Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Terror-full Halloween

Dear Husband and I like Halloween. We're not fanatics who start planning our costumes months in advance, and we don't even get around to carving a jack-o-lantern every year. But we enjoy a good scare, creative decorations, and watching Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin special with some candy pumpkins.

Six years ago the church and faith-based student center where we go to Bible study started a food pantry. Four or five years ago someone got the bright idea of hosting a haunted house in the big old building to raise money for the pantry. The students build sets, recruit make-up artists and actors (to play zombies, of course), and turn the whole place into a dark and bloody scene of terror. It's great. Me, I'm stingy with my time, so I just show up one night out of the three or four to do make-up and act as a hostess or tour guide. This year I decided to dress up as a murdered doll, complete with Kewpie face and latex slash on my throat. For half the night I lay crumpled in a chair before coming to life and leading the groups outside to the stairway and slide that served as the entrance to the haunted house, which began in the church's basement and boiler room. The second half of the night I crazily and creepily delivered the introduction about the food pantry (1,300 served in the month of October) and the safety rules (no cell phones, watch your pretty little head, etc.). I think the best scare on Friday was the group of middle-school boys who collectively freaked out when they came around my chair and saw me lying there.

The monster rutabaga I bought at the farmers
market last Saturday; we'll have mashed turnip
with our pork chops and steamed broccoli this
week. It was as big as my entire hand in dia-
meter and made eight servings. I find the taste
 of turnips more interesting than that of potatoes.
The next night, DH and I met some friends for spooky storytelling concert at a museum on campus. (We had wanted to hear "Grimm's Grimmest" the weekend before, but we were in Indy for DH's race.) Instead, we heard an international mix of stories, from England, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam. All the storytellers are members of a local storytelling guild. My favorite story, "The Buried Moon," sounded like it had Celtic roots. I said afterward that in another life I would like to be a storyteller. Between my lectures and children's messages, I guess I sort of am, already. The experience reminded me of how my brothers and I would sometimes make ourselves beds on the floor and huddle together to read Scary Stories to Read in the Dark, collected by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated in gory detail by Stephen Gammell. Despite repeated readings, we still scared ourselves silly! I'm tickled the above link replicates some of the stories and illustrations.

Sunday evening I joined another friend at her house for a viewing of The Exorcist, which I had not seen before. It's her all-time favorite movie, one that gets better every time she watches it, because she notices some new detail or foreshadowing. I thought it started slowly but otherwise was a good watch--better than a slasher film. We're talking about watching Rosemary's Baby for our next movie night!

I finally got around to decorating the house on Monday. It had been rainy and windy here, and I figured decorating too soon was just asking for trouble. I put up the last of the glow-in-the-dark cotton for spider webs by the front door and hung a large hairy spider with some fishing line from the storm over over a hook in the eaves. When we open the door to hand out candy, the spider descends about a foot to the height of a child's head.

Speaking of decorating the house, on Saturday I helped a friend build his Lego Haunted House. I should have been working on fellowship applications or on teaching prep or on search committee business, but instead I was poring over book 3 of directions and scrounging around on cookie trays for little plastic pieces. He brought the finished house to the election-watching party we attended to show it off: complete with moving fireplace, trap door to the attic, glow-in-the-dark ghosts, and body parts under "glass" domes.

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