Soundtrack to Life – Happy Haunting – My Big Year

Welcome to week 7. Doesn’t seem like it’s been that long to me. Time just seems to have been flying by as of late. Weeks just melt one into the other. Guess that’s what happens when ya get older. I remember Monday through Friday used to just drag on, but that was while I was still in school. Never mind, I’ve digressed already. I really gotta stop doing that. Aside from this I’m working on a few other stories that’ll go up here with at least one of them being a multi-chapter multi-week thing. Trust me, it’ll be more interesting than this has been.

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Happy Haunting – My Big Year

“Her Ghost in the Fog” by Cradle of Filth

And so I’d been asked to join the Hartford Jaycees. I made it to the next meeting, payed the membership fee and signed the papers. I was to be sworn in at the banquet they hold every year in January. It was a fine afair. Good food as opposed to what we got this year. As expected the gift exchange turned into a war. During the banquet, we hold a gift exchange in which all involved draw lots to see who picks first. That person goes up to the table, takes a gift and unwraps it in front of everyone. When the next person goes, they can take something off the table or take another person’s gift. If someone has their gift taken from them, they can go back to the table or take someone else’s gift. That all works with the “No Tag Backs” policy. If someone takes something from you, you can’t take it back, at least not right now. It was all in good fun and I enjoyed it, but this wasn’t why I’d joined the Jaycees.

Next week, yes, still in January, meetings were held every Wednesday night to plan this year’s haunted house. I was excited naturally. Since I was new to this meant I had some fresh new ideas that perhaps hadn’t been thought of before. Usually, Gary already has at least one concrete idea that is for sure going into the house, and this year was no different. Before announcing it though, he told me that he had me in mind for this room. Basically, I was to be a vampire, dead in my coffin. My slayer would announce that she had just killed me and that they had nothing to fear. At this point, through use of a remote, I’d turn off the main lights. I’d hop out of the coffin and stand in position to be hit with a pin light that would light up my face. Not only that, but he had this in mind to be the big scare of the house. Guess that makes me star of the show. Now I’d have to live up to the pressure.

So we got to kicking around other ideas for the house. I had a favorite of mine, a combined effort between me and another memeber, Ben I believe. The group would walk in and see a man sitting in front of a TV, watching clips from horror movies. We had the “Boogeymen” DVD in mind for this. He’d flip between scenes, making comments as he went. He’d then hit a button on the remote, which would switch between the DVD and a camcorder that was also hooked up to the TV. “Oh! This is my favorite one!” he says. The guests see the camera shaking around in a darkened room, with only bits of light coming in. There is a door. One monstrous hand reaches up and pushes the door open just a bit. What does the camcorder see? The group in the room. It should dawn on them about the time that the monster comes flying out of the closet. Woulda worked great, but it became a matter of how much technical work would go into it. I’d also decided around this time that I wanted to put some real music in the house this year. So, I asked around the internet, and checked out a few bands. One band came to mind as I listened to one of their songs. It was Cradle of Filth. The song, “Her Ghost in the Fog”. It was Bloodbath’s entrance music in PWF. It just sounded perfect. I began downloading their music with the intent of whipping up a good soundtrack for the haunted house. I now own around 7 of their CDs. Sadly, the music never got used, but it was still to be a good year.

I don’t recall doing much in the way of clean up, but we started getting out there in the later months to work. Myself, Lara and Aki helped where we could. My job was mostly moving big things, but I did some basic construction as well. Lara and Aki helped me when possible but also handled a portion of the cleaning. I believe they also helped us grill out on a few days. For the most part, the three of us concentrated on what was to be my room. Using caulk, we glued pieces of pink styrofoam to the black wall in the shapes of bricks. Now, when styrofoam is sprayed with gray spray paint, not only does it take on the gray color, but the chemicals eat into the styrofoam and make a nice brick texture. I also bought several lengths of red satiny fabric to hang from the ceiling. In the end, the room had a nice, coffin-like appearance. When the local paper came through before the house was open, I was summoned along with Lara, Jerry and a few others to appear for pictures. The picture we had taken was myself holding Lara and bending down as if to bite her. If my scanner was up and running, I would put it up on the board for you guys to see. I’m the big scare in the house, a whole room designed for me, and my picture in the paper. This was definitely turning into my year.

My costume consisted of black slacks with a belt, long sleeve fishnet shirt, studded bracelets, plain black T-shirt, form fitting gray suit vest, classic black and red cape and a silver medallion with a red jewel. I paled my face and added some black paint around my eyes, and of course had the professional style fangs. Excellent costume. To add to it all, perhaps 15 minute before I left, I looked up some words in Latin. Enough to form a few sentence, just enough to give the guests a little talking to. And in case they stepped out of line I learned “You’re not funny”, “Idiot” and “Shut up”. I had my share of good scares, but also an equal amount of morons. My slayer was played by four different people on any given day. Aki, Kerrie, and Amy all played that they were the slayer and they had just killed me, saying the curse was over. Lara played it differently. She acted as an indignant member of the household who had lived here peacefully with the other ghouls until myself and the other vampires moved in. It was all in good fun. I had a few favorite moments of the year.

-When the lights went out, I’d smell blood. That is to say, I could make out the various scared noises made by our guests. Whoever seemed to be the most scared would be my target. I’d find where they were, lean over the rail right in front of them and turn on the strobes. I had some great reactions. A lot of people would hit the wall behind them when they backed up. I had one woman break into a frantic dance. Can’t say I’ve ever been so scared that I danced. One girl said she was gonna have nightmares. That gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing that I terrified someone to that level.

-Again, some smart mouthed kids provided ample entertainment. They just wouldn’t shut up….. until I turned on the strobes. They froze and shut up as I addressed them, clearly scared at the vampire with the funny language. When I bid them to leave they did so. And as they got down the hall, they started mouthing off again, mocking me. This, I wouldn’t let slide. I hopped the rail and chased them down, getting one more good scare before they left.

-Aki had been trying to have a cigarette between groups while working with me. She assured me that when the group set off the buzzer in the adjoining hall, she could run from the door to her position in my room before they entered. The buzzer went off, she tore down the hall, hopped the rail and was in position. Excellent. She did this with the following three groups, but as we know, with any risk you run, it’s only a matter of time before it gets you…. The buzzer goes off, I hear her run, she gets in the room, leaps the rail and BAM! Slams her knee into the rail. Nothing serious, but we both had a good laugh about it later.

-Jamison working the Toxic Shock room. Classic gold, I’m telling you. He’d just rant and rave, coming up with ways to mess with people. “Your mother called! She worries!”. And to anyone with short hair “Get a haircut, hippie!” It was absolutley hilarious.

-Since I was the main part of my room, I only left my room to take a bathroom break I believe two or three times that year. It was all on the last night too. I’ll just say stomach problems and leave it at that. However, our bathroom door jams shut, so you gotta be careful on how hard you close it. I did, but someone tried to get in while I was in. I told them I was in there, and he pushed the door all the way shut. Fuck. Thankfully, it was a slow night. I threw my shoulder into the door several times, kicked it, but it wouldn’t budge. So, I stood on the toilet and kicked just above the knob and it flew open….. while a group was in the room. I only missed maybe three groups the entire year, and it was all due to that bathroom.

Another year had come and gone, and now we’re staring down the barrel of October 2003. We already have the house planned and work is already being started. Again, there is a room with me in mind for it, but it’s the first room of the house. We’ll see what this coming year holds.

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com