Thursday, October 18, 2007

Horror + Elementary School = Brown Smells

So, the 13th was the Fall Festival, at Deirdre's school. We'd been looking forward to this for a couple months, hoping to be able to contribute some really gnarly stuff, but the whole Missing Child Support debacle really hurt what we were able to do, costume-wise.
Every year, two of the kindergarten teachers and assorted volunteers put on a Haunted House tour, in the kindergarten rooms. It's a pretty decent little scare, especially considering the relatively small amount of extra hands and money involved.

Deirdre and friend Collin (parents in background), Ready for Mayhem

I was supposed to be taking tickets at the door, and Peyton had quickly been tagged to play the vampire, for reasons that need no explanation, if you know him. Deirdre's teacher knows we're both horror mavens, and probably figured we'd come up with something great.
Not so much.
My original plan was to use some of this month's child support to help with costume expenses, ordering latex facial appliances for both P and I. I'd picked out a great forehead prosthetic for him, as well as the required Scarecrow fangs, and for me, I'd found an AWESOMESAUCE gouged eyes prosthetic that would have left half my face covered in gore, and wet, dark sockets where my eyes should have been (and you can actually see, while wearing this, lol). I was also looking at a few mouth pieces - stapled/stitched mouths, insanely stretched grins, that sort of thing - in the hopes of being able to look pants-wetting scary, to give the kids who didn't have money for haunted tour tickets a little free show. I'd even thought ahead, to buying gag glasses, so I could keep the worst of the gore hidden, around the youngest children.
We were gonna ROCK, and at a pretty modest cost of about $60 for the works, being that I'd found incredible deals, online. Everything was in stock, and even if the child support was the usual few days late, there'd be no problem, so long as I got the stuff ordered in the first week of October.

Then my ex-husband decided not to pay his child support. Insert utter ruination of plans, here.

You can't even find most of the stuff we were looking at, around here, and with a budget deficit of a few hundred dollars, we couldn't afford it, anyway. We did manage to get Peyton's
Scarecrow fangs, but I was out of luck - even the local Spirit Halloween Superstore didn't have anything remotely decent, aside from hugely overpriced masks.

Luckily, Peyton is a pretty scary looking guy, anyway, but my costume was pretty well shot, so I had to resort to just tossing together creepy-looking Goth wear and Seriously Unwell makeup. It actually looked pretty good, though you can't see anything very well in these pictures, but you know...nothing compares to gouged-out eyes. :(

We already had matching pairs of "Radiance" contacts, so we were able to pull off the nifty semi-metallic eyes. Neither of us intended to buy scary contacts, when we ordered them; we were aiming more for "pretty." But the silvery cast, while not totally artificial-looking, tends to get double-takes, when people get close enough to realize our eyes are shimmering. Or when a camera flash hits 'em, heh.

Thankfully, all the kids' costumes had been paid for with Ebay sales, ahead of time, though Lucien and Kalel were sitting this event out - Kalel would have just stared blankly, and Lucien was too young for games, and would have fallen into seizures, at a trip through the Haunted Tour.

But Deirdre was about 80% of the Awesome. She'd been with her father, that morning, and he brought her back nearly a half hour late, so her costuming/makeup had to be done fast and sloppy, but she's Five and Cute, so she still looked pretty great. This year, she's the Spider Queen, from
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Wrath of the Spider Queen. She doesn't exactly look like the Spider Queen, but she thinks she does, which is all that counts, lol.

The sweet smile on her face, in this picture, perfectly sums up just what sort of Evil our eldest daughter is.

Me, I say she looks more like Hell's version of a Robert Palmer Girl.
Josh was supposed to come to the Fall Festival and take Deirdre around, while Peyton and I were working, which would have given him a great time with his daughter, and us, peace of mind and a little money saved, from not having to buy all of her tickets. So of course, right as we were about to leave, he cancelled on her. Deirdre wasn't bothered in the least, as she was too distracted by the fun of being escorted by costumed parents, but we were PISSED.

Thank God I wasn't actually needed for ticket-taking, after all, though it left me feeling sort of lame and useless, all afternoon. I'd offered to fill in whenever needed, and the only open slot was right before the end; they ended up closing the haunted house early, so I wasn't needed at all. :(
Good news, as I was able to take Deirdre around to the games with no problem, but I was still sad, not to be able to help out, especially after the botched costume plans.
Peyton and I are already making a personal vow to go disgustingly overboard, next year, to make up for it.
Let's hope Collin will not always be so happy to have women hurt him.

