13 Days of Halloween Stories: Day 2

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The War on Halloween

A ten minute comic play

By Jonathan Joy

 

The War on Halloween debuted September 2007 as a part of the Kanawha Players Briefs and Shorts series in Charleston, WV, and featured Mike Murdock and Jen McComas in the cast.  Weeks later it was performed Off-Off Broadway in NYC at the Wings Theatre as a part of a Phare Play Productions Halloween Fest.

 

(Lights up on DEBBIE folding laundry. Her husband, MARK, enters the room quickly, attempting to scare her.)

 

MARK

Boo!

 

(She doesn’t flinch. Pause.)

 

DEBBIE

Hi, honey.

 

MARK

Man, you are impossible. You got nerves of steel.

 

DEBBIE

Happy Halloween.

 

MARK

Oh, you know it is. Three days away. Three days, Debbie. Count ’em.

 

DEBBIE

I know.

 

MARK

I’m gonna get you. One of these three days, right when you’re not expecting it. Boo!

 

DEBBIE

It might be easier if you didn’t keep telling me it was coming.

 

MARK

I’ll get you. You wait and see.

 

DEBBIE

And you have to stop doing that to Mr. Johnson. He’s eighty years old and he has heart problems.

 

MARK

Oh, he’s a good sport.

 

DEBBIE

You’re going to kill him if you keep it up.

 

MARK

Okay, I’ll lay off the old man.

 

DEBBIE

Thank you.

 

MARK

(shifting mood from playful to overly concerned)

In all seriousness, I think we got something we need to talk about.

 

DEBBIE

Do we?

 

MARK

(very serious now)

I think we need to talk about this Halloween situation at Mark Jr.’s school.

 

DEBBIE

What Halloween situation?

 

MARK

Have you read this?

 

DEBBIE

Yes, it’s from Mark Jr.’s teacher. She sent it home with him today.

 

MARK

Do you know what it says?

 

DEBBIE

It’s about the Halloween party.

 

MARK

Exactly. But they don’t call it a Halloween party, do they?

 

DEBBIE

What are you talking about?

MARK

Costume party. Check it out.

 

DEBBIE

Costume party, Halloween party…what’s the difference?

 

MARK

The difference is on page two.

 

DEBBIE

I’m looking.

 

MARK

There’s an approved list of costume choices. Look at that. No scary costumes. No ghosts or goblins, no vampires, no werewolves, no zombies…

 

DEBBIE

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I told you I read it.

 

MARK

And this doesn’t upset you?

 

DEBBIE

Mark, it’s no big deal.

 

MARK

It is a very big deal. Since when did Mark Jr’s school become a fascist regime?

 

DEBBIE

(under her breath)

Can you even define fascist regime?

 

MARK

What was that?

 

DEBBIE

Nothing.

 

MARK

Halloween is supposed to be scary.

 

DEBBIE

He’s going as Ninja Turtle.

 

MARK

My boy is not gonna be a fucking Ninja Turtle.

 

DEBBIE

It’s what he wants.

 

MARK

It’s what he wants because he’s got these teachers filling his head with all kinds of bullshit.

 

DEBBIE

Mark, please don’t start…

 

MARK

No, listen. I got a plan.

 

DEBBIE

I don’t want to hear it

 

MARK

Listen…

 

DEBBIE

Please, don’t go making more out of this…

 

MARK

Just hear me out.

 

DEBBIE

If you’re going to stand there, can you at least help me fold this laundry?

 

MARK

Baby, will you stop with the laundry. I’m too worked up about this.

 

DEBBIE

(She pauses, stops folding laundry, turns attention to Mark)

Okay. What is your plan?

 

MARK

Mark Jr. is gonna go to that party as…get this…as Pinhead.

 

DEBBIE

Who?

 

MARK

The guy from Hellraiser movies with all the pins sticking in his head.

 

DEBBIE

What? No, he’s not.

 

MARK

I got him upstairs watching the movie right now.

 

DEBBIE

He’s six years old.

 

MARK

He’s loving it. See if you can get him to watch those dumb ass Ninja Turtles again after this.

 

DEBBIE

I can’t believe you.

 

MARK

I know. It’s pretty outstanding, isn’t it?

 

DEBBIE

If I go upstairs and our son is watching Hellraiser, I’m going to go apeshit…

 

MARK

Calm down. It’s time for a revolution. I’ve already written a letter to Bill O’ Riley about the war on Halloween.

 

DEBBIE

This is ridiculous.

 

MARK

If being a culture warrior and standing up for what is right is ridiculous, than maybe I am.

 

DEBBIE

You are something else…

 

MARK

Look at this list. They don’t want the kids dressed up as Freddy Kruger or Jason or Dracula…

 

DEBBIE

I know…

 

MARK

No blood, no nothing. This isn’t fun. This is completely against the spirit of the season. And you’re not pissed off?

 

DEBBIE

It’s a first grade costume party. Every year it’s something. Why do you get so obsessed?

 

MARK

It was one thing when they banned dodgeball. After all, Mark Jr. is not the most physically agile of children. And then they got rid of tag and that really rubbed me the wrong way. When they told the kids they couldn’t play cowboys and Indians, I was plum furious, but I let it go. But now they’ve really crossed the line. They can’t have Halloween, Debbie. I’m not gonna let them take it away. This is our boy’s chance to shine.

 

DEBBIE

Mark…

 

MARK

Baby, it’s Halloween. This is important. Now, I know it was easier when he was just a wee one and we could dress him as a pumpkin or a green bean or something cute like that. But he’s growing up. He’s got to make his own decisions.

 

DEBBIE

He has made his own decision. He wants to be a Ninja Turtle.

 

MARK

No, he doesn’t.

 

DEBBIE

Last year you made him dress up as Harry Potter. Didn’t you learn your lesson?

 

MARK

Wasn’t that the cutest damn thing you’ve ever seen in your life?

 

DEBBIE

He hated it. He barely knows who Harry Potter is. He hasn’t seen the movies. He certainly hasn’t read the books. He wanted to be a witch.

 

MARK

Girls are witches. I explained that Harry Potter was kind of like a boy witch.

 

DEBBIE

And now our neighbors think were Satan worshipers or something.

 

MARK

Those assholes? They don’t know what they’re talking about. They think everybody is going to hell.

 

DEBBIE

Will you stop it?

 

MARK

No, I won’t. This is too important. Now, we’re wasting valuable decorating time by even discussing it. I haven’t even started on the inflatable skeletons yet. I really need you to get on the same page with me on this. Can’t you support me just this once?

 

DEBBIE

Okay, fine.

 

MARK

All right. That’s more like it.

 

DEBBIE

But you are going to be the one picking him up from school when he gets sent home early. Do you hear me?

 

MARK

That’s fine. Doesn’t bother me a bit. In fact, it’s part of the plan.

 

DEBBIE

It is.

 

MARK

I’m going to dress up as a pinko commie…

 

DEBBIE

Oh, God.

 

MARK

And when I go down to pick him up, and they ask me who I’m dressed as, I’m gonna say, “You, I’m dressed as you, Hitler”.

 

DEBBIE

Hitler? Come on…

 

MARK

I should have known you’d take up for Hitler before your own husband. That’s just sad, Debbie.

 

DEBBIE

Tell me this. What does a pinko commie look like?

 

MARK

I don’t know. That’s why I rented Red Dawn.

 

DEBBIE

Oh, shut up. Will you get out of here?

 

MARK

Yeah, I’ll go. I got lots to do. The Revolution begins at 8am.

 

DEBBIE

Uh-huh. Honey…

 

MARK

Yes.

 

DEBBIE

Don’t drink any more beer before you hang the orange lights, all right?

 

MARK

Anything you say.

 

DEBBIE

And turn that movie off. I don’t want him watching that.

 

MARK

Okay. If you say so.

 

(He exits solemnly and then quickly re-enters with a big smile on his face.)

 

Hey, baby…

 

DEBBIE

Yeah.

 

MARK

You gonna dress up as a cheerleader this year?

 

DEBBIE

No.

 

MARK

Naughty nurse?

 

DEBBIE

Will you cut it out?

 

MARK

Playboy bunny?

 

DEBBIE

Those don’t sound like very scary costumes, Mark.

 

MARK

You haven’t decided yet. That’s okay. Just keep thinking. I got lots of ideas…

 

DEBBIE

I’m sure you do.

 

MARK

I’ll be upstairs if you need me. I love you.

 

DEBBIE

I love you too…

 

(He exits. She resumes folding laundry.)

 

Jackass.

 

MARK

(offstage)

What was that?

 

DEBBIE

Nothing, honey. I’ll be up soon.

 

(Silence. She is finishing folding when MARK re-enters, slowly and quietly, sneaking up on DEBBIE. He is wearing a “scary” Halloween mask.)

 

DEBBIE

(without looking at him)

I see you.

 

MARK

(takes mask off, throws it down)

Oh, damn.

 

DEBBIE

Nice try.

 

MARK

Okay, that’s enough fooling around. I got important work to do. I got a lot of spider webs to hang up, I got seven inflatables I still got to place on the lawn, that coffin is still in the basement. You know, I could really use some help decorating if you get some free time.

 

(DEBBIE flashes him a long disapproving stare.)

 

But…you know…it you got laundry and stuff…

 

(Pause. Stare.)

 

All right, then.

 

(He exits. Silence. DEBBIE picks up the mask.)

 

DEBBIE

You left your…

 

(She looks at it and puts it on. She exits and in a few moments a scared MARK scream is heard offstage.)

 

MARK

Oh, my God!

 

(DEBBIE laughing offstage. She soon re-enters, throws mask down and continues folding laundry. A few seconds later MARK re-enters.)

 

MARK

You scared the hell out of me.

 

DEBBIE

Serves you right.

 

MARK

What are trying to do? You trying to kill me?

 

DEBBIE

Just giving you a taste of your own medicine.

 

MARK

Well, cut it out.

 

(He grabs the mask.)

 

I’m taking this back.

 

(He exits.)

 

DEBBIE

Happy Halloween!

 

(She is grinning ear to ear, folding laundry as the lights fade. Blackout.)

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Published by

jonjoy

Jonathan Joy has been a door to door salesman, landscaper, bike mechanic, burger flipper, bus boy, shoe salesman, bowling alley attendant, carpenter, actor, director, political campaign manager, teacher, playwright, college professor, and newspaper columnist. He lives in West Virginia with his wife and their seven year old son.

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