You get a corpse! And YOU get a corpse! And Everybody gets a corpse!


I got to help Rik fulfill a lifelong dream yesterday... well not his life, actually. His daughter Izzy's life... you see, ever since she was born, he's wanted to build her a haunted house for Halloween. So I went over on Friday to help him plan it out and build gags. His idea was to have all the kids help Doctor Frankenstein gather the pieces to make his monster.We made dummies out of pillows and clothes from Goodwill. Izzy drew "dead guy" faces on them and I split the bellies open and filled them with plastic bones for all the little "Igors" to find. We built a graveyard out of plastic and burlap and decorated it with constrution paper leaves and bats and a generous lack of available light.

After the little hunchbacks gathered the bones, they would follow the doctor into the lab (garage covered floor to ceiling in black plastic) where he would have them pass him the monster parts - Guts (noodles in oil), a Heart (a skinned tomato) and The Brain (a peeled and carved honeydew with some food coloring) . The Doctor would disappear behind some plastic, make some noise and hit a switch  that activated a strobe light. The garage door would lower, raising a lack plastic curtain attached to the top edge and revealing ... THE MONSTER (Rik's boxing coach, Neal).

Needless to say, by the time our planning session was through, I was playing the good Doctor and Rik was backstage pulling on strings making the corpses float up out of our burlap graveyard. The amazing thing is that all the bits worked pretty well. It took a couple of times through to work the bugs out... The first time, the kids got stuck trying to unbutton the shirts on the dummies, which made finding the bones too much work. Then Izzy, who made a fabulous Pink Flamingo, took one look at the Monster and said "You're not a monster, you're Uncle Neal!". Luckily, Izzy was a good sport and figured out that she could be in on the secrets and help us scare all the neighborhood kids. We did the tour five times in all and each time through was a learning experience... vamping for time, giving the kids more stuff to do, throwing in more gags to surprise Izzy and her brother, Roy the dinosaur. I went up to the toy basket and found all their rubber bugs and snakes and glowing eyeballs and mixed them in with the bones and the guts. During the fourth tour, I looked at the six dummies hanging up and the six kids in the graveyard and put on my best Transylvanian Oprah voice and said "You get a corpse and You get a corpse and everybody gets a corpse!".

The kids didn't get it, but I heard Rik giggling behind the curtain.

It was totally awesome and not nearly as much work as you would think. And I don't think the kids ever noticed that they weren't loading up on candy all day. I absolutely recommend  to everyone looking for something different to do on Halloween.

notice the "Help Vanted" sign... everything I know, I learned from Bugs Bunny


  1. What a great idea, and a great way to spend Halloween!


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