Demoncats and Fields of Fear – Halloween 2009

Yes, I know Halloween was about a week and a half ago. I also know that it’s been a while since I posted. Things have been pretty hectic around here. That great confusing ball of happiness and heartbreak that we call “life” can make for interesting times. I haven’t really felt like I had anything particularly interesting to say until now and I felt guilty enough about not posting earlier to sit down and type something up tonight.

Now, Halloween is usually a time of great joy for Maggie and I. Frankly, I think it’s a great joy for anyone who considers themself a costumer. I mean, it’s really the only time of the year that the non-costume-loving folks out there won’t ridicule you for wearing a costume out in public. Not that potential ridicule really ever keeps me from wearing what I want to wear, as Maggie might attest to. My choice in headgear occasionally causes people to question my sanity or maturity. I’m pretty secure in my lack of either, so in my mind it’s all good.

For the week leading up to Halloween it looked like the whole holiday was going to be a wash. Maggie and I have co-planned/hosted a Halloween party for the past couple years. In fact, I think it might actually be eight years by now. Not entirely sure, though. Anyway, we had sent out invites a la Facebook. A week before the proposed event we only had six RSVPS…and two of those RSVPs were our own. Another was from the dog that lives in Maggie’s basement. Since no one was going to be attending we figured we’d just call the whole thing off and figure out alternate plans. By the time we’d decided to do something other than a party I was already slipping into a non-holiday kind of mood, courtesy of one of those “life” things that had happened the week leading up to Halloween.

In fact, I was so bleh that week that I didn’t even finish making my original Halloween costume idea. I had originally intended to be a townsperson from Pleasantville – all black and white and tones of gray. I ended up not making the additional pieces I needed to make it work. Instead, I just got the stuff I needed to dress as a punk at work on Friday.

That’s right…I was a bit punk. Not a whole lot. I originally wanted to do something like a red mohawk but it wouldn’t taken too long and I honestly think the whole look worked much better. It was a little more subtle, if that word can be used in conjuction with a costume that included fake lip rings and a nose ring, fake earrings, black lipstick and a number of temporary tattoos. I actually ended up scaring a couple of regular customers. It was rather interesting the sort of reactions I got from people…James and his brother thought it was awesome. Apparently they thought the tattoos worked for me. One of the ladies who came in said “Thank God!” when I told her they weren’t real, while another one – who was much older and looked rather conservative – was sad that they weren’t. She said they were beautiful. Interesting.

Maggie finished her Ripley costume (from Aliens), complete with facehugger clinging to her back. She had even curled her hair to look more like Sigourney Weaver. It was an incredibly accurate costume. She even made her own bullets to go on her suspenders. Most of the guys who knew who she was fell into the “over 40” category. The majority of our customers kept telling her she had a spider or a scorpion on her back. One young woman asked “Are you a Ghostbuster?”

I had to keep myself from throwing coffee on her and ordering her out of the coffee shop. Ghostbuster, indeed.

A bunch of us headed out to the DC Armory on Saturday to watch a roller derby bout. LeeAnn’s girlfriend, Cris, is a rollergirl – on the DC Demoncats team. She had hurt herself on Monday so she wasn’t skating that day but we had fun watching the bout anyway. The DC Demoncats, being the defending champs from last year, were playing in an exhibition match against a visiting team. The real match came later, between Scare Force One and the Cherry Blossom Bombshells. I was cheering for the Bombshells so it was a little sad when they started getting slaughtered. As in the 64-6 type of slaughter.

Cris had been over with her team during the exhibition bout but came over to sit with us when the Scare Force and Bombshells. It was clear right off the bat that Scare Force skates pretty dirty and Cris informed us that the team’s style is almost referred to as prison derby. Even before I heard that, I was kind of expecting one of the team members to pull out a shiv or something.

Maggie and I ended up leaving just as the half time entertainment was finishing up. We needed to take the Metro back to her house and change into costume for the second part of the evening, and we knew that was going to take about an hour. The rest of the evening was going to spent out at Cox Farms’ Fields of Fear, out in Centreville. The weather wasn’t the best – a bit rainy on and off – and we wanted to be a bit comfortable. Maggie ended up wearing her corset and her long black underdress, with the addition of little Billy’s fox tail and a long black cloak for warmth and a bit of protection from the rain. I borrowed some of her Jedi stuff. I had looked for my own stuff but could only find bits and pieces of it. She had the obi, the dickie, the jacket, belt with lightsaber, and Jedi cloak. I ended up wearing my jeans with the ensemble but that was fine, as it meant I had pockets to carry everything in. We picked my sister up from a restaurant and shot out to Centreville, where we met up with Andy, Patty and Nick.

