With the SOS haunt going up and coming down in a single day, there’s always a lot of hectic, behind the scenes things occurring. This year was busier and more hectic than years past, so it shouldn’t be too surprising there were even more curious things happening than usual. With that in mind, I thought I’d devote an entry to detailing just a few of these quirky events from Halloween 2010.
Also, most of the following could probably be added to a future You Know You’re Obsessed With Halloween When entry. Let’s face it, you have to be totally obsessed with October 31st and determined to pull off your yard haunt to land firmly astraddle a few of the following hurdles (plus many more) and keep going.
A Gathering of Leaves: Our October was unseasonably warm this year. In fact, we never hit the freezing mark a single night during the entire month. Due to this, almost every tree I encountered was as stubborn as a mule about relinquishing its leaves.
We eventually ended up collecting nine black trash bags full of leaves to spread throughout the display and all but two of the bags were gathered the hard way – by dragging a rake or a stick along tree branch after tree branch, causing each leaf to drop to the ground, one by one. At one point, I even resorted to hand picking leaves from trees.
A Splintery Manicure: I spent all of Halloween night with a splinter, roughly the size of a broken segment of toothpick, stabbing into the delicate skin beneath the fingernail of my left hand’s middle finger. In a hurry, I quickly reached down to pick up a wooden box used in the haunt and greatly miscalculated where to grab it. The force of my hand drove a splinter in the opposite direction deep beneath my nail bed. Ouch!
Since the splinter was wedged tightly between my nail and finger, and it continued driving itself deeper every time I would bump it against something, it was impossible to pull out without a pair of tweezers. The splinter remained under my nail until just around 11:00 pm when I finally had several minutes free to devote to digging it out.
Now I know what the little dude in the Operation board game feels like, eagerly anticipating the tweezed removal of something.
The Muted Sounds of Halloween: It was so busy bringing everything in on time for the display that I totally forgot to setup my CD player. Even worse, I was in such a drained state by the time trick-or-treaters started arriving, I never noticed my favorite Nox Arcana tunes were missing in action. Once I finally realized there was no music playing in the haunt, the night was almost over.
Dust Devil Humor: As the sun quickly made its way lower and lower in the sky, I could feel my back against the wall – there was still much to accomplish and time was no longer on my side. In the midst of this realization, and despite what seemed like the tick, tick, tick of an audible second hand growing ever louder in my head, I was doing my best to create decoratively-horrific cornstalk lean-to’s, otherwise known as shocks throughout the display.
Nature, perhaps sensing my increasing levels of anxiety, decided to get involved. Channeling its wisdom through a gusty breeze, a small dust devil formed right above a shock I had just put the finishing touches on and proceeded to shred it to bits. I like to think of this gesture as a gentle smack to my forehead regarding ways to better prepare for next year, and/or reminding me to quit taking myself so damn seriously in the process.
Mind you, that last sentence is how I look at this event in hindsight. In the moment, however, I was a little too busy to notice nature channeling its wisdom; probably because I was doing some channeling of my own, albeit through a stream of utterances that could never be labeled as wise.
Spewing forth crazy combinations of four-letter words that would have made Redd Foxx and George Carlin proud, I was cussing like a cross between a truck driver, my grandpa and a guy who just got sucker punched in the “grapes” by one of his kids on America’s Funniest Videos!
After my outburst, and with its relatively harmless and somewhat humorous demo job accomplished, the concentrated force of wind dissipated and broke apart as quickly as it had formed, all without affecting anything else in the yard.
A sense of calm restored, I started sounding less like a raunchy nightclub act and more like Linus Van Pelt during his backpedaling repent from uttering the phrase, “If the Great Pumpkin comes.” Mumbling a couple of apologies for my explosive eruption and hoping I had made peace with the gods of Halloween, I quickly went back to work rebuilding the demolished shock.
Light My Fire: Just after dark, the haunt’s almost complete when we realize we’ve yet to light any of the pumpkins or cemetery lanterns. Since we always have a family get together on Halloween and everyone lends a HUGE hand in helping me prep the haunt, my mom took on the task of lighting everything.
About fifteen minutes after agreeing to take charge of the candle lighting, she reemerged from the house, informing us there’s not a match or lighter to be found anywhere; the stoves electric (so we can’t light the candles with it) and the neighbors either weren’t home at that time or they weren’t participating in Halloween whatsoever — porch lights turned off, curtains drawn, etc.
Thankfully, there’s a gas station a couple miles away and my dad was willing to go pick up a lighter for me. A similar situation occurred regarding a cord for my webcam on Halloween night, but I’ll save that story for another time.
These were just a few of the quirky situations and obstacles that presented themselves this year. And while they really weren’t that big of a deal, I wanted to present them in a light that poked a little fun at myself, and hopefully gave you a chuckle in the process.
Of course, when you’re under the pressure of trying to meet the Halloween night deadline, all of these minor things add up. As one thing happens and then another and another, I’m not sure if it’s sleep deprivation or lack of food, or maybe both, but you eventually stop getting frustrated and you actually start laughing amidst all the little glitches and issues.
Halloween day and night prep for the yard haunt is always interesting and there’s never a dull moment to be had. That’s all part of the fun, well that and sticking duct tape to my grandpa’s ass when he’s not looking, until he’s eventually walking around with a giant wad of it stuck to the seat of his pants.