her headband, but here’s the final product.


Amazing, isn’t it?

We hiked a few blocks over to the parade starting point at the recommended gathering time of 4pm. Ashlee was an immediate hit, and based on the sheer number of comments, photo requests, and people posing with her, painting her is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

Seriously, wherever we went, a crowd gathered and people took photos non-stop. They would notice Ashlee and stop to take a photo, then notice Skippy and take another photo. Sometimes I got asked as well, but not nearly as much as the other two. Here’s the typical view we had while waiting for the parade to start.


We arrived way too early, as we had to wait several hours for the parade to begin. However, arriving later would have meant missing the sunlight and being able to see other people clearly. Once it got dark, it became difficult to make out costumes and facepaint. And that would have been a shame, because there were some very well done costumes.

We managed to stay with the procession for what felt like 10 miles but was probably closer to 1/2 mile. We stayed on the edge of the parade to give Ashlee plenty of room, which also put us in front of the parade audience. I enjoyed watching as people on the sides looked through the people in the parade and then saw Ashlee. So many sudden smiles! Also, lots of little kids were freaked out by my mask. It was awesome.

We spent most of our time on the righthand side, but when we determined that it was time to make our exit, the nearest cross street was on the left. We made our way across slowly, impeded by the entire parade stopping and starting several times. Right when we hit the left side, the parade stopped again. A watcher who looked to be in his late 20’s looks at me and says “…is that from Zelda?? AWESOME!”

We dropped out of the parade and made our way back to the hotel, gathering more comments, complements and AWWWWWs as we went. Once back in our room, it took a good 45 minutes of scrubbing to get all the makeup off. I had painted a mask with eyeliner, and I ended up going to dinner with some of it still around my eyelashes. I looked like a bearded hipster glam rocker lumberjack or something like that.

Next year I’m planning on making a new mask, but that’ll have its own set of posts. We’ll probably go to the parade gathering a little bit later and finish the whole procession.