None of us had ever been out to the Fields of Fear thingy out at Cox Farms. There was a short commercial-type video on their wesite that wasn’t really very encouraging but we figured, at the very least, we had a group of funny people and we’d have fun joking around with each other.

The maze was SO MUCH FUN! It started off with a guy who stared a us for a few minutes, just inside the maze entrance. He’d step forward little by little until he was standing about a foot away from Nick, at which point he jumped towards me and shouted “Boo!”

I didn’t even flinch. Woohoo!

For most of the maze I was just cracking up. Not that it wasn’t spooky. There were a couple of rooms where there was some hesitation before we went in and people were doing their level best to scare everyone in their group. It’s just most of them tended to be jumping out at me and my usual response was to laugh in their face. In some cases, quite literally. I felt rather bad for them and I hope they don’t get paid on commission based on how many screams they get. I think the main reason I wasn’t creeped out by the whole thing was simply because corn fields just don’t really scare me. I mean, while I didn’t grow up on a farm I’m originally from Ohio. Corn fields are everywhere there. In fact, my grandmother’s backyard ends at the edge of one of her neighbor’s corn fields. Despite the fact that they seemed a bit creepy in Signs, I just don’t find them scary in general

I’m actually not sure whether my laughing helped or hurt other groups going through the maze. On the one hand, hearing crazy, disembodied laughing coming from an unspecified point in the corn field could be a bit unnerving. On the other hand, someone who might otherwise be rather spooked out by their surroundings could have heard the laughter and been a bit bolstered by it.

There was one part of the maze that made me jump. We came in out of the wet corn maze into a small room filled with fog and fake vines and jungle plants. It was rather brightly lit it’s almost like there was too much for your eyes to focus on after coming in from the much darker maze. I was expecting someone to jump out and yell boo but I couldn’t even see anyplace where someone could be hiding. I got all the way to the end of the room and was actually starting to say “There’s nobody here” when someone in a gilly suit jumped out at me.

Now, as I’ve since told a few people, my fight-or-flight response is heavily skewed towards “fight.” That being said…I went “UH!” and promptly lashed out, unthinking, with my right hand. Which happened to be holding my umbrella. I’m sure it hurt. I immediately started apologizing and Maggie said she heard him laughing when she walked by him after me.

There were a couple of parts of the maze that were roped off, due to the soggy weather, and we finally ended up in a room with some dancing clowns and a strobe light. Now, I’m actually a clown – complete with makeup and funky costume – so the presence of dancing clowns didn’t really creep me out…even though they were wearing what others might have considered “even scarier than usual clown masks.” I think the strangeness factor of the whole room would have been the same if it had just been some random people dancing. The dancing clowns escorted inside an oddly shaped room and closed the gate behind us. We lined up in front of a line of hay bales, wondering if we were supposed to sit down or something. I kind of figured what was going to happen next.

I remember someone saying “There’s no exit.” That’s when the music and strobe light shut off and a gate opposite us lowered to reveal another clown holding a chainsaw. There was a beat when he just stood there, the chainsaw sound just starting up. Then he ran at us. My sister, who had been at the end of the line closest to the door we had come through (and, hence, closest to the clown) shoved Andy, who in turn fell against Patty. The two of them ended up on the hay bales, screaming and cowering as the clown chased our group.

Well, chased most of our group. I remember standing there as everyone ran, turning slightly when everyone ran behind me and saying “What the hell are you doing?” I’m kind of sad I didn’t get to see what was going on behind me. Eventually a gate opened at the other end of the room and everyone else ran out of it. By that point the chainsaw clown had circled back around me and was sort of half-dancing in front of me. I waved at him (he slumped his shoulders and looked kind of unhappy) and looked at the person still standing to my left, expecting to see someone from my group. It was the other clown. I just went “Oh. You’re not in my group.” That’s when I finally noticed the open gate and finished up with “I guess this is where we leave.”

We ended up laughing about our trip through the maze the rest of the night. It was really amazing that our entire group came out with good experiences from it. The evening could have very easily have been ruined by people complaining about the rain, the mud, etc. Instead, everyone meshed really well. Between all the laughing I did throughout the maze and afterwards I was incredibly hoarse by the end of the evening.

Funny how watching people on skates knock each other down and a trip through a corn maze at night can completely redeem what originally looked like a sad Halloween.

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