Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Amazing Halloween Fun

In the previous post, I drove from Bend to Walla Walla, spent a few days, then to Tri-Cities for just one night.

I got up at 6:00, and was on the road by 6:30.  The night before, I'd mentioned to my sister and her roommate that I didn't really know for sure which route to take, but I'd just follow what the GPS said.  My sister said there were two routes that took about the same length of time--boring freeway, and slightly more interesting highway.  So I chose the winding highway to Vantage, then to Ellensburg and over Snoqualmie Pass.

I found my way to my dad's house with the help of my brother and immediately got started helping him and his girlfriend prepare for the Halloween party they were having six and a half hours later.  You see, they had been out of town until Thursday night, and planned a Halloween party on the only night you can really have such a party when Halloween falls on a Wednesday--the Saturday night prior.  They had gotten quite a bit done, but the final decorating, food prep, and game-planning still needed to occur.  My dad's girlfriend, C, has approximately 4,206 bins of Halloween decorations--it's only her favorite holiday.  :-)  So we decorated, cooked, and planned the game.

Oh yes, so my dad, as a fan of the Amazing Race, wanted to adapt it into a party game that was, as he said, JUST like the one on TV, with a few small differences.  I ran through the main pieces of it with him to "vet" it for feasibility and to see how long the different heats (aka "legs" in the TV version--see?  small differences) would take.

Finally, it was time to get dressed, help my dad into his makeup, and greet the guests, some of which the host and hostess didn't even recognize because of their elaborate masks/costumes.  (The invitations had only specified that masks were required, but some people were either very ambitious or heading to a full-costume party afterward, and had full costumes on.)

So, without further ado, some party pictures with a description of the game interspersed:

This couple were friends with my parents something like 27-28 years ago!

The dessert table!  The little pumpkins in the back have "dirt pie" in little cups inside the pumpkins, there were a variety of cookies and brownies, and the "grave" on the right is a pan of caramel corn with a headstone.

Just a TINY portion of C's Halloween collection!

My dad, aka Frankenstein's monster

Some people took "mask" to mean face makeup, and others took it to mean glasses.  It's all good.

Mmm...Sewer Water!  Looked incredibly authentic, actually.  It's Dr. Pepper mixed  with orange juice, and in this case, a decent helping of vodka.  There are also a few "turds" made of Tootsie Rolls, but unfortunately, they sink.  But apparently, eventually dissolve and add a chocolatey flavor to the mixture.

The non-alcoholic drink, Pond Scum.  Not quite sure the ingredients, but I think it  was cranberry-based.

Dad, explaining the Amazing Halloween Race

The first heat started with a quiz, and the first team to answer was given their scavenger hunt list.  This provided some incentive to answer correctly and quickly--a head start on the other teams for the scavenger hunt.  There were eight teams, and eight sets of items hidden throughout the house.  There was foreign currency hidden in a pirate skull, small uncarved pumpkins, "animal bits" in the pantry (jars with their labels replaced with hand-written ones), "dead animals" (stuffed animals) in a bucket in the cellar, and probably a few other things.

It wasn't quite dark yet, so the cellar wasn't as creepy as it could have been, but it was still pretty cool.  There is a wall in the center of the main area, dividing it into two areas, plus a third area with the water heater, etc., and I put a bucket at the far end of each of them so people would have to walk in and check them for the "dead" animals.  Dad had unscrewed most of the lights in the basement, but I replaced the remaining ones with colored bulbs and also plugged in a couple strings of (dim) Halloween-colored lights to provide just a bit of light.

Someone happened to have a flashlight, so I let her use it.

After the first heat, it was narrowed from eight teams down to six.  The next heat started with another sort of hunt, this time the players had a sheet with clues and blanks to fill the answers in on, and they lined up with a  Halloween-themed word spelled vertically.  In the order they finished that task, they got to line up for the task of shooting at pumpkins...

...with a SPUD GUN!

My brother (the pilot--that's his actual uniform from when he WAS a pilot for all of like five minutes until he was furloughed when the airline started tanking) loaded the gun and told players how to shoot, and they went for it.


The first four to hit a target with the spud gun (if they missed, they had to go to the back of the line) moved on to the next round--first charades to get their teammate to guess the title of a scary movie...
...ride a broom from one end of the house to the other, tandem--and this was quite a trek--my dad's house has a very interesting layout, and this route involved crossing the dining room, living room, kitchen, eating area, down a looong hallway, around a corner, a few steps further before turning into a room, across the room, and to this windowsill, where they had to use their mouths to pluck an apple from the windowsill...

...carry it in their mouths back to where they'd started with the broom, while still riding it tandem, by the way...

