Ok, you guys convinced me to post this early. Happy Halloween!
During the following week, Joshie and Benny were getting more and more excited about the haunted house and wanted to know if there was anything else they could do.Over the next few days, I gave them several minor tasks to perform and then I thought of something else they could do.On Friday, I asked Benny to get the clothes he’d worn the previous year when he was the scarecrow.I had him put them in the rec room, and after dinner, I had both boys ride with me to the farm of a family friend so we could collect a few items we would need.When we returned, I had Joshie and Benny help me carry those items to the rec room so we could stuff the scarecrow.
We did it outside because it was a messy task.We duct taped a rubber boot to each leg of the pants and Benny held them up as Joshie and I stuffed them.We also used duct tape to fasten a work glove to each arm of the shirt before stuffing it, and then we used both a belt and suspenders to connect them together.We also stuffed the small burlap sack Benny had worn over his head the previous year and pinned it to the shirt to hold it in place.We also pinned a hat to the scarecrow’s head so it wouldn’t blow off later, after we’d set it up.When we finished there was hay all over the ground, so we were glad that we hadn’t done this indoors.Now that it was completed, we looked it over and the boys commented.
“Not bad,” noted Benny.“Once it’s set up, I doubt if anyone will be able to tell if it’s real person or not, unless they poke it.”
“Yeah, I can’t believe how much it looks like Benny,” added Joshie, “cuz they’re both missing a brain.”
“Very funny,” replied Benny.“I’ve got my diplomas from elementary and middle school to prove I’ve got a brain.How about you?”
He was referring to the fact that the Wizard of Oz had given the scarecrow a diploma as a sign that he had a brain.
Now that we’d finished assembling our straw man, we kept it in the rec room for now, and then I had them help bundle several cornstalks together into two stacks.Once we were done, we placed those items on either side of the picnic table, the same as we’d done the previous year.After we finished doing both of those things, we were ready for Joshie and Benny’s friends to arrive the next day so we could set up the rest of the props and go through the trial run.
On Saturday morning, I had Joshie and Benny help me make sure that everything was ready to take outside and put into place, and then we double-checked to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything.Pop was also making sure that he had finished everything he needed to do, so I felt we were all set.
After lunch, Dion and Brandon loaded the boys into the SUV, and then they went to pick-up Revin before heading to the cider mill.As soon as they took off, I went outside to help Pop run the cable from the roof of the family room to the apple tree, since this was something I didn’t want the boys to help with.
We were just finishing up tightening the cable when their friends started showing up, so I asked them to wait until we were done.As soon as that was taken care of, I had the boys help me carry out the items we were going to use outdoors, and then Danny and Pop worked with them as they put everything in place.
While they were doing that, I walked through the house to make sure everything looked good and nothing was out of order.Once I had reviewed everything, we just had to wait for the others to get home so we could have dinner together.After we’d eaten, the boys would get dressed and move to their designated locations for the trial run.
Dion called when they were ready to head home, which gave me a heads-up so the younger boys wouldn’t see anything when they got back.It was also when I asked Danny and Pop to run out and pick up the pizzas. Dion, Brandon, and the boys arrived home before they got back, and they came inside carrying several gallon containers of cider and multiple boxes of donuts.
“I figured that while we were there, we should pick up some cider,” said Dion, “and then we stopped to get some donuts to go with it.”
“Some of the boys might want to have cider with their dinner,” I replied, “and then they can have the donuts for dessert.”
When Danny and Pop got back, I called all of the boys to the dining room.“Ok, we’ve got cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, and pizza with sausage and banana peppers, and you can choose whatever you want.There’s Caesar salad and garlic bread to go with it, but if you don’t like those items, we have potato chips, Doritos, and Cheetos you can fill up on.You’ll also have a choice between cider, soda, and water to drink, and there are donuts for dessert, so dig in.”
Once they filled their plates, everyone chose a different area to eat.Most of the family stayed in the dining room, while Joshie, Benny, and the other boys took their food out to the rec room to chow down.And as soon as everyone finished, I told the younger boys what to do next.
