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Subject: A Halloween Story (Laura Guenther modification)

As a precursor to the story I tell the students who I am and why I am here. I play the role of The Ghost of Guenther. I am a ghost of the future, telling the class what happens to Mrs. Guenther after she retires from teaching. I dress up in a witches costume with hat (and attached hair), cape, and all. As the students enter my classroom I give them a copy of a riddle, but don't tell them what it is for. I prove to them that I am the ghost by spraying goldenrod paper that has a wax message on it. {goldenrod messages demo} The message says "Believe." Then I run methane gas into a large black cauldron of soapy water and light my hand on fire. {methane mamba demo} I proceed to tell them about how Mrs.

The basic idea of the story goes as follows:jack-o-lantern

One cold and dreary Halloween night, three boys went trick-or-treating. Each of them was eager to get a lot of candy and to prove that this year, they were not afraid of going to old woman Guenther's house.

After a few hours, the time had come. They had all of the candy that they wanted. Now they were at the end of the lane where old woman Guenther lived. Her house was old and made many creepy sounds. It was up on a rise and quite often a foggy haze loomed between the trees that surrounded the dark yard.

old woman Guenther's house

Two of the boys determined that they were finally going to do this. They approached the house with caution and rang the loud and deep toned doorbell. As they waited, they noticed that there was not a candle glowing in the pumpkin. "Oh, her she comes!" The old woman said "Hello" and dropped a large candy bar into each bag. Then she immediately slammed the door and the two boys ran back down the path to the road.

When they got back to the other boy, they showed him what they had received. It was the largest candy bar that they had gotten all night. They convinced the third, petrified boy to approach the house. He decided that if they could do it, then he could too.

The third boy slowly walked up the path to the house and rang the doorbell. The door opened and old woman Guenther looked down at him. She said in her crackling voice, "For you, I have a special gift." She then dropped a heavy object into the bag and quickly slammed the door. Just as he began to turn and leave, a shot rang out in the house. {piezo popper kit from Educational Innovations, Inc.} He started to run off the porch when he noticed that the pumpkin who's light was burnt out, began to spew all over the porch! {elephant's toothpaste in pumpkin} The boy was terrified and tore off down the path to get back with his friends. When he arrived back at the road, he found that they were gone. When they heard the shot and saw the pumpkin, they had taken off and left him behind.

The boy looked in his bag to see what the heavy object was. It was a large, dusty, ornate bottle. He started to brush the dust off, when all of the sudden a genie came out of the bottle. {genie in a bottle demo} The genie said, "You have released me. You are the chosen one that must now solve my riddle. If you solve it correctly, then you will be granted three wishes, if you can not solve it, then you will surely die within the next 4 days."

The riddle goes as follows:

Conquered by a little light,
A flame will take away its might.

The genie then gave him a map and a spray bottle of solution. {weak NaOH solution} He said, "Two answer sheets are out there somewhere. When you find them, spray each one with this special solution. If you find the wrong one first, then you must burn the map and search for the second one on your own. If you forget to burn the map you will surely die within 24 hours."

The boy then took off through the woods following the map until he came across a wrinkled old piece of paper. {secret message written in phenolphthalein - part of two message sign} He thought to himself, this must be one of the answer sheets. He posted it up on a nearby log and sprayed it with the special solution. It said, "Keep looking!" He had found the wrong paper. Now he was frantic and didn't know what to do. Then he remembered that the genie said he had to burn the map. He rolled it up and lit it on fire. As the map burned the ashes rose upward. {mysteriously rising napkin} It gave him and idea! "Maybe if I look high and low, I will find the second answer sheet soon." So that is what he did. He hastily looked up and down until suddenly, he found it. He sprayed the paper with the special solution and it reveled the answer: Darkness. {second message in phenolphthalein or thymolthalein - part of two message sign} That was the answer.

As soon as the students see the answer appear I turn off the lights in the room and yell the answer, then let out a loud witch's laugh and run to the back of the room to quickly remove my costume. Underneath I have on a different halloween costume (I'm dressed like a cow) and I pretend that the ghost is gone and it is really me. I finish up the story for them.

He yelled out the answer as loud as he could. The genie then reappeared out of the darkness that surrounded him and granted him his three wishes.

Now some people ask what happened to Mrs. Guenther and how did she pass away. Well, it happened that very Halloween night, when she was working on a new science invention. She called it a portable tent warmer. When the boy ran off of the porch, what he really heard was not a gun shot in the house, it was her experiment gone awry. {paint can "tent warmer" demo} Explosion!

Modification by:
Laura Guenther (Lauragnth@aol.com)
Talawanda High School, Oxford, OH

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