More of last week’s news…

When mentioning costumes for the 5th grade class I subbed for last week, I forgot to mention one other costume.  Or two, rather, though only one of them was in my class.  It is strange it slipped my mind because this boy was wearing a video-game-related costume which was very good.  He came as Mario, complete in the right colors with hat, large white cartoon gloves, and of course, mustache (though this piece kept falling off).  I mentioned to him that with his build he might have made a good Luigi too, but his costume did have the extra padding to make him pudgy ala Mario.  During the costume show, who walked across the stage with (I think) a third-grade class but Luigi, which from a distance also looked pretty good.  When our Mario waved to him I figured they were brothers, but when I asked him about it the only fraternal relationship was in the characters, so this just made for a cool coincidence.

I said I would mention Friday night, so I am finally getting around to it.  Friday night was our second annual movie night for 4th and 5th grade.  Last year we saw the excellent Meet the Robinsons.  This year was Bolt.  Having never seen this movie before I was looking forward to it even if I wouldn’t really get to see if I had to keep too much of a watchful eye on the kids (as it happily turns out, my fears here were unfounded and I was able to watch the whole thing).  Before the movie, however, there was game and pizza time.  This year they separated the boys and the girls so one group was playing games while the other ate.  We started out in the gym.  There was a fun game set up called “the gauntlet” but before we did that we warmed up with another game, link tag.  No, this has nothing to do with:

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though that’s a hilarious Family Guy-esque video (click to see it in a larger size).  It is a game with one (or a few) runner(s) and one (or a few) tagger(s) with the rest spread out, standing linked in pairs.  At any time the runner can link up with one pair and the person on the opposite side would become a new runner so the pair doesn’t become a trio.  If the tagger tags the runner, the runner becomes the tagger and the former tagger links up with a pair and a new person becomes the runner.  I think we had played this before a couple of years ago, calling it squirrel tag.  After this game came- The Gauntlet.  This is just as insidious as it sounds.  The kids have to run through a course, going over or under as the course dictates, while trying to avoid getting hit by balls thrown by us leaders (heh, heh…).  If hit, they would have to go back to the beginning.  For those of you crying “aww, no fair for the kids,” don’t worry- they got their turn getting back at us.  I didn’t make it very far…

So for food time, we had pizza.  I was expecting the variety made in our church’s kitchen, but it turned out they ordered from Little Caesars.  The parents had to pay for this event, so why not?  This was the time where we leaders got to hang out with a few boys sitting together, thereby selecting our small groups for the end of the night.  After the boys grabbed their dinner, I waited a minute or so before grabbing my own and sitting down with four boys.  There were almost a dozen guy leaders, so the small groups were quite small.  There were more girls and fewer girl leaders present, so their groups I understand were a bit larger.  Did I mention this was an outreach event?  The kids were encouraged to invite friends who didn’t normally come to our church, so it turned out that two of these boys were such invitees.  In fact, both were invited by one of the other boys, but all four actually knew each other from school.  After a brief time in conversation with them, it was time for the movie.  We cleaned up and headed to the learning center where the movie was shown on two screens.  We were supposed to sit with our groups, but the boys kind of crowded together, so I sat in the row right in front of them instead.  Don’t worry, the seating was tiered and the screens high up besides so I didn’t block their view. 🙂

As I wrote, we were able to enjoy the whole movie with no more distraction than some kids going to the bathroom now and again.  They even provided popcorn for the whole movie experience.  Now, I typically say I don’t like popcorn all that much, but it is strange that I typically find myself eating it anyway, and this night was no exception.  While not in the same class as Meet the Robinsons IMHO, I still enjoyed this movie about a dog raised thinking his “human” was a spy constantly threatened by the evil Dr. Calico (with his evil cats of course) and that he was a superhero- managing to escape from his trailer, he heads out on a mission to save his human whom he thought was captured (they ended the day’s shooting on this cliffhanger) but in fact headed home as this was after all just a TV show no matter what Bolt was raised to believe.

Finally, Pastor Steve came out and talked a little, focusing on superheroes and how God is the only superhero.  It was just a bit more exciting than what I just wrote, but you get the idea.  We then broke into our small groups and talked some more about it, ending with handing out Gospel tracts that folds in several ways to reveal the message.  I actually picked up a fifth boy who hadn’t been selected already by another leader so I may have ended up with the largest boy’s group of the night.  I felt the discussion went very well.  The two visitors actually attended different churches, so they weren’t as green as expected in an outreach event, but that was okay as I’m sure everyone still picked up something from the small group, especially on sharing Christ with others if they had already had a relationship with Him.

