Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fright Hike in the woods = Halloween done right

I was an NPC for Halloween.

The Rieck Center, a nature preserve belonging to the University of Findlay, organized a Fright Hike on Halloween night as a charity event for Syrian refugees. They were recruiting volunteer storytellers, and since I did not have a program for Halloween yet, I was more than happy to participate.
It was a fun night.

The event took place in the forest around the center; there were four stations with four storytellers. Every fifteen minutes, they sent out a group of ten visitors from the building, guided by volunteers to minimize the number of people lost forever in the shrubbery. Each storytelling station was lit by a torch, except for mine, which had a full, blazing campfire going with logs around it. I was grateful for this, because I am a lizard, and despite the balmy night temperature I was wearing five different layers of clothing (one of them was a Jack Frost hoodie).
It was very mood-appropriate to be out in the forest at night. There were no lights near or far other than the campfire; the trees whispered, the pond made splashing noises, and the laughter and screams of people echoed around in the darkness. It was a great setting for telling some chilling tales. In-between groups, sitting by the fire with the two guys accompanying me, I imagined myself as an adventurer in a story, spending a night in the deep, dark woods... however, I soon realized, that sitting by a fire, waiting for a bunch of people to show up and ask for a story doesn't exactly make anyone an adventurer. It makes them an NPC.
Oh well.
Either-or, the event was great fun. We had five groups come through (and a lot more people than we expected). I told the Burning of Tara (I always feel like I must tell that story at least once on Halloween), the Princess in the Shroud, and Marie Jolie (this latter two I told twice each). I had great fun, telling these tales by the fire (as all tales should be told), and the audiences seemed to appreciate them too - even when it started raining.
I followed the last group through the rest of the hike. At the other stations people told the tale of Teig O'Kane and the Corpse, Hoichi the Earless, and Bloody Mary. By the time we all made it back to the center, it was raining pretty hard, so we resorted to eating raw s'mores like a bunch of savages. Also, there was cider.

It was a great Halloween event, at the perfect intersection of excited people, good stories, and a spooky atmosphere. I hope they will do it again next year!

1 comment: