Haunted Houses Were Our Specialty

So its not a Haunted House shot, its a Halloween shot of Bahnd Jes-Bahnd, the Norwegian Green agent, and friend Ce.

After having discussions about those places customers and coworkers took kids and remembered fondly, I’ll always believe the 10 day-100 person-plus events I helped the Albany Jaycees produce for a half-dozen years were the best deal around in all respects.  It always galvanized our group, as major projects should, and while it was also our major fundraiser, for $2 a kid/$4 adults, the focus was  entertainment value, and we ALWAYS put on a great show.

Mentioning I was a legendary scarer as Chainsaw Jason isn’t just ego–I never missed a kid that should’ve been scared, specifically wiseass 11-14 y/old guys who hold a spider ring or whatever we gave littlest kiddies “to make the monsters be nice” and think they can diss the participants.   Characters just wave and don’t try getting close to small Snow Whites or worried ninja turtles, but gimme a little smoke or strobe, I will be badass, because I will *SELL* the situation to a wiseass.

One such twerp had lots to say about our ‘Psycho’ shower scene, and he actually guessed correctly about someone being in a place behind bloody window blinds. Folks, it’s *always* about timing. Kicking the door open automatically activated a killer high strobe, and punk was DOWN and crabbing away when I came roaring out.  My ‘not too cool now’ type remark was lost on the dude richocheting off EVERY panel in EVERY room the entire second half getting out.  I’m wiping tears of laughter, one of a half-dozen times that make the organizing and performing totally worth while.

After Year One we determined that masks needed to be wiped with disinfectant after each shift so we didn’t have 26 achy throated Junior Chamber members the next meeting. We built totally different productions in five different malls, a testament to the work ethic people get on meaningful projects.  I’ll segue a little to offer every best wish to those hurricane survivors who will need that ethic every bit as much as my click to American Red Cross after this spectacular hurricane.  Our greatest engineering feat was three 50gal. drums as counterweight to a zip line with flying witches.  How many times those smaller high school girls geared up in back harnesses, flew blind into curtains expecting to be caught, unhitched and ran back to do it again was truly impressive.

Year Two was an old three level Burger King, the lower a perfect cemetery, upstairs for costuming and makeup, operational control center the ordering window of course.  Biggest challenge was covering HUGE area of sun windows. We learned, as I predicted from professional dealings with Zoning people in that area, they didn’t know or care if we’d gotten away with running LOTS of electric cables under crackling leaves the year before, we definitely wouldn’t be using effective but definitely flammable dark wrapping paper to mitigate the sunlight, which they tore down at first inspection.

When you get a team thing going, thats always the best energy. Four other characters popping out strategically wherever they turned after the appearance of Chainsaw Jason in a BIG cemetery caused one memorable group–seven girls, 2-3 guys– to absolutely pancake on the floot, with guys climbing over the girls to get away, that was epic.  We high fived each other big time on that one.The kids are happy about scaring friends and people they know, our Junior Chamber people got involved in functions like ensuring there was adequate chow and soda on hand for 35-50-70 people on breaks, arranging snacking and feeding supplies a role they might not usually touch as junior bankers or newbie supermarket executives.  We did almost no “-thons” during my year as Community Development VP because signing up people to donate didn’t seem to improve our peoples professional skills. 

Today/tomorrow is one of biggest events in our store every year, lots of charities benefit, and I’ve been ‘pre-selling’ a lot so people don’t have to come in 6 a.m. tomorrow (I’m in at 7) to get benefit of 20% off super-ticket (vs. standard coupon) they’ll have purchased. Through the end of this weekend our monthly goal is about $18k; its sixty-five for the month, and while MTD we are mid-four, this is the time to knock out sales.  Yes, I should be an executive-personal assistant, but with ‘blood in the water’ so to speak, I’m in maximizing sales mode.  Gotta get some paypack this month–when management cut 24 hours out of our collective schedules the last three weeks, Jack and I missed bonus by less than $2,000.

I’ll wind up getting to Men’s Club meeting (not the operation over on Tyvola) late after working a dinky (and management stupid) six-hour 3:30-9:30 shift, only small consolation being my manager will be in by five to ring alllll the pre-sales. If he puts up with that (and a split shift where he’ll work tonight too) instead of having sales associates on non-comm hours arrive at eight to handle their stuff, so be it.  Will probably miss the business part of meeting, but assume that after 17 previous Christmas Tree sales with St. Gabriel Mens Club, I know about date for delivery, so I’ll clear that Tues. before Thanksgiving, even if I can’t make it for selling frenzy first weekend.

This being our 25th anniversary sale, one that supports many areas of community service, I’ve got a commemorative bulb using a family’s favorite pictures that was introduced last year and I wanted to present as an add on sale. Will use the e-route, but its also not teaching THAT dramatic a trick to some of our ‘old dogs’ at the tree lot…

I loved doing Haunted Houses, but its elementally about the comaraderie, the feeling like you’ve made a difference.  A little nip in the air lately, good news for this ex-Yankee and maybe some heavier coat sales.  Last year it was in 50s through New Years, didn’t sell anything until 60-75% off.  Thanks for supporting the economy people!

Glenn S.

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