Hey, guys, what’s up! I hope you had a wonderful and safe night last night. I know mine was absolutely amazing. It started at 6am PST and I got back home at exactly midnight because, like in Cinderella, I will turn into a grumpy old man after that. It’s bedtime.
This Halloween ended up being quite the rollercoaster. I learned a lot, too. I learned a lot about the work ethic that has been instilled in some of my students and also that of their parents. I learned about that some parents are really shitty examples for their kids and that’s why they’re really shitty kids in class. I learned why some kids lose their magic. It was a really interesting, eye-opening experience this year.
Let me tell you about my night.
I am a teacher in a small school and I have my own two-story building of which I am in charge. Due to the fact that I have this massive theatre to my disposal, I am able to put on a Haunted House. This was the second year and we had it set up where there were three ways to get through a section of the attraction: One tunnel where you had to crawl; One tunnel where it was so dark that you couldn’t see; One tunnel where you were blinded by flashing lights before getting on an elevator and going down. Then you either went through the Halloween room or the IT room, funneled through a few more and then out past the chainsaw clown.
It was very simple and nicely signed so that there was no way to screw it up. Well, except the feckers who wanted to screw it up. The ones who didn’t want to play along. I gotta say, why did you come? Why come pay money to get into a Haunted House put on by the school if you were going to break stuff, hide, go off course, ruin scares for others, and generally screw around? It doesn’t make it fun and you become the person nobody wants to hangout with.
Think back on some of your favorite Halloween memories. For me, its times when everybody was playing along. If that’s willing to be scared at a Haunted House and enjoying that feeling of fear, it’s more fun when everybody suspends their disbelief and allows themselves to feel like they’re going to die! One little girl last night said to herself “Is this how I’m going to spend the last moments of my life?” and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
For me, that was the most annoying part of the night because it was ruining my fun, too. You’re in MY house and you paid me to scare you… LET ME SCARE YOU!
My next biggest issue was people with shitty work ethics. I had two kids leave during the show and one didn’t even tell me. I learned when I saw him walking away and confronted him. The other got too tired from sitting on the steps making creepy sounds. Seriously. Then 8 students who gave me slips saying they were coming didn’t show up, so I had far less actors, and therefore scares, to work with. I was livid. We pulled it off and had grown women crying, but it could have been so much better if these kids were true to their word. I’m going to call them out on it, too, because it ruined something with my name on it. We were on the front page of the paper, above the fold, and I feel like I gave a sub par performance. That’s my name. That’s my reputation as a teacher and a theatre professional.
The worst case of abandonment was when two sisters (twins) approached me the day before the Haunted House. They were supposed to be the girls from The Shining and had even purchased the outfits. One of the girls came up to me and told me that they weren’t going to be able to do the Haunted House because it was their last Halloween. What? I was so confused. Were they dying? No. Apparently their parents decided that they can’t go trick-or-treating once they’re teenagers and they were 12. 12! I didn’t stop collecting candy until I was, like, 15 and even after that I still went with my family and the other kids. It was Halloween where I could stay up late, eat candy, scare people, and be weird. Don’t take that away from your kids. It’s a special time and it keeps them being creative and allowing themselves to be, well, themselves for a night. Truly and purely. What’s more fun than emulating your favorite character, whomever that may be.
So, not only did these parents rob their children of scaring a bunch of people all night, they took actors away from me and taught them, simultaneously, that it’s okay to ditch out on commitments that you don’t want to do and that creativity is something to be grown out of. Wonderful parenting.
When we did get everything going, we were amazing. We were so good that we had grown men screaming, adult women crying, and children wondering if they were going to die. (“Is this how I’m going to spend the last moments of my life?”). Sometimes, we did too good, though, because the kids who thought they were going to be tough ended up getting scared. This made them upset and they would react to their fear with anger, striking my actors and throwing stuff at them. Sometimes they would tear apart walls in order to get around something they saw early and wanted to be cool. Sometimes they threw candy at us, though, so that was fine.
The thing is, sometimes the parents were with them and just allowed this, even leading it a few times. I was astonished that this is how they would behave in a place that wasn’t theirs. They didn’t make the set pieces or the costumes, but they were fine with destroying them. I had to throw a few people out. My actors, kids in this case, were my first priority and the guests were disrespecting them and the space they worked so hard to create. I can’t allow that.
Afterwards, we were all so tired, but so happy. We overcame issues with the sound, worked together as a team to scare the shit out of people, and had a ton of fun doing it. I couldn’t have asked for a better Halloween.
I hope that Samhain was everything you wanted and more, my Darling Devils. Now let’s start planning for next year, WE’RE LATE!