Creating a Trail of Terror for Halloween (1940's)

Probably the two most typical Hallowe’en stunts are fortune telling and the Trail of Terror.  Young boys are especially fascinated by the latter, and some version of it will always be successful at a boys’ party.  It fulfills a deep-seated longing for adventure and excitement on Hallowe’en, and gives the boy a thrilling memory for months to come.  Although the Trail of Terror usually opens the home party, it is better to use it as a goodnight stunt at the large party, in order that the boys may not be too excited for the quieter part of the program.  The following description includes ideas for several types of Terror Trails.

An outside entrance leads to a rendezvous with ghosts and witches in the cellar or attic.  Hang old fur, strips of raw liver on walls where one feels his way to dark steps.  Have waxed boards on cellar steps, with a mattress at the foot.  Host hands each guest an apple as he hits the bottom.  Basement dark, except for a few candles.  Each guest takes hold of a cord strung higher than his head, and follows it through a dark furnace-room, fruit cellar and amusement room.

Weird moans and howls come from dark corners, damp sponges and hair nets hung from the ceiling touch his face, he walks on corn stalks, bed springs, chains and lengths of hose and stumbles noisily over tin pans.  Electric fans blow tissue paper streamers in his face.  At one place “Tige” who is a guard dressed as a dog, suddenly jumps out at him, barking and growling.  A suit can be made out of brown crepe paper – sewed on old clothes – and a short tail made by wrapping cloth around a piece of wire and then covering it with brown paper.  A brown hood and a dog false-face complete the outfit.

Doorways are blockaded so that guests must crawl through a long dark tunnel, where voices muffled through a garden hose are heard, and a cowbell fastened under a running faucet gives the effect of a waterfall and a doleful gong.  At the end he hears a plaintive “meow” and sees a black cardboard cat outlined in luminous paint.  At the end of the tunnel a witch stirs her cauldron over a “fire” made by a light bulb covered with quantities of red tissue paper.  She gives him a teaspoon of brew, which proves to be vinegar.  A sheeted ghost appears to lead him back to the party room, where the witches’ snake (a roll of chilled dough), a spider (slippery mushroom), the devil’s hand (a cold chicken foot) and other objects are being passed from guest to guest in the dark.  Finally, the lights are turned on, the silence ends and games begin in a burst of fun.

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