...so they could "sweep" the apple back down that whole route into the room they'd gotten it from and into a small trash can turned on its side.  After this round, two more teams were eliminated, so only the top two teams had the pleasure of continuing on to the next round.  And as I reminded them, there's a type of competition that's nearly always included in the final episode of the TV version of Amazing Race...

...an eating competition!  Sorry for the large photo (you can click it to view it even larger, I think), but these tasty treats deserve to have readable labels.

The champagne flutes, from left to right, contain:

  • Bovine Ovaries (Longan fruit in syrup--ours wasn't THAT brand, though!  I've had this fruit fresh in Thailand, but hadn't tried it canned.  It kind of has the texture of the canned maraschino cherries from fruit cocktail, and the flavor is sweet and mild, not unpleasant)
  • Ghost Testicles (Palm seed in very heavy syrup, it was seriously very thick and sticky but actually quite tasty.  I think I also had this in Thailand, and it's not unheard of to use it in desserts there.)
  • Lizard Eyeballs (Hard-boiled quail eggs canned in brine.  I thought they were too rubbery to enjoy, but my dad helped himself to quite a few after the contest was over.)
  • Werewolf Boogers (Pickled grapes, which were VERY sour, but wouldn't be bad in moderation mixed into a dish in which their powerful flavor can be appreciated.)
The little bowls contained:
  • Monster Dandruff (Strips of dried and/or fried fish skin or fish something-or-other.  Many of the other foods were purchased from a local Asian market specifically for this contest, but my brother raided his pantry at home for these--his wife, who is from Thailand, brings them home whenever she visits because she enjoys them.)
  • Fish Food (Fish-flavored balls with the texture of cheese balls, but they smelled EXACTLY like the fish flakes you feed to fish; I can't find a link for these, but they were also from my sister-in-law's snack stash)
  • Witch Intestines (So-called "sweetened" dehydrated radish, which was actually quite salty, not at all sweet, and a little bit sour [this one says salted, but ours said sweetened on the label].  They had the look of a very flaccid cadaver penis or other tubular organ (seriously--they were exactly the color of a preserved anatomy cadaver).  We added the pieces we weren't using in the eating contest to the bucket of guts people needed to pull their clues out of earlier in the game.
There were three pieces of the final stage--the eating contest (any combination of the partners could eat the food, so long as all of the food disappeared down their gullets), a relay race with on partner carrying a severed head on a tray and the other running with it held between their thighs, and scooping candy corn from a bowl to a mug across the room via a spoon.  Because there was only one severed head, one team started with that, then did the other two tasks, and the other team did the other two tasks first and ended with that task, so since they weren't racing head-to-head, neither team knew if they were ahead or behind until it was over.

After the Amazing Race ended, the food was ready, and general partying continued.

This guy and his wife won the award for best dessert.

This was the best costume.
I can't believe I didn't get a photo of them with their award, but the guy with the nerd glasses and his wife in the white jacket won the whole thing.  Woo!

The spread.  And what a spread it was!  Pierogis, stuffed grape leaves, egg rolls, potstickers, curry, coconut shrimp, spicy cornbread muffins, and a few other things I'm not remembering right now.  They all had creatively creepy names I'm having a hard time remembering.  The shrimp were warlock knuckles.  One of the items (potstickers?) was shredded brains, the pierogis, which had shredded cheese on them, were something to do with sinus scrapings...

My brother came with a mask, too.  :-)  (He couldn't actually wear it for more than 10 seconds without it  fogging up, but it was clever in any case.)

The party was quite a success.  The next morning, I hung out longer than I probably should have, chatting and intermittently finding a couple items to clean up.  But I needed to hit the road, because the lady was coming to look at Trigger sometime that day, and would be getting a vet check the next morning, so I wanted to get home by sunset to be able to see him and say goodbye and so forth.  It was raining REALLY hard most of the way.  At some point during the drive, Trigger's trainer texted me then called me to tell me that the lady had come to see him, but thought he was lame.  Neither she (the trainer) nor her husband could see what she was saying, so who knows if she's just REALLY astute or if she just didn't like him for some other reason and that was the excuse she gave.  So back to the drawing board on that one.  She re-posted him on Craigslist, his former owner re-posted it to an endurance group on Facebook, and I re-posted it to the endurance group's Yahoo page and also added some photos to the Dreamhorse ad.  Here's hoping!

Anyway...it was really raining on the drive home, especially west of the Cascades.

But the scenery was really pretty!

Back on the dry side of the mountains, it wasn't raining quite as much, but there were still some dramatic clouds.

Thus endeth the Trigger update, travelogue, and Halloween party.

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