When my friends agreed to be the official hosts, while I was just the location services, for a multi-team teen Halloween party, I felt pretty good about our chances for success. We dutifully invited both high school soccer teams — boys and girls — and their friends, and so on.
We snuck in a surprise party for one of our favorite 16-year-olds. He is part of a matched set we refer to as “Two Cute Blondes.”
He is our favorite boy blonde and a perfect match for our favorite girl blonde, GirlWonder. His surprise had to be perfect — even if we are just the kind of people to have the kid help set up for his own surprise party.
It’s important to note that while other people may ask “were you raised in a BARN?” as a derogatory statement, our kids know the appropriate answer is “Yes!”
We have a very large, very open barn that lends itself very well to parties. The Party Barn offers projection screen video games, ping pong, and endless space for food tables. Outside we had two bonfires, a hayride and enough food to feed a small army. We figured maybe 30-40 kids would come?
This is where we should note that even the best-raised teens are just horrible at R.S.V.P.s. Although a final count proved impossible, most in attendance agree we had more than 100 people here for the party. I knew we had wildly underestimated the party turnout when we gridlocked the driveway. We have a long lane that crosses a creek with a high culvert.
There is literally no way out across the yard. You have to take the lane. This has never been an issue because at the top of the drive it opens up to a parking lot.
On this night, very quickly, I realized the error of my ways. First, many of our attendees are now old enough to drive themselves. This meant that for every child in attendance, many had not poured out en masse from their parent’s minivans.
No, they drove themselves. They parked themselves.
In short order, we had cars everywhere but in the swimming pool (and that just barely). In 19 years of living here, I have never backed down our driveway. Over 1,000 feet and across that narrow culvert? No, thank you.
On this night, I would watch as more than one car had no choice but to. As a side note, it’s a blessing that so many of the teens in attendance are good at video games and engineering.
Boywonder would eventually take over and stand over the parking situation, identifying who needed to move where until they had it all (somewhat) sorted out. We also had attendees, who may have wanted to leave earlier. At some point, it was less a parking issue and more a hostage situation. Might as well pop open another root beer and stay.
Meanwhile, the hay rides went off without a hitch. The kids piled on and were pulled around the back of the property in a big loop by Mr. Wonderful. Being teens they all followed directions perfectly and no one was up to any kind of hijinx at all.
Now, let’s just say you did return from one round to be informed that a few kids had hopped off the wagon back in the woods? I’m asking for a friend because I did not maybe lose two or six kids in the dark of night at one point. Nope. Nothing to see here. Still, I remained calm.
I was far more worried about losing two teenagers than, say, six. Two teens of the opposite sex lost in the woods is temptation. Six is just a slasher movie. Has this generation not seen any classic Halloween horror movies? Getting lost in the woods on Halloween is not making good choices.
Fortunately, BoyWonder is a buzzkill Boy Scout type. I love that about him.
He hopped back on the tractor and in short order had rounded up our missing persons. He noted, dryly, that he really didn’t think they were up to no good, but if they were, we would know in short order. They had been found hanging out in the trees directly across from Mr. Wonderful’s Trail Camera.
Costumes were optional, but I’m thrilled to report that many still took part. At one point, I was seated next to a 6-foot tall man dressed in red button front long johns, a giant stetson and boots (Yosemite Sam), watching a FIFA video being projected 12 feet tall on the big screen, when a girl rolled by on a skateboard.
All of this happened indoors.
If you aren’t being raised in a (party) barn, I highly recommend it. This, of course, presumes next year they carpool.
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