By: Madi Van Camp
Is everyone else as excited for Halloween as I am? Fall is right around the corner and with every passing day and every drop in tempurature, my anticipation grows for all things ghostly. From costumes and candy, to haunted houses and hot chocolate, I can’t wait for the season of spooky! One of the things I’m looking forward to the most this Autumn is the Halloween Cruise at CLAS Ropes Course. I know what you’re thinking. “You are writing an article for CLAS Ropes Course, so of course you’re going to say that.” But let me tell you a little bit about my experience working on the Halloween Cruise last Fall, and hopefully you’ll understand why I’m so excited.
It took me and my coworkers the entire month of September to set up. Every day, we would spend 8 or 9 hours out on the river, stringing up lights or hanging decorations from the trees. Some days, I felt like I was on the water more than I was on land. All the while, we would participate in our makeshift version of river karaoke as we each sang along to the music blaring from the speakers on the boat. (I’m sure the trail-goers didn’t appreciate the interuption from their peaceful walks or jogs, but we sang anyway.)
As October approached, the pumpkin carving commenced. Every day, we would each carve twenty or so pumpkins a piece. This trend continued throughout the cruise, because pumpkins don’t last very long when they’re sitting on the banks of a river. I can still smell the rotting pumpkins when I think about filling up the wheel barrows, wheeling the deceased jack-o-lanterns to the dumpster, and replacing them with fresh ones every day.
The first day of October was one for the books. None of us staff members had participated in a Halloween Cruise before because of the total crew turn-over the previous year. We ran around like scared chickens. (Trust me, I would know what that looks like. We have three chickens who are permanent residents of CLAS Ropes Course.) But somehow, we managed to pull it off. Our Captain, who had never captained a boat before, kept everyone afloat. Our pirate, who had never acted in his life, had a killer pirate accent.
Every day of the cruise brought new adventures and stories to tell. On one occasion, the pirate was so eager to pillage the cruise ship that instead of gently walking the canoe down the hill and into the river, he jumped into it at the top of the hill. He expected the canoe would slide down like a sled on snow, but it didn’t. The canoe flipped upside down as soon as it hit the water, and our pirate went overboard. He attacked the ship soaking wet that night.
On another evening, there were a few stragglers who showed up late and we took them on the last run of the night. There was one young family and a few couples on dates. When the pirate canoed out to us and started telling his cheesy pirate jokes, the young boy who was there with his parents asked, “Is this a real pirate?” His father replied, “I think it might be.” One of the couples chimed in and said, “He is a real pirate. I’ve heard there are a lot of pirates on this river.” By the end of the cruise, every person on the boat had told a story about pirates to this little boy, and we had him totally convinced. His eyes grew big and his smile stretched wide between his ears as he talked to the pirate. There was something magical about the belief and wonderment of this little boy on the boat that night.
I know I’m not the only one who has fond memories of the Halloween Cruise. All of the staff here at CLAS Ropes Course can agree that this is one of the funnest ways to spend this haunted holiday. If you’re looking for a new way to celebrate, or if you’re looking to continue this beloved family tradition, you’re invited! Trust me, you want to be a part of this.