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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Maybe we sometimes get a bit precious about our kids.

Frankenstein, Morticia and Lulu the vampire.

Our Deputy Principal thanked all of the dedicated teachers for their generous presence and supervision at the school disco last Friday night and I’m certain she was giving me the stink eye because I was one of the slothful teachers that failed to make an appearance. 

Now I know she sometimes reads my blog so… I really was overseeing my daughter and her new, virile, hormone-charged, seventeen year old boyfriend on Friday night, Janet, dammit.

You know, I really don’t feel one shred of guilt because in the last eight years I’ve put in plenty of evenings at the school; running fete stalls and directing musical productions and plays, etc.

One year my teaching buddy Lisa and I, decided that we would be extra creative and set up a Haunted House for the school fete. 

On the afternoon of the fete we were in a frenzy of decorating our classrooms with fake cobwebs, bats, skeletons and some seriously morbid paraphernalia, when we received a terse phone call from the office informing us that a parent had made a complaint. 

The cardboard ‘gravestones’ we’d painted and placed out the front were apparently far too frightening. We’d painted epitaphs saying “Gertrude RIP 8 years old” and “Alfred RIP 6 years old” on the props.

“Oh for Pete’s sake!” I exploded. “Isn’t that the point of a Haunted House?” I complained bitterly to Lisa. “Kids love to be scared witless don’t they?”

But in fear for our livelihood, we begrudgingly changed them to “Gertrude RIP 87 years old” and
“Alfred RIP 96 years old” 

... and began to question our selection of fete stall and indeed, career choice. 

We enlisted Scotto (Frankenstein) to be the ticket seller and I (masquerading as Morticia) played the part of the sinister guide; leading the frightened children through the dark and menacing house whilst narrating a chilling tale about lost and abandoned children.

Lisa, malevolently disguised as an evil witch instructed her hubby, ‘Mr Pumpkinhead’ to stand at the exit and hand out lollies. 

Somehow I had coerced a reluctant Padraic and Lulu to participate in our corny theatrics, decked out respectively as a mad monk and a pallid, red-lipped vampire.

“Slouch in the corner beside the jars with human parts floating in them,” I instructed Padraic, “and don’t move so that the kids think you’re a dummy; like that one over there with the spaghetti for guts. When I finish my scary story jump up, lunge at them and yell out something disturbing at the same time.”

“Lulu!” I continued, “Lay down on that table and pretend to be dead. Wait for my signal, then sit up suddenly and give a blood-curdling scream.”

Lisa’s job was to crawl around under the tables grabbing kids unexpectedly on the ankles.

Now we hadn’t really thought the entire thing through and we could only safely take groups of about six through at a time. Each grisly session took about ten minutes and by seven thirty, word had spread about the petrifying Haunted House. 

The pack of rugrats lined up at the door, wound around the corner and seemed to go on indefinitely. Hundreds of kids had abandoned the ever popular oval, where all the rides were, and had formed an angry mob hustling to gain access to the Haunted House. Even the parents were impatiently arguing about who was first in line.

Each group of kids exiting the House tore out, shrieking in terror and even though Mr Pumpkinhead tried to chase after them with his bucket of lollies, they were too freaked out to care. They’d just excitedly scamper straight to the end of the long queue and wait for their turn again, telling everyone how AWESOME and FREAKY it was.

None of us got a break all night and by ten o’clock, exhausted and mentally shattered, we closed the mausoleum. 

Lisa had sustained major carpet burns on her knees and I had no voice left. It took me all weekend to recover but scaring the willies out of those kids was seriously the most fun I’ve ever had.