“Dress warmly because you’ll have to wait outside while we finish getting the house ready.When everything is set, I’ll come out and prepare you to go through the Haunted House.”
While they were getting ready, Brandon and Dion went outside to line up the vehicles for me, while the rest of us were getting dressed.When they had the vehicles situated, they came back inside and Brandon took the younger boys outside to wait, while Dion stayed in the family room with TJ.
As soon as Brandon and the boys exited the house, I helped Pop carry out the last prop that needed to be set up inside.Once our helpers were dressed in their costumes, we went to our designated places.Those assigned to a location outside attempted to move there as stealthily as they could so the others wouldn’t see them.I, on the other hand, didn’t have to keep from being seen and walked down to the end of the driveway so I could form the boys into groups before they began their journey.
Although we hadn’t done it for tonight, on Halloween we were going to run a rope from the tree on the front corner of the property and attach it to the portable basketball hoop beside the driveway.We would then attach blankets to the rope in an attempt to keep those waiting from seeing what was going on, even though they would be able to hear most of it.
“Hello, my pretties,” I said as I greeted them.
“Poppy, is that you?” asked Wyatt.
“Yes, it is, my pretty.”
He couldn’t tell it was me because I was in costume as well.I had on a mask that was supposed to be a male apparition.It appeared as the head of a balding, old man with long white locks growing out of the side of his head and extending over his ears and down to my shirt collar.His skin was deathly pale and he had deep-set eyes and a horseshoe shaped mouth that was hanging open, exposing six uneven teeth on his lower jaw.I was also wearing synthetic hands that appeared to be thin, pale, and bony, which enhanced the creepy persona of my character.
“Tonight, I’m here to organize you boys, but on Halloween I’ll be out here to direct traffic, park cars, and organize those arriving.I’m going to send you in pairs so the boys in the Haunted House will get a chance to do this multiple times tonight, like they will on Halloween.I’ll send Tristan and Revin first, followed by Hayden and Hunter, and then Xander and Wyatt will follow them.Brandon, you can go with the last group, if you want or dare!”I then laughed evilly to add to the effect.I noticed that the other boys reacted to my character change and I grinned to myself.
“Yeah, we want him to go with us,” said Xander without hesitation.
“Ok, I can do that,” agreed Brandon with a grin.
“If you will all turn around, you’ll find your first guide.”
Off to the side stood the smallest of our helpers, and he would be the first to lead them.He was wearing grey thermal underwear, grey cloth gloves, and a grey alien mask.He didn’t speak and merely signaled the boys to follow him.On Halloween night he will hold up four fingers to limit the size of the groups before he leads them slowly past our vehicles.
What the first pair didn’t realize was that one of our helpers was lying on the ground in line with the gap between the two SUVs.He was dressed completely in black and wearing black gloves and a black ski mask, and as the boys reached his location, he hit them with a blast of compressed air from the tank we had placed there earlier.Both boys jumped in surprise when they felt the forceful blast of air, and after they regained their composure, the little alien urged them to keep moving.
As they reached the front of the SUV that was located at the top of the driveway, Benny stepped out in front of them.He was dressed in a red and green striped sweater and wore a brown fedora.He also had on a Freddy Krueger mask that showed the burnt and disfigured face of this notorious villain.He also wore Krueger’s leather glove with the long metal fingernails, but in this case the fingernails were made of plastic.
“Welcome to my nightmare,” he said in a low, gravely voice, startling the boys once again.“I believe you know the way from here, but be very careful.I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.” He then released a very sinister laugh before pointing one of his metal fingernails at them, and then he directed it to the path they were to follow.
As soon as that pair had calmed down, they started moving toward the picnic table.The pumpkins the boys had carved were lined up on top of table and on the bench.I’d placed a tea candle in each pumpkin earlier and lit them to add to the effect.There was also a stack of cornstalks on either side of the picnic table, and the same brace was set up that Benny had sat on the previous year, when he was dressed as the scarecrow.
