Saturday, November 05, 2005

It was a graveyard smash

Eric Lippert's zombie tutorial (via Mike) has belatedly reminded me of my own spook-house experience during college.

At Sarah Lawrence every Halloween, they'd bus in a bunch of kids from a local group home for a party and trick-or-treating in the dorms. There was some sort of mechanism by which you could sign up and indicate that you'd be giving out candy...but the night inevitably devolved into packs of sugared-up children careening through each building knocking on every door in sight, barely pausing to breathe between shoveling fistfuls of mini-Snickerses into their pillowcases. One year my friend Matt and I had the misfortune to RUN OUT OF candy; we huddled in his room with the lights off while scores of treat-seeking orphans HAMMERED on the door in succession. We were certain that at any moment they'd just come on through, blasting a big kid-shaped hole in the wall.

Anyway. So one year I volunteered to help usher kids through a haunted house set up on the campus. We commandeered the student-run coffeehouse located then in the basement of one of the grand old Tudor dorms. We had some fake cobwebs, dry ice, a strobe light; we distributed the roles pretty casually. I was some sort of vaguely witchy guide. One spectacularly woolly kid, a long-haired, bearded neo-hippie who never even wore shoes, was our designated Wolfman: this consisted entirely of him taking off his shirt and crouching inside the giant stone fireplace that occupied one wall. ("Raaahrrr," he'd say genially to the passing kids.) Another debonair young gay man was conscripted as our vampire. He wore a tuxedo shirt and a long black cape (both of which I'm pretty sure he'd already possessed for the asking), slicked his hair back, and practiced rising out of a makeshift coffin, somebody's battered footlocker. Hey, it was gonna be pretty dark in there.

Things went fairly smoothly at first, but as the night outside got darker, and the groups of kids progressively more wired up, it went a bit south. This culminated in a girl of about 12 absolutely FREAKING THE FUCK OUT when Dracula loomed before her. "I vant to suck your BLOOOOOD," Drac lisped through his plastic teeth...and said kid responded by SHOVING Drac in the chest as hard as she could, both hands--nuh UH, bat dude! Drac went down like a telephone pole, becoming firmly lodged in the footlocker. He lay there kicking like an overturned beetle as the kids fled shrieking past.

The best part is that Dracula tore his shirt in the process, snagging it on one of the brass trunk that for the rest of the evening we had to listen to a sullen gay vampire bitch about his outfit between tours. "She ripped my shirt! Did you see that? Look at this! Crap, this shirt was vintage, man! God damn it!"

Then later on I was housemates with two drag queens...but that's a different story. Damn, I miss that place sometimes.

1 comment:

erin said...

I know what you mean, jelly bean -- though I never lived in the big dorms, so I didn't give out candy.

Every time I see Havarti cheese, I think of the coffeehouse menu. Go figure.