The school Jack is going to is brand new, therefore the PTA and all of the programs are also new. Right after school started we volunteered to help with the Halloween party, which was going to be the big fundraiser for the year. (Side note – our school is following the new district policy of no parties, so the kids weren’t going to get to celebrate Halloween, so instead of the standard Walk-A-Thon, we thought it would be fun to have a Halloween-A-Thon.) Since the PTA is new and has a lack of volunteers we quickly became the chair people for the Haunted Castle maze.
Now we needed to come up with the design, build it off site, transport it to the school on the morning of the event, set up and take down that night, which provided some interesting challenges. After some thought and research Jim came up with the structure design. It would be 2×2 frames covered with black plastic. The inside would be a maze of hallways to keep people walking though it and we would have to put a roof on it to make it dark. Luckily we were able to get some great sponsors and got all of the building materials donated.
The structure turned out to be 8 ft tall, 26 ft wide and 40 ft long. It was my job to light and decorate it. That is no easy task since I didn’t get to see it built until the day of. We settled on black lights for the lighting. Once the walls were covered with plastic we painted patterns on the walls with florescent spray paint. Our neighbors Tom and Diana and Jim and I spent a rainy Sunday in our garage getting high on spray paint fumes.
An interesting thing I discovered was that not all white things glow under a black light. White plastic and white paint don’t glow. Luckily I found some glow in the dark paint which worked to coat the things that don’t naturally glow. I found some great stuff, like a spider with LED eyes, a ghost that flies on a line, and spooky talking pumpkin. We made grave stones, a big white spider web and a coffin.
Set-up on Friday went very smoothly. We were able to drive right up to the gym and unload in between recesses. Our volunteers were great and we had the walls built in a couple hours and the roof on by lunch. Then the decorating got to work. Unfortunately we don’t have many good photos of the inside because it was so dark.
We were hopeful that it would come together and stay up the whole time and it did, plus it looked amazing. It was hard to visualize it and I think it exceeded both of our expectations. Anyone who knew we did it found us during the event and let us know how much they liked it. The kids liked it too. There are a few things we will add and do differently next year, but it was a great start for the first year.
At 7:30 that night we were collapsed on the sofa having a beer and munching on some snacks. We had been on our feet from 6 am until 7:30, we were a touch sore the next day.
A big thank you to Alan (Jack’s god father), who was our right hand guy that day. He helped Jim load, unload, build, decorate, host, chaperone, take down and haul home. We did give him a couple of beers as we finally sat down.