Saturday, December 06, 2008


It's Halloween time!

WARNING....long story.....could be lots of grammar/punctuation errors...:)

I did a pay forward thing, with my brother Tank and SewLady this year. They had mentioned, when helping me with my haunt of our courthouse, that they would like to stop decorating [hugely] at their house and get their town's museum to host a haunt instead, using their stuff. I said that I would help them out with the layout and such if they had ever managed to accomplish this.

Well this year they did!

Knowing me, I couldn't just let them off with just designing their layout, I had to involve myself too. So I decided that my holiday this year would be in Devon, Alberta, doing a Haunted Museum! It also gave me an opportunity to spend some time with my brother and sister-in-law, whom I've neglected over the years.

My ex [yes we still get along] had a doctor's appointment in Edmonchuk during that time frame and willingly let me cram as much of my haunt stuff into his small car. There wasn't an inch left to spare! We even managed to do some shopping along the way while we were trying to get there. It seems that we did have a few inches left for purchases. After getting lost a few times we did finally manage to find their place...the ex has a problem with listening to directions and everyone knows men do not like to be told where to go?

We managed to unload my stuff into her vehicle and got to visit awhile before Tank got home. My sister-in-law, SewLady, works out of her home doing accounting and sewing [thus her name]. She also teaches sewing and I managed to learn something about it from her while I was there. I found that this old dog can learn new tricks [sewing, that is]! My nephew was also getting married the day after halloween and she has been busy doing alterations on the bride's gown and a bride's maid's dress.

So we had a haunt to build and a wedding to decorate...we had our work cut out for us!

First, SewLady took us for a tour on where the haunt was going to be held. I must make a note to you all that it is a MUST place to see. The town Devon was built for the oil patch workers so they could live close to where they could work. The main museum was built on the original well site, showing the public just what goes on in the oilfields. It even had classrooms to help one understand just what they have to do to get that stuff out of the ground and even if you aren't into the oil industry, the history/displays in that place is amazing! I wished I had taken photos of the place to show you but I'm sure they have a site on the net somewhere. I also got to meet the volunteers that run the place and you couldn't meet a nicer bunch of people! Some even helped run the haunt.

The haunt was being held in the "Braun Hall", an old community center, that had been moved out to the site and was in the process of being set up as an additional museum to the new one. It held some of the hospital equipment taken from the demolition of their old hospital. It was kind of neat to see just what they used way back then. Anyways, this haunt was been held to help raise monies to help keep the lights on in this place.

I had thought that things with the haunt would be ready for me when I got there and there would be LOTS of helpers....all I'd have to do was fine tuning/directing? As things turned out, this haunt was no different than our haunt...all think that its a great idea to host one, just as long as someone else does the work!

The ex made sure he wasn't around to help...he had done his share by getting me there! He couldn't leave fast enough the next day...I guess giving me a lift was help enough.Some things never do change!

Saturday, Oct. 25 th, turned out to be a VERY WINDY [102 mph] day for unloading our stuff at the old hall. On the final load, Tank and I were the last ones through the door. The wind had made unloading very interesting not to mention challenging! Tank had kindly held the door for me and I managed to enter safely but paid no attention to what he might have to go through to keep that door open. Tank is not a small man! A gust of wind was able to hit with such a force that it slammed into the door, driving him off the steps! He was able to twist his body just in time to avoid hitting some huge rocks, landing himself on the ground beside them, but still ended up injuring himself by hitting his vehicle with his knee. Of course no one saw this happen and thus no one came to his aid! The fall managed to knock the wind out of him so he spent some time lying on the ground. The next I saw of him, was him limping through the doorway!

He could have been seriously injured or killed!

Sadly, someone in Edmonchuk, did die in that wind storm! A tree breaking off in that wind, landed on the guy's car killing him instantly!

Thankfully that is all that happened to Tank!

Tank, the trooper that he is, struggled through the pain that he was in and continued to help set up the walls for the haunt! There was only five of us [their son, DJ & future daughter-in-law, MT] to get that place operational for the grand opening on Monday night...only two days away!

First thing that had to be done was move the existing stuff, in there, out of the way and hopefully move it not too far away from where they had been positioned for the museum set-up. One of the big drawback was that one of the volunteers, for the museum, had decided that the floors had to be freshly varnished BEFORE we held the haunt? It was a challenge to move everything without scratching the floor and thoughts of, "what if it snowed or got muddy during the haunt we tell the victims to take their shoes/boots off?" This guy was pretty negative about the haunt happening anyways and did manage to cause us some grief while we set-up/ran it.

Our haunt walls was the biggest problem that we faced for the set-up. This meant having a grid system of wires that had to be installed before the plastic could be hung. Thankfully DJ had already pre-made long rods with clip end loops to stabilize the grid and between him and Tank, they got it hung up. One of the cleaning staff's teenage son came in a little later and helped us tape the plastic walls on volunteered later to help out with manning the haunt. SewLady got to do all of the running around getting stuff that was needed and helped put together/dress her mannequins for haunt placement. We worked hard!

