Maybe I should have defined strange, because if we're being honest, stranger things have definitely happened on Halloween. Stranger things might even be happening to you, like, right this very second. Cleaning out my refrigerator? Possibly stranger that what happens in this story.
Okay. Now that your expectations have been sufficiently lowered, proceed.
The Strangest Thing Happened on HALLOWEEN...
This book is dedicated to Katie, who thought up the name, "rat zoid"
Okay, let me start my story. My name is Carol. All of this started when I had my Halloween sleepover...
(First, let me tell you I invited: My best friend, Tina, plus: Janey, Melissa, Ginger, and Tracy.)
It's worth noting that each girl's name is penciled in a different handwriting. Melissa cops the obligatory Stacy McGill, but it's Tracy who takes it to the next level. Her T looks like it was crafted out of cotton candy, and the Y is so curlicued that it resembles a snail shell more than a letter.
They all came.
The first thing we did was eat. We ate: pepperoni and sausage pizzas from "Little Caesars," 1 liter of Minute Maid orange pop, 1 liter of Coke, and ice cream for dessert.
Apparently none of them know how to make their own dip. Amateurs.
Then we changed into our pajamas (which was mostly shirts). We set up the sleeping bags. I popped "Beetlejuice" into the VCR.
Let me clarify this "mostly shirts" thing. Because there will be no pillow fights leading to preteen make-out sessions here. In 1989, it was perfectly acceptable to wear just a shirt to a sleepover. That's because the shirt would be approximately 25 sizes too large for you and come down past your knees. My best (read: hugest) one was purchased at Cedar Point, after my sister and I had been soaked to the frigging bone on the Log Ride and desperately needed a wardrobe change. So, technically, grossly oversized shirts were not just for sleepovers. They could, in a pinch, be worn around amusement parks.
Halfway through, my big brother, Rob (he's in high school) came down and insisted that after we watched the second movie (Psycho III) to come up to his room.
After Beetlejuice, we couldn't stop exclaiming over what we liked best. The special effects were so neat!
I excused myself to make some popcorn. I came back soon, carrying a huge bowl of buttered, salted popcorn.
Where were they? The girls had disappeared!
"I VANT TO SUCK YOUR BLOOD!" cried Ginger, cackling. The other girls followed her lead.
I turned around quickly. They had come out of thin air. NO KIDDING!
I screamed. I didn't mean to, I just did. It was like some demon... "I'm posessed!" I shrieked.
By that time Tracy had had it. She fell on the floor. She was crying. WAIT A SECOND! She was laughing so hard she was crying!
"Oh, come on, Carol, can't you take a joke!" exclaimed Tina. She trying to ignore hysterical Tracy.
"Oh, get off it, Tracy!" snapped Melissa. "Grow up!" Tracy immediately stopped.
"Boy." I heard her mutter.
Well, I don't care if they dot their i's with hearts or not, Tina and Melissa seem like a-holes.
Obviously, Janey had to [I believe she'd "had it too"] because she said, or she cleared her throat and said, "Let's watch Psycho III." She rolled her eyes at the same time.
So we did.
Melissa pouted because she couldn't eat the popcorn (braces). Janey refused to go to the bathroom without someone guarding the door. The bathroom scene had really freaked her out.
During the bathroom scene, someone is beheaded while, ahem, using the facilities. A screening of Psycho III pretty much guaranteed that at least one sleepover attendee would be afraid to pee for the rest of the night.
While Tracy guarded, the rest of us went into my room. Janey didn't know the vent in there led to the vent in the bathroom.
Really? The vent in the bathroom leads to her bedroom? That sounds awfully unfortunate for Carol. In my house, there was a vent in the living room that led to the basement, and this architectural boon figured prominently in many of our haunted houses. In my mind, vents were an obvious vessel for auditory terror.
"Oooweee!" moaned Melissa.
"Auuuiiiauuuuiii!" groaned Ginger.
"Ab Eb Eeb! Ab Eb Eeb!" cried Tina.
"Eeeeek! Eeek!" I shrieked.
I'm sorry, but Ab Eb Eeb? AB EB EEB? What is THAT?!
