Woodstock Farmers Mkt's costume fest attracts scary Stilt Spirit
Hallowe'en Sunday morning this year was bright, sunny, and dry for the Woodstock Farmers Market in the KeyBank parking lot. Children and adults were costumed and masked, and the market was crowded.
Everyone seemed to enjoy looking at costumes â€“ and one in particular drew a lot of attention: A tall, scary, hairy creature walked high on stilts, and raised its arms in frightening gestures, as it approached groups of market-goers.
Some people were questioning aloud just who could be underneath such a strikingly creative costume. No one seemed to know the stilt walker's identity, or even if he or she were an adult or youth â€“ or someone associated with the farmers market.
The scary stilt walker appeared to have a companion â€“ Mark Ginsberg, who happens to be the Woodstock Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) leader. Some assumed that he was just making sure that the skeleton stilt walker was not terrifying children or creating any trouble. But a question to Ginsberg about what role he was playing elicited a clarifying response â€“ "It's Ash, my son."
Ash Ginsberg, a 16 year-old student at the Milwaukie Academy of the Arts (embedded in Milwaukie High School), calls the costume creature he designed and constructed, "Stilt Spirit". "I have been wanting to make a costume like this for four years. I came across a picture like this on social media four years ago, and I recently found some instructions online." And he revealed how he'd made it.
Looking as if it had just emerged from a "haunted forest", its skeletal structure is made from wood, insulation foam â€“ which is like hard Styrofoam â€“ crutches, and stilts. Ash's dad Mark constructed the wooden frame and built stilts, but Ash spent a month and a half ("every single day after school") devising the outer coverings.
The stilts are covered with black fabric. "I attempted walking on stilts two years ago and couldn't master it, but I got the hang of it last summer ." As a result, last year his Hallowe'en costume was a werewolf on stilts.
The arms of the creature, which are crutches, and body are covered with different colors of cheesecloth, expanded in places to have larger holes. "I had to really go at it [the cheesecloth] with scissors."
The skull of the costume is an old mask, originally painted with glow-in-the-dark green that he found at the Goodwill Store in 2018.
"First I painted it [the skull] entirely dark brown, and then wiped almost all of it off with a paper towel. Then I dry-brushed spots with white paint. I found a YouTube video that tutored me."
He purchased materials for the costume at the Dollar Tree Store, Joann's Fabrics, and Home Depot. Overall, he says designing and creating the costume provided "a lot of space for creative liberty."
After the Farmers Market ended on the afternoon of October 31st, Ash went to Hawthorne Boulevard and to Belmont Street to scare pedestrians there with his flailing arms. Later at home while greeting Trick or Treaters, he scared a little boy so badly that the boy fell over backwards.
"His parents came up the [porch] stairs and comforted him, and I took off the mask to show him my face. As soon as he saw I was real, he wasn't scared anymore." And apparently he wasn't hurt by his fall.
"I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day, having been in the costume for a total of nine hours."
Ash tells THE BEE he plans to keep the costume, and wear it at Fairy World, the Country Fair, and at the Portland Comic Con, when these events occur during different seasons.
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