Lords of the Manor has an article, Infestation, a reminder that Halloween is creeping up on us. She asked for some ideas and I could only think of something devilish I’d done. Several years ago I was asked to help out with a church Halloween party for the Primary age children. I was supposed to hand out candy from a booth of my own design, something to give the kids a fun/fright night in the safe confines of the church building.
I kept the expenses to a minimum with a little creativity. I wanted to duplicate something I’d seen in the Flash Gordon movie, a test of bravery where the kids could put their arms down inside the unknown cavity of the bravery beast, a chance to either be rewarded or die a horrible death if they got stung, bit or what ever happens if the beast inside gets angry or perceives cowardice.
I used a five gallon bucket to create the belly of the beast, a plastic bucket that originally had been used at the local donut shop to hold a berry mixture. I then added a couple of short lengths of dryer vent tubing and some papier-mâché to cover the contraption to make it look organic. I cut a couple of holes in the bucket and attached the dryer vent hoses on the inside of the bucket, the bottom of the bucket becoming the top. I then covered it to make it look like a tree stump or rock looking thing, painted it brown and black and placed it on top of two tables that had a large cloth draped over so I could hide below, having access to where the open part of the bucket rested between the tables supporting it.
I enlisted a partner in crime and we took turns standing as a greeter in front of the table wearing a brown hooded robe to hide our faces and pretend to be sinister while the other was under the table to hand out candy and/or scare the bejeebers out of the kids. We could tell a child was about to reach in because we could see them as they stood near the table. When their arm came down one of the openings they had to go through the tubes, their arm hairs alert for any contact along the way. We could spray a mist of cold water, tickle it with a feather or, when we wanted them to yell out in panic, we would grab their arm. Eventually we’d reward their bravery with some candy.
The total cost was under ten dollars and included the cost of the candy. I don’t recall any of the children being stung or bitten, none of them developed permanent psychological issues that I’m aware of and a good time was had by all.