30th October, 2019

What Halloween Means to… Andi!

Pranks, Piracy & Pebbles

A case of the spooks will bring people together faster than any birthday party, let me tell you. That’s not to say you should run out and get yourself possessed immediately, that’d be inconvenient after a while. Just that a communal adrenaline rush in a preferably low stakes environment makes for some great shared experience, whether you get it by doing karaoke, paintball, or as we’ll discuss today – a Ghost Tour! Spoooooooooky.
Now I have some particularly privileged experience in this arena – I’ve been on a few, sure, but I’ve also been an uhh… shall we say, “unofficial feature” of a few tours. No, I don’t mean that I’m a ghost.
ORRRR DO I…?
Nah.
Although that’d be cool.
Except for the being dead bit.
But yeah, let me tell you a story.

When I were but a wee nipper, my dad worked at a Naval Museum on the south coast. One of the perks of this was I got to hang out at a cool touristy spot for free pretty much whenever. I also did a bit of work experience here, so I knew my way around the place pretty well; well enough that if I were ever so inclined, I’d find a way to let myself in afterhours. Now this sounds Illicit, but the place had regular afterhours activities for the grownups and such so there was minimal sneaking around required, and also the staff knew me so if I was ever “caught” I was just John’s kid so they’d let me crack on. I really oversold the rebel kid angle here.
One of the flagship (ha) attractions here was a big ol’ rusty boat dating from the second world war. They’d have tours on it pretty much all day every day, but on special occasions like Halloween they’d have ghost tours. At nighttime. Cool right!? To this day I have no idea if the thing was actually meant to be haunted or if it was just patter they made up to drive up winter ticket sales. Either way, on certain nights of the year, I knew that there’d be ten to twenty tipsy and nervous grownups stumbing around in the dark, listening to an underpaid drama student do her best Yvette Fielding impression. This was too good an opportunity for a bored teenager to pass up.
I went to five of these things, over the course of two winters.
The first two, I just included myself with the tour group. Walked around, listened to the stories. This was not that much fun, for me or the rest of the group. Yvette sure did her best but yo, you go on a ghost tour, you want ghosts.
The next one, I thought I’d have some fun with.

Now this boat was set up exactly (more or less) as it would have been at the time- with functional bunks, sheets, blankets, all of it. So it was very easy for a small, skinny teen to say, hide in one of the bunks and flick pebbles around at quiet moments to freak people out. So this is exactly what I did. And it was hilarious. Only a couple of people would notice at first, so it was super entertaining to hear them whisper and panic to themselves.

“Did you just…?”
“Yeahh… it was… nothing…”
Then a couple more *dinks*. A few more people would join in. The whispers turn into a murmur.
“Oh my…”
“Right…?”
And then I’d kick the wall.
*DONK*

And then the screams, and the lights, and the laughter. Everyone laughing, this is the best thing ever. Hugs and high fives all around. I got to feel like a rebel while making other people’s day better, which is the teenage dream. Or one of them. The only one I can write about in a “professional” blog, anyway.

I learned from this that spooky times are good times, and it’s been a theme in my life ever since. I don’t necessarily believe in all that stuff, but heck if it isn’t fun. I want to end the story with the cliché “And then they hired me to make spooky sounds all the time and it’s a career and I lived happily ever after” but nah. I tried taking a date there on the third time, and he kept giggling and got us rumbled. Boy just couldn’t keep it professional, but it was still a good date. See? Spooky brings people together!

So this Halloween, get spooky. Tell ghost stories. Pull pranks. It’ll bring you closer to your team, and you’ll make some great stories. Plus, it’s way fun and I had an awesome date with a cute boy. And I’m bragging about that to this day. Worth it.

So that’s the story of a couple of my favourite Halloweens! Do you have any awesome Halloween stories? I bet you do. Look at you, you’re fascinating. Be sure to make some more stories this year with your friends and colleagues!

Happy Halloween!