Fish in Costumes – Tales with Tails

With Halloween stealthily creeping up the calendar, pet lovers are enthusiastically joining in on the action. Our pets are our furbabies and they deserve to celebrate holidays too!

In the Northern Colorado Animal Lovers Facebook Group Liana asked, “Do you dress up your pets?”

Images of Corgies appropriately displayed as loaves of Wonder bread, dachshunds as hot dogs complete with mustard and ketchup, kittens as fierce lions, pitbulls with frilly pink tutus, even bearded dragons as adorable vikings filled my imagination.

Alas I do not have a dog or cat in my life right now and am feeling left out of the festivities. With a sigh I replied to Liana’s question in the facebook group “My birds and fish likely wouldn’t be in the spirit this year.”

Liana’s responded to my post “I would pay good money to see your fish dressed up in a Halloween costume!”

Immediately my brain lit up and declared “Challenge Accepted!”

Over the last several weeks I have slowly crafted a plan. Black and white poster boards, check. Towels, check. Fish puns, check. Markers, check.

Hey it’s not what you think! I won’t be plopping my flying fox on a towel and drawing a mustache on him! And I won’t be pulling out the bristlenose pleco to pose in front of the poster boards as a teacher! The snails won’t be lining up as rockette dancers sliding across the counter with tiny tiaras! Just calm down everyone!

No my plan is much, much more difficult…for me. The set up: camera on a tripod. Dark towels draped over the front of the tank to block reflections. Posterboard propped on the back of the tank. Dry erase markers poised.

Perusing through Pinterest looking for fish jokes more times than I want to admit I formed a slick plan. All I have to do is draw part of a costume on the front of the tank, wait for a fish to swim by in just the right spot, then click the shutter. Easy right? Ummm not so much.

First it takes the fish about 15 min to acclimate to the towels and camera (this is when the excessive Pinterest browsing happens). Then they have to swim in the right direction, at the right depth and the right angle. And preferable only one fish at a time. And before 8:00 pm when the lights automatically turn off for fishy bedtime.

I started easy, a simple triangle shaped clown hat with little polka dots and pom pom on top. (Clown Fish, get it?) Swim, swim, swim….click! Dang it – blurry. Swim, swim swim…click! Dang it – turned at the last minute. Swim, swim, swim …click! Dang it – that fish is too small!

Fine how about a shark fin? Swim, swim, swim …click! Dang it – wrong direction! Swim, swim, swim …click! Dang it – fin on the head instead of the back.

Time for a break and a glass of wine and more Pinterest searching. How can I take these hysterical fish puns and draw them simply so my fish can participate in Halloween festivities?

Here are a few of my attempts:

“So-fish-tecated” Bowties and monocles.

“Oscar did you order dinner on-line?” Fishing line with a worm on the hook.

“Fastest fish in the river? Motorpike with a side-carp.” Stick figure motorcycle.

“Angel fish” Tiny glowing halo.

But my favorite theme is space.

Trouter Space.

Like Nasa throwing a party I decided to Planet.

Tiny astronauts with glass bubble helmets. Fish gliding along in rockets. Shooting starfish.

With the black posterboard as the background I created my scene. Moon in the corner, stars drawn on the front and back glass. Little rockets they could swim through. Helmets for the snails. And of course a whale of a sign declaring the fish tank now as “Trouter Space.”  

As a creative I love projects that make me think outside the tank and challenge all my skills. And I want to include everyone in my family, even the fishiest. Mission accomplished! All the fish and I are thoroughly impressed. #OhMyCod.

I am already researching themes for next year. If you hear of any good fish puns, let Minnow.

Listen to the narrated version on the Tales with Tails podcast Episode 3. Aired October 24, 2018.

Available on Anchor.fmApple Podcasts and your favorite podcast app.