Sunday, October 22, 2006

Halloween is coming

October is one of my favorite months. The weather is typically mild here, the fair comes to town, and the month ends with Halloween, one of my all time favorite holidays. Now that I’m out of collage and theoretically an adult, I don’t go to many Halloween parties. (I need some married friends. I love my friends, wouldn’t trade them for the world. But parties are odd now that I’m married as my friends who are not single, are in somewhat open relationships, and tend to get naked and play drunken debauchery games. While amusing for a while, that’s not much fun when you’re sitting on the sidelines.) So if parties are out, bars are full of singles, and I’m way too old to trick-or-treat (unless I kidnap a small child, but even my cousins are out growing that) what’s a Halloween loving girl to do?

Volunteer work.

I’m friends with several librarians in the area, and I was asked to help out with the Halloween festival on Saturday. It’s sad, I probably spent close to three hours getting ready, but the event only lasted an hour. (My prep time included ransacking my closet trying to put together an acceptable costume because mine haven’t been kid-friendly in several years, so improvises had to be made) I was stationed in a haunted house (more a haunted broom closet) with another guy and my husband. We had the facade of a castle with a window, some dangling bats, three tombstones, a black light, and after some searching, two flashlights.

No instruction at all.

We spent most the time laughing and goofing off because the librarians told the children that the haunted house was really scary and only the bravest should enter (these kids were like six.) After three or four kids we finally worked out a script (okay, I was the only one talking, but my friend laughed maniacally and my husband played a disembodied hand behind a curtain.) Getting the kids back out was the biggest problem. The room was only maybe two yards wide and they had turn around and go back out the door they entered. The solution turned out to be terribly dorky, but worked quite well. When I led the child over to the ‘disembodied arm’, I told them that the dead were rising, then my husband would stick out his hand, holding a bit of candy, and I would urge them to go take it from him. Then, I would ask what the child found, and, as it was always a chocolate eyeball, say “Oh no! His eye, you better run before he comes for it.” This was usually met by wide-eyed shock, and then the child rushed to the door.

Yeah, it’s hard to balance acceptable spookiness with not getting laughed at by small children.

I had a good time though, and I think the children had fun. One little girl dressed like a princess might have gotten a little too scared, and a couple of the kids did laugh at the monster in the castle (my friend,) but most of them jumped at my appearance (floor length black cape, only black lights, and turning on flashlight… oh the magic of a cheap haunted house,) and even the laughing children approached the disembodied hand with obvious trepidation. So over all, our sad little haunted closet was a success.

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