The boys were obviously expecting that someone else was dressed up as the scarecrow this year, so they were disappointed when our straw man didn’t move or say anything.It served its purpose, though, and distracted the boys long enough that they nearly missed seeing the winged monkey coming out of the shadows.It was hunched over as it began moving toward them, with its arms dangling in front of its body and swinging from side to side.There was also a little hop in its stride, and as it got closer it began to make monkey noises.It was actually Pop wearing the same costume that he’d worn the year before.
This caused the pair to move a little faster so the winged monkey couldn’t grab them.As they turned the corner of the house, they prepared to pass by the area where we’d set up the graveyard every year, but this time there was another surprise in store for them.A plastic skeleton suddenly sat up in front of one of the headstones and startled them again, because this had never happened before.
As you’ve probably surmised, it didn’t do that on its own.One of the boys was up on the roof of the family room and controlling it.He was dressed entirely in black and wearing black gloves and a black ski mask, and as they got closer, he pulled on a fishing line and caused the skeleton to react.The fishing line was hooked to a pulley system that Pop had set up, but it wasn’t the only reason the boy was on the roof.There was another task he had to perform, but he wouldn’t be doing that for a few more seconds.
Once the boys got over their shock from seeing the skeleton move on its own, they picked up their pace and moved toward the suspension bridge so they could cross over it.Instead of encountering a ghostly form sliding down the cable toward them, as had happened in previous years, this time an animated 3 foot (1 m) long flying vulture came down the cable in their direction.It was controlled by the boy on the roof of the family room, and as they watched it fly over their heads, they caught a glimpse of something else moving a short distance away.It was another of the boys dressed in a clown outfit and wearing a creepy clown mask, and he was menacingly waving a meat cleaver at them as he raced across the yard and hid behind the apple tree.
In order to get their attention and keep them moving, Danny spoke.Like last year, he was dressed in an old-fashion undertaker costume and was there to space out the groups as they entered the house, in case they’d bunched up along the way.
“Come this way, because there’s much more to see, but you must press this button before you can enter.”
When Revin pushed the faux doorbell, a glowing eyeball opened and greeted them.We’d used this same animated device last year and I wasn’t sure if the boys would want to use it again.However, they concluded that since it rotated six different greetings it would be highly unlikely that the visitors would hear the same greeting as the year before.
Danny then opened the door for them and they went inside.As they entered the rec room, they saw a crate on their left that was filled with synthetic rotting pumpkins that were covered with plastic spiders and cockroaches.There was also a wanted poster displayed on the end of the crate with a photo of a creepy looking clown’s face.The poster stated that the clown was suspected of killing the ring master of the circus and chopping up his body.The photo looked amazingly like the clown they’d just seen running across the yard.
There was also a large fluorescent arrow hanging down from the ceiling that let the boys know they should turn to their right.The room was dark, but there were several nightlights plugged into the wall sockets at strategic locations, so there was enough light for them to move around safely.
The next thing they came to was a weathered looking Ouija board sitting on a wooden TV tray, and the planchette, or pointer, was moving around on its own.Behind it was a witch sitting on a chair and she’s holding a bowl on her lap that contained candy corn.Her head was slumped forward and she appeared to be sleeping, but when Revin reaches for the candy, her head snapped up quickly, her eyes lit up, and she cackled.This caused Revin to jump backward.
“Damn, that scared the crap out of me,” he gasped.
“Me too,” agreed Tristan.
Behind the witch and sitting on another wooden TV tray was an old fashion typewriter, continually typing out a message that it needed help.There was an empty rocking chair facing it, and it was rocking back and forth on its own.
At this point, the boys reached the end of the black curtain and were forced to turn to their left, which left them facing an open closet.In it they saw a boy dressed in a werewolf costume with a menacing head.The werewolf’s teeth appeared to be very sharp and there were sharp-looking claws on its paws.It suddenly lurched toward them, but came to an abrupt stop.That’s because it was wearing a metal collar that was connected to a metal chain, although they were actually both made out of plastic, and the chain was anchored to the wall of the closet.Since it was unable to reach the boys, it howled in frustration.
