Frustration got the better of me this year, as I could not wait until this event was over. I was pleased to know I had the entire month to work on the haunt, thanks in part to the approval of the administration at Vintage Parkway. With past practice under our belt, I was given no restrictions. Clowns had recently been in the news, attempting to lure kids into cars or the woods but clowns had been a center part of our theme for 3 years and nothing was said while building the haunt.
At the last minute, the administration created fliers for guests to read before entering the haunt. This was because the Principal and Superintendent needed to access the stage and saw what was being built. The flier was a disclaimer says the district had nothing to do with the haunt. Basically it put all the responsibility on me, as a father, PTA member and builder of the haunt. I thought it rather a shitty thing to do, but in the end it didn’t cause any problem during the night.
The weather didn’t quite cooperate either, as it rained for a short period of time after the carnival started. Being inside the haunt, I only heard rumors of what was going on outside. The rain really didn’t bother us at all, it did see more people flock to the haunt, but with a line, it was slow going to get people processed through the haunt in a timely fashion.
As I have experienced the past 3 years, getting good help is nearly impossible! This did more than frustrate me, it downright pissed me off. I should have known better than to rely on high school kids fulfilling volunteer hours, they were absolutely worthless! As the carnival kicked off, just like last year I had no one to take tickets. This was made known MONTHS before the carnival was scheduled. I intentionally left the 5th graders out of participating inside the haunt, after have three punks last year ruin it for everyone this year. The only responsibility 5th graders had were to work as guides through the haunt. This didn’t work well…again, as many guides would shine their lights at actors or take away from the intended effect, such as the vortex hallway. Made me a bit disappointed, but all in all guests had a screaming good time.
Being confined to one area of the haunt, it was hard to judge just how well the haunt went off. Hearing from parents, kids, staff and administrators, the haunt was a smashing success again. Kids loved JerkFace the Clown and I was caught taking pictures with many kids after the haunt ended. We had no major issues through the night that needed addressing, I only wish we were able to do this haunt through the weekend and earn more money for the teachers, as 30 days of construction for 2 hours of haunting is a huge investment. Yet the return of crying, laughing and having a haunting good time is something that I will cherish. It’s quite possible this was the final time the haunt will take place as no one has stepped up to organize or build the haunt next year. Sad, as no one wins in that situation.