So, we ended up racing in, mere minutes before the festival started, and skulking all-too-obviously by early arriving kids, as we tried to get Count Peyton into the haunted house, unnoticed.

Just another happy Harmon family moment, as Dad attempts to eat Mom's head.

In the picture to the right, we're actually in the Psycho Killer chamber - a family affair, for D's friend Collin and his parents. The Psycho Killer Chamber is also known as "the kindergarten coatroom."

Below, Peyton tries his best to terrorize a cruelly-unimpressed Sabrina, Mother of Collin, Adopted Auntie of Deirdre, and Daughter of D's Teacher/Haunted Tour Guide.

Also helping out were another kindergarten teacher (tortured mental patient), her two daughters (smaller tortured mental patients), and my old 8th grade science teacher, now teaching 6th grade (mad scientist) - it's a small but dedicated group, or at least, I think that's the polite term for grownups who enjoy dressing up and frightening small children.

To the right, is a no-flash shot taken in almost total darkness, as a group of faculty took the first trial run-through. The bright spot is the guide's flashlight beam, hitting Peyton's face as he came roaring out of his coffin.
I'd have loved more shots like this, but only the grown-ups are able to pass through without running for their lives and falling on the floor - movements that play havoc with my camera's low-light focus.

Okay, so maybe the adults do a little running and screaming, too. >D Especially when they run straight from the Psycho Killer room, right into my blinding flash (it was till pitch black, when this picture was taken). I don't think they ever knew what hit 'em; I'm guessing the sudden bright light seemed like part of the show.

Below, you can see what Peyton actually looked like, during the tour, sans terror and darkness -

(click for MUCH better images)

And Peyton has finally found a practical use for his ten years or so of live-action role-playing, much of that spent as the infamous "Erik Jannsen." Because many dads can pull off that?

So, with Count Peyton settled in, Deirdre and I set off to see how much money we could waste on a little fun, and apx. 23 pieces of candy.

Peyton and I are big on giving the kids plenty of self-esteem, and it shows. Sometimes, a little too much. Deirdre, for instance, insisted on loudly proclaiming "Oh! I am GOOD at THAT!" as we stood in line for each game, despite the fact that she'd never played any of them. This led to a bit of panicked dismay, upon her discovery that she did not, in fact, possess the needed skills for each game. Like darts, where she managed to merely knock off two balloons, after hurling the darts in an amazing spinning pattern, sustaining no actual damage to any of the targets.

After that, we moved on to basketball, where Deirdre was sad to discover that, despite the size of her ego, her little body is actually quite short. Even with help from the teacher running the game, she still couldn't manage, and earned only another round of Pity Candy.

Despairing, she informed me in an embarrassed, desparate little voice that her stomach suddenly hurt, and she had no interest in games - she must go find something to drink, as that is the only cure for Pride-Saving Stomach Pains. She rejected my offer of a coke, and instead led me away to a semi-hidden water fountain, where I ooohed and ahhhed appropriately over her mastery of the drinking fountain, as she regained her sense of godlike powers.

Then we were off, to see the Bouncy Thing. At $1 of tickets per 4min. of play, this was one hell of a lucrative device; I'm tempted to buy my own roll of tickets, and set one up in our front yard.

Bouncy Thing has a similar effect to putting children in a dryer, on the gentle cool cycle, as you can see from Deirdre's dazed expression, in the picture to the right.
But your clothes dryer (usually) does not attempt to implode and eat it's contents; sadly, Bouncy Thing was not so polite.

This is the face of a child who has just crawled out of the lower intestine of a Bouncer.

Twice, just while we were hanging about, Bouncy Thing abruptly deflated, swallowing the children currently inside. The second time, Deirdre was in there, and though I expected to hear screams (she'd looked quite aghast, the first time she saw it collapse), she seemed quite cheerful, upon regurgitation.

Deirdre, back inside and rather dizzy; she actually came very close on Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey; hours of spinning in drunken circles at home pays off.

Ye Olde Bean-bag Clown.

Games, games and more games. Next year, I may just save money by filling MY pockets with candy, and dumping it in her bag every time her back is turned, before announcing "Wow, look! No more room for prizes!"

And face painting, which lasted approximately 6 minutes, or until Deirdre hit the Incredible Child-Eating Bouncy Castle, once more.

