The Day After.

From the pitch black darkness, I was jolted awake from the sound of the alarm clock buzzing in the other room. It was my son's clock. That meant that it was 6:30 am. Strange, because I distinctly remember setting my own alarm for 5:30 am, just before completely passing out from total exhaustion. That was about 11:45 last night...

As I tried to pull myself out of bed, I groaned from deep aches and pains that ran the entire length of my body. The middle of my back was one giant, twisted knot. My lower back felt like two dried skeletal bones painfully grinding together. My knee had been tweaked somewhere along the line, and was now swollen tight and stiff. My heel felt like a sharp concrete block that I could barely put pressure on. I literally felt like I had been run over by a dump truck. But still I was grinning from ear to ear.

As I sat and reflected on the whirlwind events from the previous night, the grin began to glow and an excited buzz began to course through my veins.

Last night's Halloween trick-or-treat celebration was awesome. Absolutely awesome. And that growing buzz helped dull the deep aches and pains from the previous day's long and heavy workload.

Our depleted crew of three began our annual Halloween yard haunt setup at 9:00 am. It was a razor sharp battle between schedule and clock. Our goal? Everything and everyone had to be in place and ready to go by 6:00 pm. That gave us just 9 hours to get it all done. Sound crazy? I knew we had a lot of time, but we would still need to be incredibly efficient to get it all done. Especially working as a team of only three.

And without an extensive and detailed setup plan, we never would have made it. Somehow, some way, everything was up and running at 5:57. All props, all lighting, all audio, all electrical. Everything. I had to stop and take it all in for a brief moment. A testament to our dedicated work and a finely detailed plan to get it all done. I took one deep breath. Exhaled. And then raced into the house. I had roughly 5 minutes to get my makeup done...

I threw in some colored contact lenses, whipped up a few grungy streaks and colors across my face, and haphazardly assembled a costume out of pieces of my MHC Masquerade Ball costumes from the past three years. And I stepped out into the haunt at roughly 6:10, ready to greet the oncoming hordes of trick-or-treaters racing to our crypt door.

And the trick-or-treaters kept coming. And coming. And coming. It was a relentless onslaught of kids, parents, friends and curious neighbors all night long. At times, it was impossible to count all the people coming and going through the cemetery arch. But they kept coming.

The two hours of trick-or-treat flew by, but each of us, now numbering 11 total actors and helpers, had an incredibly fun time. And the weather was absolutely perfect. The nighttime air was dry, but perfectly chilly and crisp. The clouds thinned, revealing the murky glow of a near-full moon. The wind even died down, allowing for some of the thickest plumes of fog I have ever seen in my many years of displays.

The final trick-or-treaters left at about 8:30 pm, and I quickly grabbed my camera, wildly snapping photos throughout the display. And by 9:00, it was time for the evening's crescendo: the tear down. 11 individuals working together to get it all taken down and put away, leaving no trace of the events that had taken place just an hour earlier. The magic of the day's events was now complete. Setup of the display, an amazing haunt visual and auditory show, then a complete tear down, returning to the stark plainness of an unlit, empty yard.

But the best part of the evening sat in a coffin at the top of the driveway. All night long, people brought donations to our first annual Halloween canned food drive. The coffin was nearly filled to the top by the end of the night. When I went to see how much we had collected, I was beside myself in shock. Neighbors and friends had really stepped up and filled the coffin for a cause! It was the perfect ending for an absolutely perfect night...

After everything had been stashed away and the annual thank you t-shirts had been given out, I limped up the stairs to upload all of the evening's photos. I was very happy with what I was able to capture! I'm currently going through and picking the best of the best to present here and across the interwebs. I'm incredibly proud of what the team was able to accomplish last night and incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support from the rest of the neighborhood.

Check back tomorrow night for a full gallery of Highbury Cemetery 2017 shots and a detailed review of the evening's events.


P.E. Cor said...

Congrats to your team! It's nice when everything comes together, right? But I don't envy you the work load or aches and pains.

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