The boys kept moving and reached the pool table next where a coffin set on top of it.They both looked down expecting to see a shark underneath it, but nothing was there, as it was last year.Instead, when they reached the end of the pool table, there was a motion activated, 21-inch LED black and red spider that lept up and landed on a large clump of spider web.
“Shit, they did it to me again,” muttered Tristan.
“Yeah, I didn’t expect that either,” Revin agreed.
They were now ready to enter the hallway that led to the stairs going down to the basement.They walked carefully as they moved along, because they were expecting someone was going to pop out of Grandpa Josh’s bedroom, but that didn’t happen.Confused, they merely opened the basement door and started going down the stairs, but they had to deal with the dental floss spider webs with plastic spiders clinging to them.There were also plastic cockroaches attached to the walls, but they didn’t seem to notice those items.
When they reached the bottom of the staircase, Dracula summoned them over to the banquet table to get their treat.Dad was standing behind the table dressed completely in black and wearing a red cape, and he wore a red demonic mask on his head, with horns protruding from its forehead.We stationed him there to make sure there weren’t any problems and the visitors didn’t try to take all of the candy.
In the center of the treat table sat a blender that appeared to be filled with some sort of green gook.As the boys reached to collect their candy, the blender began to whir, the lid was suddenly knocked ajar, and a centipede popped up through the opening.It was another of the motion-activated devices that we’d purchased this year.
Now that the boys had their candy, they headed upstairs again, and when they reached the top, they immediately heard a very loud roar.They hurriedly glance into the kitchen expecting to see a Minotaur, but it wasn’t there.Instead, one of our helpers was lying on the floor wearing a shark head mask that had two rows of realistic teeth.He was also wearing a grey thermal top with a shark fin sticking up from the center of his back, and he had a grey sack with a shark’s tail wrapped around his legs.His arms were covered so they looked like the fins that extend from both sides of the shark, and he used those to move toward the visitors.
Jumping backward to get away from it, the boys started to move across the foyer, and that’s when they heard the Minotaur’s roar again.This caused them to notice the bars covering the entrance to the living room.This was the new prop that I had Pop make this year.The bars were attached to boards at both the top and bottom to hold it together, and the entire prop was painted steel-grey.When the boys looked into the living room, the Minotaur rushed at them, but the bars caused it to come to a screeching halt.
As the boys instinctively reacted and jumped backward, another boy lept off of the stairway landing and hit the floor behind them with a loud thud.He was wearing a Pinhead mask.(If you’re not familiar with this character, Pinhead is the Cenobite demon guardian of Hell.He’s been called to earth to punish humans and he’s an avid devotee of the art of torture.)
Seeing Pinhead, the boys to rushed toward the front door, but before they got there the door to the family room opened and out popped the alien with two mouths, one inside the other.Both mouths contained razor-sharp teeth and the boys could hear the puppies barking and growling at the alien creature.We’d placed the puppies in their cages and set them in the family room, and Dobby and Flash obviously didn’t like the looks of the alien either.
As the boys raced out the front door, they stopped to catch their breath and suddenly felt water hitting their bodies.They assumed it must be raining, but that’s when they noticed the boy wearing the cobra head mask rearing up on their left.The boy was dressed in a brown sweat shirt with his arms tucked inside the top, and his lower body was covered with a brown, cloth tail.As he sat up, he fired the squirt gun he was holding that was connected to a tube that led to the cobra’s mouth.This was to simulate the cobra spitting its venom at those leaving the house.
This caused the boys to move down the sidewalk thinking the activities were over, but Joshie leaps off the porch wearing a Michael Myers mask and holding a plastic knife.As he moved toward them, he lifted the knife in the air, but didn’t speak, and this caused Tristan and Revin to race to the end of the driveway, where I was stationed.
