Greetings Neighbors and Fellow Parents,
Halloween is upon us again, which means it’s time to brainstorm some themes for our annual haunted house! Last year’s “Dracula” was big fun for the fourth year in a row, but I think we can do better. Scarier.
I know none of you ever like my “Do you know where YOUR meat comes from?” videos on Facebook, but hear me out. This haunted house thing is a great opportunity for education. We could use this haunted house to really teach our kids about horror. Here’s what I’m thinking:
Starting with those videos (which you should all really watch, especially you, Nancy), I think it’d be great to usher all of the guests into a first room lined with televisions. What are they streaming? All those videos your vegan friend posts on Facebook, of course, but now you can’t scroll past them before auto play loads. As their new and horrified understanding of lab-grown steaks unfolds, actors in mad scientist garb with Frankenstein-esque produce could slip into the crowd and startle them one-by-one with stitched together GMO fruits and veggies (it’ll be a powerful metaphor, I think).
The next scene involves four actors playing a middle class white family. They discuss all this nonsense about police prejudice and the implausibility of latent racism over a dinner of steamed kale and tofurkey something-or-other. The father figure defends the integrity of the poor officers involved while the mother nods in agreement and the children are affected adversely.
What they don’t yet know is that around the corner lies a horde of millennials sporting clothes and haircuts that express their gender identity on a spectrum. They will stare at guests from behind dead, soulless, but mostly just annoyed eyes and mumble “down with the binary” in unison, growing in volume with each repetition. Guests who claim the need to categorize is an undeniable part of human nature are awarded one swat with a rolled up poster of Laverne Cox looking 100 percent F-L-A-W-L-E-S-S.
I know we budgeted for a smaller house this year, (sorry the community yard sale didn’t flourish as I’d hoped) but I’d like to propose an additional room this year. Here the men and women (or those who identify with the cultural constructs of ‘man’ and ‘woman,’ because gender is a cultural construct) are asked to take two different flights of stairs, one up and one down. Men will find themselves beneath a Plexiglas flooring while the women stomp around overhead pretending not to notice. I know the construction of a second floor will require a permit since it has to be weight bearing, but I’m more than willing to complete the necessary paperwork on this. (Any volunteers for building our new structure? I’m thinking we can reuse it in the winter play!)
Length of the production will vary based on the participants’ responses to thorough introspection. Yes, I’m talking an interactive and immersive experience here. What takes a five-minute open discourse for some will never be accomplished in a lifetime for others, but we should probably set a time limit. I think eight hours would offer everyone an opportunity for growth. That’s at least enough time to realize they’re part of the problem.
Guests must sign waivers releasing their right to deny ignorance and the ability to claim something “just isn’t their problem.” Tirades about reverse racism are rewarded with extra time in the kitchen scene accompanied by an actor playing the ghost of police brutality cases past (still looking for a volunteer actor — reply if interested!).
However, as this could lead to an existential breakdown which ravages participants’ basic trust in humanity, I feel we should offer a safe word. My ideas include “privilege” and “cisgender white male” but I’m flexible on these.
If you’ve made it this far into the email, thanks for reading! I know you have families to attend and cultural frameworks to relax back into. I’m hoping at our next meeting we can workshop some scene ideas focusing on sexual consent, global warming, transphobia, failing education and ever-growing distrust in our nation’s leaders, too. We can pick our favorites and go from there.
Feel free to email me with any questions or concerns but know that I will proceed with this house as is because that is the way of the world and the voices of good people often go unheard.
See you all at Tuesday’s HOA meeting!