There was LOTS to be done and we were all getting pretty exhausted, so they decided to call it a day. I, as usual, lost it and said that there was more to be done... we couldn't quit! The shocked look on their faces told me all that needed to be said! So calming myself down and apologized later to SewLady, forewarning her that tiredness and lack of sugar makes me crazy! Thankfully that was my only hissy fit in the haunt set-up!

Setting up scares takes longer than writing about it but we managed to get it all done!

All that was left was finding helpers to man it!

SewLady is very good at making people want[?] to help out...short of twisting arms :).

We even had some boys call and offer their help. When I first set eyes on them, the night of the haunt, something warned me that it was going to be a bad mistake...I hate it when I'm right!

Monday...opening night!

Something I must relate first...during all of this set-up stuff/daily running around, SewLady and I spent a lot of time trying to find misplaced stuff! Her glasses, cameras, cell phone, my blood sugar tester, purses, etc!

So it was no surprise to us that we had misplaced the keys to unlock the door that night. So while we waited for Tank to go get the keys, we got to watch 3 very excited boys arrive with their father. All were slurping on big cups of slushies [tons of sugar] and couldn't stand still for one minute. Daddy dropped them and fled, leaving these bundles of energy with us. We couldn't even send them back as the haunt site was too far out of town for them to walk back. Being desperate for workers, I warned them as best as I could about fooling around in the haunt!

We now had a mad panic to get everyone dressed and placed for the best scare. I had a short time to teach all about how to scare properly...I like to call it "Haunt 101"!. Most want to jump out and grab the victim [customer] or yell Boo! The main rule, when I do a haunt, is "Touch nothing and nothing will touch you"! I can't stress this enough to the scare-er or scare-ee! Even if you know who the person is, they don't know that its you in the dark! MANY times I had to repeat this to the kids! The hardest part is making them realize that small movements in dimly lit areas can be much more scarier. Thankfully by then end of the evening they finally understood.

In our courthouse haunt we provided some food and water to the workers. Well we had water, cookies and some pop. The water was a good idea but the sugar only added to the kid's already high energy level!

Adding dead boys to my haunt ran through my brain a lot that night! The sane person residing in me made me resist the idea! That was my second pissy fit!

Our victim list that night was disappointing...25 people!

A lot was against us for this haunt:

- Too far out of town for anyone to walk to it. A shuttle service would have helped.

- Most didn't didn't even know there was a museum out there? The one good thing was, we made the ones who did show, aware of what was available for them to see. We had time between customers to do a bit of history on the place.

- A lot of people do not read their local paper! The haunt was well advertised in it and even had a write-up about me coming and lending a hand [which was kind of nice]. Our haunted courthouse and town even got a mention it.

- The entrance to the facility had no lighting, so it was near to impossible to see where to turn off. We even missed it one time and SewLady knew where it was! The museum has been fighting with the highway department and government bull crap, trying to rectify that situation. It's always been their problem!

- Poster advertising got put up too late. Sadly, Sewlady had been stuck with everything about this haunt and the overworking of one person ensured that something had to fail. Advertising has to be a priority to success. One person can do it, just as long as they don't have to do everything else! We did manage to put up three sandwich board signs advertising the night's event but most never even saw them.

A few more showed up for the second night [for the life of me I can't remember how many...28?]

The horrible boys showed up again, even though I told them that they wouldn't be needed! This time I told their father how bad they were, right in front of them and if they wanted to stay they had to change! It worked! They were very behaved and it might have helped that there was NO sugar available.

I did have lots of fun scaring people again! I sure miss that part of the haunt. Who knows maybe I host one in my old building [if it isn't sold by then] in 2009.

The third night, word of mouth must have worked it's charm because we had a whole 76 people!

I must add that we also had other adults helping too. The family that lived across the street from SewLady & Tank came out to help man the haunt. She fosters children and they got to have fun also. She controlled them so they were no problem at all. They manned the same area for three nights and knew just what to do to scare...I heard lots of screams from their area!

SewLady controlled the front staging area and would let us know how many were coming through. Tank controlled the outside areas and talked with the guests as they exited. There were many a histerical moments and he also got to hear their veiws on the haunt. Were had a rating of 12 out of the 1-10 many times and some even wanted to go back through again because they were sure the had missed alot from screaming/closed eyes.

This was my payment! Every scream made me smile lots! There might have been a poor turn out but what results from those who did.

The final night gave us over 100!

All in all I had of the final set-up will come next...blogger is complaining!

1 comment:

BJ Roan said...

Sorry I haven't stopped by sooner, I've been out of town. Sounds like a huge success! I've never actually been to one of these, but it sounds like so much fun. Can't wait to see the final results!