After having spent most of our money on tickets, I finally called an end to games, and since there was still a couple hours of festival left, offered Deirdre the choice of being dropped off back at home to gorge on candy...or go hang out in the Haunted Tour.
Yeah, that was a no-brainer.

By this point (actually, by about 10min. after opening), the lines for the tour were staggering; I half-expected the impatiently waiting children to revolt and swarm us, when we slipped past them, to get inside.

Part of the line, which stretched all the way down the side of the building.

Once inside, we headed back to the Psycho Killer Chamber, to join D's friend Collin's parents (the last we'd seen of Collin, he was half-mad on a candy high, spinning around the playground). Deirdre was quickly supplied with a small toy chainsaw and brought into the show, as I took a siesta in the World's Smallest Chair (nothing like kindergarten-sized furniture, to make you feel like a fatass).
To say Deirdre "took well" to the idea of scaring the bejeesus out of fellow children, would be a grievous understatement - she was a natural. It warmed out black little hearts, to see such enthusiasm for the Art of Horror, although, in Deirdre's case, it involved less "art," and more wild screaming, cackling and a disturbing sort of raspy hiss befitting a Komodo dragon.

Deirdre, sneaking a peek into the adjoining Mental Hospital Tourture Chamber.

The haunted tour was set up in four rooms; guests enter into the Vampire's Crypt, where the tour guide warns them of the sleeping Count, just before shining her light in his face and waking him, illiciting a roaring pursuit by Peyton. From there, they are led through a "storm," supplied by sprinklers and an air gun, into the Mental Hospital Torture Chamber. Inside the "mental hospital," the Mad Scientist (my old 8th grade science teacher, currently teaching sixth grade and well-suited to the role of Mad Scientist, if my own jr. high experiences are any indication) experiments on hapless patients, as another kindergarten teacher/patient cries out for help, from inside her cage. When guests pass her cage, the guide's light goes out, and the crazed victim leaps at the side of the cage, lit only by a strobe light. Much screaming, as the guests are led to the next room...where the family of Psycho Killers await them. As the KIllers terrorize guests with chainsaws, they run for the door, and straight back to a waiting vampire, at which point the tour turns into a blind, crazy rush for the door.
And as it turns out, funny things can happen, when you frighten the hell out of a bunch of children, in the dark.

Count Peyton breaks character to assist in the search for a little girl's missing shoe.

Even with small groups, it was mayhem. Kids were falling on the floor, thrashing about to get away, and more than one child lost a shoe in the process, requiring searches like the one to the right.
And in one unmentionable incident (which I, of course, will be THRILLED to mention), a child apparently became so frightened that he browned his trousers (cause you just know it had to be a little boy, heh). The mystery pooper was never identified by any of us, and hopefully never sniffed out by his friends, either, but the smell left no room for doubt - after one particularly crazy tour, the last room was suddenly filled with"rich aroma of fear." Peyton likes to think he can at least partially take credit for that, as I believe he actually lept from a table, during that pursuit; Deirdre also is claiming credit, for the sheer joy brought by the idea of making someone Fear Poop.

Not even her friend Collin was spared from Deirdre's relentless chainsaw attacks. The picture to the left was taken with a flash, in total darkness, and I'm guessing his toy chainsaw sounded a lot more real, when it was coming at him in, in the dark. Amusingly enough, the person he's staring at in terror, is his own mother. >D

After about 40min of this, Deirdre began to grow bored, but agreed to hang in for the long haul, providing we all understood what a great sacrifice she was making, in the name of Horror. After that, it was time for my shift taking tickets at the which point they decided to go ahead and start closing down, for the night. :( Useless, was I.

The staff of the haunted tour milled out onto the playground, harassing the kids and providing free scares, to those who hadn't been able to afford/brave the haunted tour. Peyton, of course, was an even bigger hit, up close.

Very strange shot of Peyton, hunkered down and terrorizing kids. If you click to see the larger view, you'll see his face is actually a blur of Creepy.

All he was doing, was singling out the random kid who made eye contact, and rushing them, fangs bared, but the kids went NUTS. Soon, he had a group of followers, trailing after him and begging to be chased. I wish to God I'd been able to get a picture of the Lord of the Night, being thronged by schoolchildren; it was an awesomely disturbing sight.