It was a great night- I can’t wait for Winterblast in a few months- the overnighter at the church.  The only disappointing time was seeing another fifth-grade boy at the church with his mom for a single-parents meeting who chose to not attend movie night because the ones he wanted to invite were not in 4th or 5th grade, which I learned was sort of a limit in this event though not strictly enforced.

That October Holiday

So what does it mean when it’s November and I still have posts from September sitting on my front page?  Still not all that excited to blog I guess.  It has now been over a week since some of my Ohio friends came out and we all went haunt hopping.  It’s a little late to review them, and I’m no expert on this sort of thing anyway so I think I’ll just say that it was a good time had by all of us.  Fortunately the threatening rain stayed away.  Sorry you had to miss the last haunt, J and M.  According to C & L it was really good, though whether it be that I was third in a group or just my logical mind drowning out the “let’s have fun” portion I just didn’t get as much out of it.  That said, I though the actors did a good job, especially outdoors (I really wish I had seen the one jumping out at the younger kids but I was facing the wrong direction at the time- apparently their reactions were priceless).  Thanks again C & L for paying for that one.

For work, this week was much better than last for the most part.  The only work-day that had rain was Friday, but I was able to take a full-day sub job that day instead, bumping my one Friday gig to Saturday- yes, the holiday.  Did you all have a happy Martin Luther day?  You know, the anniversary of Luther nailing the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in 1517 (the doors were popularly used as bulletin boards at that time).  Oh, you celebrated a different holiday you say?  Well, so did the kids on Friday.  Unluckily for the teacher I subbed for, her son got sick on party day so I was the lucky one who got to take the job in her place.  It was my favorite grade, 5th, and it was quite easy.  The morning consisted of three tests- didn’t you hate days like that in school?- split by an hour of gym and music.  At least one of the tests was only spelling, so only two of them were big thinking tests.  Of course, I say “at least” for the spelling test as I was a really good speller in school.  I suppose for some it may have been just as rough as the other two.

Lunch time, then the kids were back in costume.  Did I mention this was the one day of the year 2/3 of the class went home for lunch?  All afternoon was party time.  There was a costume parade through the neighborhood scheduled as well, but- you know- rain.  As a result, the parents came to the school and watched the kids march across the stage instead.  Outside of this time the parent volunteers were in charge.  They organized the classroom party- the food, games, and whatnot- while I just helped as needed.  The kids had a scavenger hunt, played cauldron bowling and a scooter-relay with toilet paper mummy-wrapping, created a haunted story web, felt brains, hearts, and whatnot in a box, jumped for donuts on a string, and had cupcakes and water (where was the punch??).  Most of the year in hometown district serving food in classrooms is a big no-no- they even stopped birthday treats last year- but this was one of the few times they still get to eat sweets in class.

Some of the costumes were classic.  There were a few wearing ghoulish costumes including the obligatory Scream mask, some costumes of movie/tv characters like Darth Maul, and a few M&M girls, but there were some stand-out ones including a girl with an overturned bowl of spaghetti on her head (represented by white yarn with brown yarn-ball meatballs), another girl who came as a washing machine with her head under a pile of “dirty” clothes on top, and a boy who came as a vending machine.  Actually, while original, I’m not sure the last one would have won any awards.  The front really did look like a vending machine with real chips, candy bars, and whatnot, but in reality it was what could have been a store demo with straps so he could wear it in front of him.  It was apparently heavy too, as he took the elevator upstairs instead of the stairs.  I hope he had permission, but I felt for him so I didn’t ask.  The washing machine on the other hand was an excellent costume.  I already mentioned the pile of clothes to hide her face, but it also came complete with a box of fabric softener and bottle of detergent taped or glued to it.  The only thing that would have improved the costume was if the round door in front actually opened revealing more clothes.

So what did I do for halloween?  Well, following work on the windy day I…  handed out candy.  Yep, that was it.  I did have a “phantom of the opera” half-mask, so I wore it when I answered the door, but that was pretty much it.  We had our usual half-dozen groups of kids come to our door.  Seriously, is our house on the sex-offender list or something?  Since moving here we have had no more than ten groups of costumed candy-beggars stop by each year.  Nothing at all like or previous location across from a school.  Oh, well.

We did have a 4th/5th grade church party Friday night, but this post is getting long so I think I will save it for a future church post.