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NNSL Photo/graphic

Joe Jr. Karetak is ready to catch some of the gooey blood drippings from Veronica Kidlapik during a special makeup class at Qitiqliq school in Arviat this past month. - photo courtesy of Gord Billard

Making up fun

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Arviat (Nov 23/05) - The time of year when ghosts and goblins come out to play, holds an extra treat for a select group of students at Qitiqliq High in Arviat.

Drama teacher Gord Billard holds a special makeup class every October which is tremendously popular among many at the school.

Students select an image from books on stage makeup and face painting and Billard makes the creation come to life on volunteers, while drama students take notes on the process.

He sometimes allows more-advanced students to sit next to him and follow the steps on their own volunteer.

Fake wounds and serious injuries are always the most popular choices.

Billard says the students have a blast with the makeup, and the fun isn't confined to the classroom.

He says many students like to wear the makeup home and act for their families, while practical jokes spark the interest in some of the more adventurous students.

"Some get a black eye, blood on their nose and cuts on the side of their face and then go home to Mom and Dad with this big story about their terrible day at school," says Billard.

"They always tell them it's a joke before it goes too far.

"I had one student come back to school and tell us all with great pride that he almost gave his grannie a heart attack.

"His grannie wanted to take him to the health centre until he told her it was a joke.

"She was amazed by how real it looked."

Billard says many of the students are attracted to the shock factor associated with the makeup and the attention it brings to them once a year.

He says he always gets a kick out the stories told by some of the more out-going kids, who really enjoy the chance to play a part outside of the school environment.

"We had one group go to the Eskimo Point lumber store with black eyes and other wounds.

"They told these tall tales about falling down at the playground and hitting their faces or being mugged walking down the street.

"They could tell the people in the store were falling for it, and had a big laugh when they revealed it was all just a joke.

"It's a big attraction to have a little innocent fun while, at the same time, having the chance to perform a serious acting role - even if they don't realize that's what they're doing at the time."