Even more disturbing, was the fact that many of the kids totally bought his act. The Scarecrow fangs were irritating his gums (P has very large, oddly-shaped teeth, and so comfort with a truely "custom" fit is impossible), so he took them off, finally...and was immediately harassed by kids. One little boy walked bravely up and demanded "Take those off; let us see your REAL teeth!" convinced that Peyton's natural teeth were the caps, and the vampire fangs must be hidden, underneath. I think it was that same boy, who first noticed Peyton's tongue ring, as well, which drew still more attention, as he was requested to give a demonstration of how a tongue ring actually worked. AMAZEMENT, from normally-jaded elementary kids, at seeing a man with a piece of metal shoved through his tongue - such is the advantage, of entertaining kids in a rural area: they may be hard to scare, but give 'em a little counterculture, and they freak right out.

Deirdre, with her friend Collin's dad, Andy, seen here as The Ghayest Psycho Killer, Evah.

Deirdre, of course, was THRILLED to run about, shaking her decapitated head at random kids. Deirdre is one of those disturbing little kids with SOMUCHYAY self esteem that they're naturally convinced the whole world can benefit from their OMGAMAZING gifts. This makes Peyton and I happy, and tells us we're doing a good job with her, buuut...we still snicker, behind her back. You kind of have to, with a kid like Deirdre.

Creepy kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, Angie, with daughter-ghouls in tow. Behind: Peyton and my old 8th grade science teacher. This man does not need any help, being scary for Halloween. When I was in his class, eons ago, he had such a fearsome reputation that I once nearly ruptured my bladder, rather than ask to go to the bathroom. He was having a rough year, and one pet peeve sure to set him off, was leaving his class, for any reason, so we'd all try to avoid asking for the bathroom pass, as it was sure to get a lecture. One fine day, I found myself trying to hold it until after class, and as my luck would have it, Mr. M had a visitor. As they stood talking (of course), my need grew much more insistant, until finally, I could take it no more. When I stood up, waves of black clouded my vision, and the room tilted, as I tried not to faint (yeah, I mean I HAD TO GO). I staggered over, begged his forgiveness for interrupting, and in a tiny voice, pleaded for a chance to go pee. His guest looked at me with obvious horror, probably wondering just what kind of hold this man had on his students, as Mr. M turned a little red and with much irritation, exclaimed "For crying out loud, GO TO THE BATHROOM, Tiffani! What is WRONG with you? Why would you wait until it becomes an EMERGENCY!" I just stared openmouthed, telling myself that answering "Because I was afraid you would kill me" would likely insure that I didn't pass the eighth grade, before squeaking "Ohthankyou" and shuffling off, still bent over from pain.
I tell you, for at least a semester or so of his life, that man was SCARY.

Angie and the ghouls, again, with Peyton (delighting in evil, for no apparent reason) and the principal.

And that's that, FINALLY. I've had so much trouble with this one, not only finding time to write the post, but buttloads of technical difficulties, as well (yes, actual buttloads).

I actually wasn't even planning on posting this on Blogger, yet, as I've wanted to find time to explain my absence over here, first, in a post of its own. However, I'd started this post one, and some demon in the Blogger html is preventing me from moving it anywhere else, so...I guess I'm going to have to get to that explanatory post, a little sooner than I thought. And boy, is it a doozy.

More on that, very soon. Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.


daxterdd said...

So when I grow up . . . I want to be you.

Or at least, I want to raise my kids with the same amount of love / praise / apreciation for the wierd and offbeat.

Tiff of Doom said...

"love / praise / affection and appreciation for the wierd."

You know, some people would call that "brainwashing." Did you know you can TRAIN children to believe weird is normal? How utterly fabulous. ;D

I think you should be me when you grow up, too. Everyone should. And then we should all cut our hair just alike and take over a political party. But possibly that idea will not sound so great, when it's not so early in the morning.

smilekl said...

If you had told me twenty years ago that in your late 20s - early 30s you, Peyton and Sabrina would be having fun scaring little kids in a haunted house, I would have said, yep, sounds about right. Thanks for the photos of some of my favorite people. And what about Angie?!? I didn't even recognize her at first!

Tiff of Doom said...

I know, lol; she stayed TOTALLY in character, anytime she was anywhere near the kids, except Deirdre. At one point, she asked Deirdre "Don't you know who I am?" and Deirdre just looked her up and down, and said "Nope."

daxterdd said...

Pah... brainwashing.

So, thanks for only letting one of my myriad attempts to post a comment go through. It was late, and I was easily confused.

Tiff of Doom said...

No prob; I only saw two comments from you, anyway, so you didn't look too senile. ;D