Oh, you kids today with your pagers and your emails and your annual overindulgent, inebriated, saturnalian benders. Of course I’m talking about Hallowgreens, our favorite pagan holiday of pounding back drink after drink as an act of self flagellation, in hopes that the gods will be pleased and help us to survive the dark half of the year (called ‘first semester finals’ in the modern colloquial). You long time readers may remember that I helped with compile ‘research’ for an article last year about the Hallowgreens experience of someone who totally was not me. The two of you might also recall that my findings were…disturbing. When I went back and reviewed my more thorough notes from last year I was able to make a startling comparison; Hallowgreens is pretty much a house of horrors. Not an actual house of horrors, like Hill House from that Shirley Jackson novel, or Hill House from down the road. More like a cheap ride at a crappy amusement park; you don’t enjoy if you’re not already into that kind of thing, it sucks without your friends, you’re constantly pushed up against people and you’re kind of freaked out. But enough of my pessimism. If my summers as a camp counselor taught me anything, it’s that being drunk outside at night is awesome! You just need to know how to avoid things that ruin your fun or get you locked out of your cabin in the middle of wolf country. So this, for your reading pleasure is seven ghoulish carnival attractions masquerading as real life that you may encounter on your Hallowgreen adventures.
1. The Crying Ghost
In a Haunted House: This haunting specter will appear before you deathly white and eyes circled with black will assail you without warning with its inhuman wails of torment and woe.
At Hallowgreens: This individual is most likely someone close to you. When you begin the night they will seem as happy and excited as anybody. Half an hour later you look over at them and suddenly their eyes are ringed with tear-stains and running mascara. They weren’t even wearing mascara before. Before you know it, they’re trying to create symbiosis between your lap and their face, and crying so hard you can’t even tell you what the problem is anymore. You’re just picking up snatches like ‘I just can’t believe that people are so mean to the government!’.
Survival: Chances are your buddy’s sudden mood swing might have something to do with how much they’ve had to drink. Lower inhibitions, heightened emotions, all that good stuff. That being said, if your friend’s in that bad an emotional state over little things, it’s probably last call for them. Make sure they make the switch to water, ask if they’re all right physically, then ask if they’d like to stay or if they’d like to go home. If they choose to go home, take ‘em. Hooray, you handled that problem classily! If they choose to stay, let ‘em, and make them comfortable. They’re allowed make that call, and you can bet your life the one thing they’re going to remember the next day is how you marched them out of somebody else’s house like a misbehaving child- and they won’t appreciate it. Ask a friend to help you keep an eye out until its time to go, so that you aren’t the only one keeping an out. All that being said, be kind to your friend, and be aware of their behavior. The reason they’re turn your sofa cushions into handkerchiefs may be more serious than you realize. If you feel like they’re in any sort of danger, trust your instincts and call Public Safety (240-895-4911)
2. Grabbing Hands
In a Haunted House: This is the part of the exhibit were those hands come from behind the curtain and touch your face, grab your ankles and cause your Uncle Bernard to trip and win a lawsuit against the carnival for $65,000. (That was our best family outing. The park gave us so many complimentary boardwalk fries)
At Hallowgreens: Have you ever noticed how much everybody loves each other at Hallowgreens? Oh my gosh, have you ever realized how much you love everyone too? Look, you’re in a group hug right now, and you didn’t even realize it! Being at Hallowgreens, you can expect hugs, kisses and the occasional foot massage from every which way, and sometimes from people you weren’t necessarily expecting. And trust me, when a 230 pound lacrosse player dressed as Magic Mike jumps on your back and asks for a piggyback ride, nobody gives you boardwalk fries.
Survival: You know, if there’s one night to just let your inhibitions go, this is probably it. So if you’re feeling it, why not hug that random stranger? Why not challenge
yourself to make out with every dude and lady that came dressed as ‘What Does the Fox Say?’? So if you do get some unexpected attention from somebody, ask yourself if this might actually be OK with you. Maybe you find that giant lacrosse player’s glittery…male g-string or…ding dong sling or whatever you call those things, oddly charming. If the answer is no however, that’s exactly what you say. If Hands Groper doesn’t back off, move away and loudly express your distaste with some colorful language and implied judo chopping. The point with that is, don’t be afraid to be rude and alert somebody else if you feel uncomfortable with the way someone’s treating you. It’s always harder for an offending party to target someone who puts up a fight. And if the problem persists, get somewhere you know you’ll be safe, and call Public Safety (240-895-4911).
3. The Jump-Out Monster
In a Haunted House: “Shoot, I was so busy enjoying this ballin’ haunted house that completely forgot to have a heart attack today! Oh, thank goodness, this headless man just jumped out a me in the dark without warning, or I might have gone my whole day without literally peeing my pants. And look! They’ve even included a commemorative photo of me looking like I’m trying to unhinge my own jaw. How fine it shall look next to the family crest and the Venetian glassware.”
At Hallowgreens: “AHHHHHHHH!!!!! WHAT YOU DOING IN MY ROOM?! WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY BED?! WHY ARE YOU NAKED?!!”
Survival: Grab the nearest whacking stick (just in case) alert your house mates and leave immediately. Then CALL PUBLIC SAFETY (240-895-4911). This ones a no-brainer, kiddies. But don’t let my tales of terror put you off. Hallowgreens, above all, is supposed to be fun. So eat, drink, and stay safe.