Sunday, April 29, 2012

Halloween Shenanigans

Hello again everyone I hope this message finds you all well. I don’t know why this particular memory from my childhood popped back into my head today but it did and therefore I have to share it with you. And after all it’s springtime and it would only seem logical that a memory from Halloween 1983 would be relevant for this time of year right? Yes that’s my kind of sarcasm.

Well to paint the picture my parents and I were living out on the farm back in 1983 and we lived a good little way from town and there was not a whole lot of little kids trick-or-treating in our neck of the woods. So there was not a lot a fourteen year old boy could do on a Halloween night. I mean I was too old for trick-or-treating and I was too young to drive.

Well as luck would have it my cousin Steve, who lived just down the road from me, was dealing with the same frustration of what to do on a Halloween night. After all we couldn’t just sit at home and watch horror movies on television or wait around to scare any little kids dressed up as God knows what that wanted some Halloween candy that wasn’t coming. Well we just had to do something. After all it’s Halloween. So we hatched a plan.

We put our heads together and decided to come up with a prank per se and spring it on any passers by that we could inflict it on. Once we started comparing idea’s I had a memory from even younger in my childhood. And for me it was a scary one.

When I was even younger, around seven or eight years old, my Mom would take me a few times a week to the rest home in Sapulpa to visit with my Grandpa Emory Hankins. Well we visited so often I would find myself getting bored and sometimes I would go outside to play on the front lawn.

Then on one occasion in the month of October I was there playing out on the front lawn of the rest home and was not paying too much attention to the things going on around me. When all of the sudden my playtime was interrupted by a blood curdling scream of a woman! I whipped around to the house across the street just in time to see the figure of a human being fall from the rooftop of the house and land face down in the front yard.

I was stunned! I was beside myself! Time seemed to slow down as I stared in terror at the lifeless body. My heart literally skipped a beat. I was just about to start at a dead run to tell my mom what had just happened when I heard some giggling coming from the same house. I then observed two very entertained teenagers pick up the alleged BODY and carry it back onto the rooftop of the house.

Suddenly the breath returned to my lungs as I realized what had just happened. It was a prank! And it worked very well. I mean after all it just scared the heck out of me! It was then obvious that it was a dummy that these young hooligans threw off of rooftop and then screamed as any car was passing by. Trying their best to scare the crap out of those passing by.

So several years later in 1983 it turned out to be just the right idea for the level of terror we wanted to dole out to any unsuspecting victim that would come our way. But how were we going to do this? More planning was needed. We lived down a dead end road, no one was going to be just driving by for us to terrorize.

After some much needed planning we had our plans laid out.

We started with the dummy, but not just any dummy, one that would appear to be very human like. Well our resources were limited so we acquired a pair of old overalls and an old long sleeve western shirt and a whole bunch of old newspapers. We labored for a few hours on our creation until it was just right. But still the problem remained, where to deploy our evil plan?

After a little more thinking we had it! Where our private drive met with the county road was a railroad underpass that the county road went under. So we decided to dress up as hillbillies and take our dummy and a length of rope, just after dark, and climbed to the top of the railroad overpass bridge and began setting up or plan. We walked to the middle of the bridge where the passing cars would be directly beneath us as they approached.

We tied the rope to the bridge directly in the middle and then tied the dummy to the other end at a length that would put the dummy’s feet just a few inches above the top of any car that would pass under it. We even tested it a few times just to rehearse our evil plan. After much preparation we laid in wait for what we believed would be many victims for a very scary Halloween night.

After what seemed like an eternity we finally observed a set of headlights in the distance that were headed in our direction. The anticipation began to build. We sat on the edge of the bridge, each of us holding the dummy into place. I was thinking the whole time “This is going to be good, and I hope to God that I don’t fall off of this bridge in the process”. The car was getting closer and closer.

At the last second I told Steve that we have to both scream as loud as we can as we drop this dummy towards the car. Then suddenly the oncoming car was at just the right place then we dropped the dummy with perfect timing and let out the loudest screams we could muster! The car slammed on its brakes skidding from side to side almost going off into the ditch to avoid hitting the alleged human hanging from the rope.

Steve and myself were beside ourselves with laughter! I mean I almost fell off that bridge laughing so hard. But all the good entertainment was about to come to an abrupt end. You see we really didn’t plan on what to do if the vehicle we victimized didn’t just keep on going. Because the first victim of the night didn’t just keep on going. As a matter of fact they stopped and got out of the car. UH OH!!!

Well when the driver stepped out of the car we could tell right away it was a female and she looked all too familiar. As she stepped out of her car she looked straight up at Steve and I and Immediately recognized us as we recognized her. It was our dad’s cousin Earlene! Oh crap it’s someone we know!

Well I can’t remember verbatim what Earlene said as she was trying to catch her breath but we were very clear on the message that we had to stop right away and go home before our parents were called. What??!! After just one victim. Well we hurriedly agreed and took down our Halloween prank and were on our way home.

Now I don’t know about Steve but I ratted myself out just as soon as I got home because God help me if the phone call from Earlene came and I hadn’t fessed up. So I spilled the beans to my dad and mom and through my dad’s smirking grin and mothers disappointment I felt that they were going to let me live.

Well I came away from the whole experience with mixed feelings. I was bummed out that our little prank was only inflicted on one person, and I was very regretful that it was a relative. But the entertainment value it had was priceless. Later I realized that our actions could have gotten someone, including ourselves hurt. And looking back I am very thankful that no one suffered any pain from our fun.

I guess the moral to this whole story falls well within a great saying that was passed on to me in later years. “If you fail to prepare, then you are preparing to fail”. Think out your plans and carefully consider what effects it may have on others.

Thank you for taking the time to read this essay. God Bless.