The axe murderer wasn’t invited. Neither was the vampire, nor the zombie, or the ghost; not even the disembodied hand at the window. The supernatural trade union is going to have a field day with this one.
Last night our two youngest daughters had a couple of friends stay the night for a sleep over. That in itself is not unusual. With four daughters I have experienced my share of girly slumber parties down the years.
The variable was my participation level. It seems one of the invited clan was rather hesitant to undertake the experience. Believe it or not, dear readers, I seem to have a reputation amongst my daughters’ friends as someone who will intentionally scare the all-night revellers with a series of horror-based pranks. Moi?
For the second time in three days (the first being the Westminster Abbey service) I found myself at the receiving end of a set of assertive instructions regarding the evening’s boundaries delivered by my 14 and 13-year-old daughters.
Rule 1: No scaring anyone, especially the feint-hearted guest (we’ll call her Mary).
Rule 2: see rule number 1
They might as well have asked the birds not to sing. They might as well have asked the river not to flow. To ask me to refrain from trying to scare the girls and their guests during a sleep-over was just un-natural, dear readers.
I consider the role of slumber party prankster to be near the top of the Official Dad’s Job Description.
My sister will account for the fact that this (let’s call it what it is: skill) was evident even in my childhood. I would crash her sleep-overs by climbing on the roof of our parents’ house and lowering rubber skeletons in front of the windows on fishing lines. If that didn’t work there was the little known hatch to the attic at the top of the stairs. I could hide inside the attic and jump out at unsuspecting party-goers as they walked past. Ah, the number of friends who wet themselves as a result. Memories.
But scaring at sleep-overs is an equal opportunity endeavour. I have put the frighteners on my son and his mates down the years as well. My son’s birthday is on Halloween which means he sometimes gets a double dose!
On his 5th birthday I hid outside the window dressed as a werewolf whilst the assembled group sang Happy Birthday. I jumped through the kitchen window growling and snarling at the opportune moment, causing one of his friends to react by crushing a fully laden ice cream cone in his hands. We still remind the friend of the event even now, 11 years later.
And the tricks didn’t stop just because he got older. They just had to become more ‘believable.’ On my son’s 13th birthday I pretended to take a phone call from the local police who ‘told’ me that a local madman had gone berserk and was on the roof adjacent to our fire escape. In what could have easily been an Oscar-nominated performance, I instructed my wife in a loud voice to lock all the doors and windows so that the potential assailant could not get into our flat.
Meanwhile I rang my own phone a second time and engaged in a further mock conversation with the police who told me the lunatic had been spotted trying to get in a window at the other end of the flat. I shouted for my son and his friends to guard the door to the fire escape and not to open it at any cost as I was going out on the roof after the intruder. Armed with rulers and a plastic baseball bat, the boys stared intently and silently at the closed-door for 10 minutes until I shouted from outside, pretending I was in a scuffle with the madman. I burst through the door to find the boys huddling behind each other. Priceless.
But the girls were having none of it last night. They put barriers up in front of the windows to block any attempt I might make at sneaking up on them from the roof. They barricaded their bedroom door so that a potential dad zombie couldn’t even walk into the room unannounced. Even when I went to the kitchen to get a drink, I noted they were listening for my footsteps coming up the corridor: the music would be turned down and voices would stop, listening for my next move. A call of “Dad we know you are out there” would follow, falling on my ears like a thunderstorm on a picnic.
I did put a sheet over my head and floated into the kitchen at one point while they were making popcorn. They were not impressed with my ghost impression though. “Dad it is the sheet off of your bed, I recognise the pattern,” our second youngest observed.
Spoil sports. Life isn’t easy these days for the walking dead. It’s not like it used to be.
Mary survived the slumber party. She had vacated the flat before I awoke this morning, no doubt collecting her wager for having spent the night in the house where none of my daughters’ friends dare go. I didn’t get the chance to show her the photo below which shows the Little Girl Ghost who lives in our flat.
Keep the Faith,
The Disembodied Head