Ghouls take lessons from Kaua’i kupuna

KALAHEO — “Even my son said, ‘Are you going out dressed like that?'” said Etta Costa, vice president of the Kalaheo Senior Center.

“Sure,” Costa replied, “And, even he had to snap a picture before I left.”

Officials and participants at the county’s senior-activity program were celebrating Halloween early on Wednesday, the day that coincided with the distribution of senior produce through the Kauai Food Bank.

At the Koloa Neighborhood Center, Dolly Sugawa-Brierley, Koloa Senior Center president, doffed her knitted jester’s hat as she flitted between conducting the meeting for the senior clients as well as checking with the delivery being made by Bailey Naka’ahiki of the food bank.

“I’m the jester, the judge, and everything,” Brierley said while fetching a broom to complete Betty Kataoka’s costume. “I even have to watch the distribution. We used to have two people from one of the churches, but …”

“I didn’t have a hat, so I just use this,” Kataoka said while trying to make a clear plastic slipcase behave like a mask.

That didn’t work, but could not deter her from parading before an audience of seniors, making sure to emphasize her cape.

“I made it myself,” Kataoka said. “It’s the Dragon Quilt.”

Although Halloween doesn’t shroud the island until Monday, no one told the seniors, as costumes, all of which were created out of recycled materials, blossomed in the South Shore centers, enhanced by the ghoulish creations fashioned out of local backyard harvests, and brought to life by the creativity of the kupunas.

Another senior, made anonymous by her felt mask that was set off by a yellow bonnet, had the full range of accessories, including another white bonnet and a purse, all fashioned out of recycled plastic shopping bags.

“You have to go to Kalaheo,” Brierly said. “They must have a lot of people dressed up.”

At the Kalaheo center, the results of working on jack-o-lanterns, the perfect Halloween accessory, again demonstrated the creativity of the kupuna, as the Halloween icons were created out of grapefruit, jabong (pomelo), and coconut. But not a pumpkin was in sight save the three that watched the proceedings from the rooftop of the Kalaheo Pharmacy.

Anna Rita donned her cow-girl outfit as she worked along-side other volunteers at Kalaheo to prepare the food-bank delivery for the senior-produce distribution.

As the dressed up seniors turned to the more pressing business of lunch, one from Kalaheo ambled to the checking table of the senior-produce distribution.

“Don’t worry. We have enough for everyone. You’ll just have to wait until we call ‘Kitchen,'” she was politely told.

According to Brierly, Koloa Senior Center participants number around 50, although she admits that only between 35 and 40 show up, while at Kalaheo, Costa said their member-ship numbers 35 kupuna.

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