Janey freaked. She flushed the toilet, fumbled with the lock, and freed herself.
After she was comforted we went to Rob's room. Where was Rob? Everybody was disappearing! The door creaked open...
And a squeaking bat flew into Melissa's face! She screamed. It flew into the hallway and out an open window.
Meanwhile, we all crept inside.
We'd only gone a few steps when my foot fell in something wet. I put my bare foot back into the hall; into the light.
I screamed. BLOOD! There was blood on my foot!
The first thing I thought was Rob. A bat. A puddle of blood on the floor. It all fit. The bat must've bitten Rob!
Then I remembered.
It was Halloween. I was having a sleepover. We had just watched a scary movie. I had a rat zoid for a big brother.
"A haunted house!" Ginger squealed with delight. "I can't wait!"
So we went back in.
My sister and I were WAY into haunted houses... as long as we were staging them ourselves. Did we like being scared? Mehhhh. But we loved to scare the crap out of others! Or, uh, try.
A Few Essential Items for Your Haunted House:
1) A well-placed vent (as discussed earlier).
2) Creepy sound effects. Our tape of Disney's Thrilling, Chilling Sounds of the Haunted House (surprisingly awesome and now available on iTunes!) was a favorite, although we did make our own tape at one point. Feel free to get creative.
3) Rubber bats. We usually had a few on hand.
4) Toys covered in blood. We liked to decapitate Barbies—plus remove all of their limbs—and then depict their wounds using red nail polish. (Warning: It turns out that nail polish is kinda difficult to remove, so your Barbies may forever after have a bit of a "bloody" look.)
We all shrieked while walking through the blood. Then things started happening. Things I can't explain.
Janey tripped over a dead body.
She freaked again. She fell on the floor, crying over and over, "I swear to god I stepped on a real hand!" But we had to go on. Rob would brag at school.
They were scared, but they had to keep going ON PRINCIPLE, guys. Also, "I swear to god I stepped on a real hand!" seems like an unwieldy phrase to repeat. I swear to god I stepped on a real hand! I swear to god I stepped on a real hand! I swear to god I stepped on a real hand!
A monster grabbed Tina. She shouted, "Get off, you idiot!"
While at the same time a huge something flew into Ginger and Tracy became entangled with a real live snake.
We freed ourselves and left, shouting unkind, unladylike things at Rob's room and at Rob, wherever he was.
"I swear to god I stepped on a real hand!"
"Ab Eb Eeb!"
Well, we tried to forget the haunted house.
We ate, gossiped, played Truth or Dare, told ghost stories [yeah, that'll help you forget the haunted house all right], raided the refridgerator, told secrets, said nasty things about Rob, and etc. until 5.
But we still wonder what had happened.
Where had Rob been?
Were there spirits at my sleepover?
Were there demons running the haunted house?
Was it blood that stained Janey's P.J.'s?
Was the scratch on Tina from a real monster?
WILL WE EVER KNOW?
Um, do we really need to call Robert Stack in on this one?
Because my questions are more along the lines of:
Where were Rob and Carol's parents?
Do Rob and his friends really have nothing better to do than scare a bunch of 10-year-old girls by playing dead and throwing borrowed snakes around?
Is there such thing as remote-controlled bats?
WILL WE EVER KNOW?*
*Well, I don't have any final word on Rob and his reptile-renting habits, but I'm thrilled to report that the answer to the remote-controlled bat question is a resounding YES!
So I guess... kudos to Rob? I mean, that elaborate haunted house definitely put my vent wailing and quartered Barbies to shame. I just hope it was worth it, Rob. You do realize Janey had to buy a new enormous nightshirt, right? I hope you're proud of yourself.
My teacher's verdict? "Sada, this is WONDERFULLY written." And I got a check PLUS. Booyah!
NEXT TIME: Plan A: I really wanted to reminisce about my Halloween costumes of yore, but all of the Halloween pictures have gone MISSING from my parents' photo albums! So unless Robert Stack steps in to investigate this, I'll probably have to move on to Plan B: a continuation of The Sig Saga, including one of my (thankfully, unsent) letters to my elementary school crush. The shock! The horror! And—most of all—the embarrassment.