Tuesday, October 23, 2012
My Evil Halloween Prank
When I was a kid, I used to love going to the Portland "Zoo Boo." My family and I would wear our costumes, get our faces painted, see which animals were awake, and ride a train that wove through spooky scenes like zombies attacking a camp site and Frankenstein bringing his monster to life.
The best year by far was when I was twelve... old enough to volunteer. Every night, my mom, brother, and I would show up and be given our various assignments. Usually it involved either screaming or growling as the train went by, depending on whether we were playing a spook or a victim.
Unless we were lucky enough to work in The Maze.
The Maze was a room filled with chicken wire and plaster shaped like trees. It looked like you were weaving through a dark forest, trying to find your way out. My mom and my brother hid inside one of the trees and lit a flashlight at just the right moment so passers-by would see their illuminated faces through a screen.
It was fun to watch people yelp when the unexpected faces appeared. But my job was cooler. Way cooler.
I was behind a wall. On the other side was a mannequin in a coffin. When a spectator got too close, I yanked on a lever and screamed as the mannequin shot up to a sitting position. No one ran away from a tree as fast as they ran away from my mannequin!
I was already having way too much fun when a dad came through with a whimpering 3-year-old boy. At every tree that lit up, he jumped and hid behind his father's leg.
As soon as the boy saw the coffin with the reclining mannequin inside, he shrieked and hid his face in his hands. His dad tried to calm him. "Don't worry," he said. "It's not real. It's not going to get you."
The kid didn't believe him. The father tried to coax him closer. "Look, it's not going to move." Finally, he picked his son up, brought him to the coffin, and poked the mannequin. "It's not alive. See?"
Don't judge me. No one could resist a setup like that.
When I yanked on that lever and screamed, the boy flew out of his father's arms and ran out of the maze hollering before the mannequin had even finished moving. His father half-chased him, half-stormed out in a fury.
An all-too-familiar voice shouted my name: "Teralyn! Come here right now!" I abandoned my post and crawled into the tree where my mother was ready to give me a vicious scolding.
I knew I would get in trouble before I pulled that lever, and I knew I deserved it. I even almost felt a little bad about it.
It was still worth it.