Monday, October 28, 2013

Beware: Jack-o-lanterns bite...

I have never enjoyed being frightened. Sure, I have watched a few scary movies in my day but my extremely vivid imagination has often punished me for viewing them. So I have ceased watching things that cause my imagination to go bump in the night.

My reactions to being scared mirror a much beloved Forrest Gump saying; they are "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get". One Halloween, in particular, is a excellent example of my disdain for being frightened and the resulting reaction to being scared witless.  It was the day of my elementary schools PTO Halloween Carnival. I was in the first grade at the time and had waited giddily all week for this day. All the students were dressed in festive costumes - I had decided to be a jack o lantern for the season.  There was food, fun, and much frolicking until it was suggested that we visit the haunted house.

Now each booth or area at the school carnival was designed by a specific grade level. Most of the activities were age appropriate; except for the fifth grade Haunted House. Yes, those sadistic fifth graders just couldn't resist terrorizing us lil ones. The dark foreboding sheets hung down from the outdoor corridor. Eerie sounds and smoke wisped across the school courtyard. The sounds of terrified children stabbed the cool autumn air. That was no place for a little jack-o-lantern like me.

One of my friends desperately wanted to enter into this Fifth grade House of Terror, and of course she didn’t want to go alone. So, she convinced me and one other girl to come with her - I remember thinking that this was probably not the wisest choice I had ever made in my young life. But there we stood, a Jack-o-lantern, a ladybug, and a cowgirl, at the precipice of elementary school hell. We had decided earlier that if we held hands it would make things less scary - oh, the innocence of youth, eh? Hand in hand we shuffled in. Within minutes my two other compatriots melted into crying, gnashing of teeth, and I was forced to take the lead. The only way out was to go through the darn thing, and I was forced to drag them out of this nightmare.

At one point we had to crawl through a tunnel. Inside this tunnel was a hand that would grab you. Now I can go on and on about how this takes groping to a whole new level, but I would be digressing.  As I crawled through the tunnel, I met the hairy hand, and it grabbed me. I don't think the poor child connected to the hand expected what happened next.  Needless to say, I went berserk, insane really, to be fair. I began to kangaroo kick at the wall, punch at the hand, and finally, I bit down - HARD . This struggle continued for about 2 minutes. As my mania receded I began to hear a wailing that was not my own. From behind the curtained wall shouts rang out. "Ah! OW! Hey KID! Somebody help! Stop Biting! HEEELLLLLPPPPP!"  Sensing that I had wounded my attacker, I jerked the shaking bodies of my friends out of the tunnel, and began to run towards the only daylight I could see. We reached the blessed light of day and collapsed on the grass. Pale and shaking I glanced up and beheld a roughed up fifth grader emerge from behind the black curtains. In his back pocket was a hairy hand. Sniffling he was escorted over to the nurse, who gave him ice for his severely bruised hand and chest. The nurse asked "What happened?" To which he replied, "some kid punched and bit me in the haunted house when I grabbed them." Stifling a chuckle, the nurse's response was, "well you learned something didn't you?"

Yes, yes he did and so did I. I walked away that day with the knowledge that I don't do scary. And apparently, for the health and safety of others I shouldn't do scary.
You see even the sweetest of pumpkins have a little bite to them…especially if the pulp is scared outta of them.

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