The parents of some of the boys helping us had also showed up with their younger children, and the parents went through the Haunted House with them so they could see what it was like.Once everyone had gone through the Haunted House, I decided to ask them what they thought of it this year.
“That witch scared the crap out of me when I went to grab some of the candy,” admitted Revin.
“Yeah, but the big spider scared me the most,” added Hayden.“I even screamed.”
“I was watchin’ for the scarecrow to move,” one of our helper’s sisters told us, “and I almost didn’t see the Flyin’ Monkey.It was almost ready to grab me when my brother pushed me so I’d keep moving.”
“There were a lot of scary things,” stated another sibling of one of our helpers.“You had a lot of new stuff this year.”
“Yeah, and you mixed everything up so we didn’t know where the stuff would be,” stated Wyatt.
“Yes, we wanted you to be surprised, even when we used the same characters and devices that we’d used before.”
“The shark was neat.I almost walked into its open mouth,” another sibling offered.
“I thought that big bird flying over my head was the scariest,” admitted Xander.“I think I might have wet myself a little when I saw it.”
“So, you think the other kids will like this year’s Haunted House when they come here this year?”
“Yeah!” they all screamed.
“It was way scarier than last year,” confirmed Hunter.
“I thought it was pretty amazing,” stated one of the parents.“I’m impressed that you go to all this trouble every year.”
“It has become a family tradition, and I have a feeling the kids living around here would be disappointed if we didn’t do it,” Dad said after removing his mask.
“Mr. Currie, I didn’t know that was you,” one of the mothers stated.“You were my principal in middle school.”
“It’s nice to see you again, and I have fun doing this with my family and their friends.”
“And now we just have to do it again on Thursday,” I concluded.
Now that they’d given us their feedback, the parents who showed up took their sons home with them, and then Brandon drove the other boys home, including Revin.We felt good that this had gone off so well, and now we were ready for Halloween night.
The younger boys were still pretty hyper as we went back inside, but we quickly told them it was time to get ready for bed.Before he went upstairs with the other boys, however, Xander stopped to speak with me.
“I’ve never seen nothin’ like this before and I thought it was pretty neat.”
“So, it didn’t scare you?”
“It scared me a bunch of times, but I still liked it.”
“Good.I’m glad you did,” I replied, and then I sent him upstairs as well.
None of the boys slept alone that evening and no one had any nightmares or bad dreams, at least none that I heard about.
During the first three days of the school week, some of the high school students told me they’d heard about this year’s Haunted House and were looking forward to coming to it on Thursday.Dion said he’d heard the same types of comments from the kids at the middle school, and Wyatt and Xander told me a bunch of kids said they were coming to the Haunted House when they were on the playground.It appeared that we were going to have a good turnout.
Halloween night was a little hectic.As soon as we arrived home, we had dinner first, while at the same time attempting to finish up a few other tasks.When the meal ended, Brandon took the younger boys out trick-or-treating, and he stopped to pick up Revin on the way, while the rest of us were getting ready for the Haunted House.Quite a few cars showed up early, so I was glad there was a large open field across from the house where we could have them park.While I was doing that, my little alien friend was making sure our visitors didn’t go in groups larger than four or five, so it wouldn’t be too crowded.
The evening proceeded fairly smoothly, and I didn’t hear of any major mishaps during the night, but I heard a lot of favorable comments as our visitors were leaving.I guess the Haunted House had lived up to the hype that was spreading around about it earlier in the week.
When the last of the visitors had made their way through the Haunted House, we closed up and everyone began removing their masks.
“That was really fun,” stated one of our helpers.“Can I do this with you guys again next year?”
“Yeah, me too!” some of the others shouted out.
“Just be sure to stay in touch with Joshie and Benny and they’ll let you know when we’re ready to get started on next year’s Haunted House.”
Now that they had shown an interest in doing this again, I was pleased that I would have an experienced crew to work with next year, but now it was time to move on to other things.Tomorrow was the first of November, which meant we were moving into the holiday season.But there were a number of other things for us to deal with before we get to the holidays.