Sunday, May 1, 2011

Halloween...I Get It, Now!

Originally Posted on October 30, 2009

Let me set the record straight: I am not a Halloween person.

The reasons are simple: I don’t like dressing up unless I’m going to a job interview, a sporting event and the rare fancy dinner party. Oh, wait, you meant costumes? No thanks! I’d rather go to a Halloween party in my street clothes.

C’mon, how many people can be Star Wars characters, superheroes, Presidents, priests, drag queens and soldiers on one evening? Che Guevara, anyone? Why not German Chancellor Angela Merkel? Just dress up as something that doesn’t insult someone’s intelligence!

On Halloween night, kids do their Trick-or-Treat thing and go door-to-door. I’m not into that, either. You may never know with kids today! Have you been seeing YouTube or listening to some of the podcasts? Kids lack the discipline I had when I was a child. But, that’s another contentious debate I’ll keep to myself…

Then, there’s the matter of the Horror/Suspense genre. Ghosts, ghouls, vampires, werewolves, spiders, and various other ugly monsters all scare the living daylights out of me. I’m just not into them, sorry. Sure, I watched Jennifer’s Body and Where the Wild Things Are recently. C’mon, Diablo Cody and Spike Jonze are not Brian De Palma, Rod Zombie or Wes Craven. Now, those three guys make seriously scary cinema!

Why the lame excuses? Not because I’m lame –fine, I’ll own that part! Nor is it due to some religious concepts – though I haven’t been religious in a while.

Ah, but what Halloween has done was to spark some imagination in a creative form. Last weekend, I was mulling over my final project for the Creative Leadership Development course at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota for the following Monday and came up with a brilliant idea.

Look at the photo above. Before anyone says “lame,” think about it! In my current course, we discussed a concept called Serious Play. As a creative competency not only for leaders in cultural communities, it is designed to help navigate through the most complex of challenges for organizations – and creative individuals.

According to Charles Palus and David Horth, authors of the book The Leader’s Edge: Six Creative Competencies for Navigating Complex Challenges, Serious Play helps induce a “light touch of curiosity and a selective relaxation of constraints that can transform serious work.” In other words, the ability to “shake up things” by introducing fun into the workplace or any form of work will help productivity and make things easy to manage in the long run.

In a sense, work dress-up days for Halloween is a form of Serious Play. So are stress balls, Purple Fridays (in reference to the Minnesota Vikings), bad humor (within HR guidelines, of course) and working for Google.

So, what does this have to do with this photo? If haven’t recognized the wooden-chrome-and-animal skin thing with the Apple logo on it, it’s Boomer - yes, my conga drum. The black thing over his head is a stadium blanket. Last Saturday morning, I wanted to figure out what will work for my final presentation – considering I was given three minutes without the use of any technology. I took Boomer out on a drive along the Mississippi River and found a spot. Then, on the fly, I began to take photographs with the drum and the blanket and came up with this ghoulish image.

OK, he’s not sinister, more like Casper the Friendly Ghost dressed in black.

As for the final presentation, I’m still working it out, but I have an idea now. As for Halloween, well, Game 3 of the 2009 World Series is on. As for the photo above, BOO! Get it? I did.

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