Scare Squad is a program series for teens in which participants create Haunted Basement – NHCPL’s annual haunted house attraction. The group meets on Tuesdays, September through October in the basement of Main Library from 6:00pm - 7:00pm.
Led by Mr. Scooter, teens learn how to construct and design a haunted house, create scary props, acquire project management skills, experiment with lighting and special effects and are trained on fire retardant application, scare tactics, safety and emergency procedures.
Scare Squad is NHCPL’s most popular and terrifying teen event. It is open to ages 13-18. There is no registration. If you are interested in joining Scare Squad, attend next Tuesday’s session. For more information, e-mail Mr. Scooter.
September 5, 2017: Scare Squad is back! The basement of Main Library is the perfect oasis for Scare Squad to live and breathe. The vibe of the downtown library’s lower level is already super creepy. It’s an abandoned storage wasteland with dilapidating walls filled with vintage bookshelves and antique library furnishings. Cut the lights, crank up the tunes, add three dozen teens and you have yourself one of the scariest venues in town! When Scare Squad is in session, the basement becomes an entire floor of creative madness hidden underground three floors beneath library administration.
Today’s session was dedicated to prepping the space. Teens became oriented with the lower level and moved boxes and clutter to create a safe, workable perimeter. They applied liquid latex to skulls, doll heads and coaxial cable ghoul arms. We also began experimenting with lighting, decoration and maze configuration. We’re already off to a strong start with 28 teens. One of the participants, Spencer, stuffed a gorilla mask full of Christmas string lights and had everybody freaking out.
September 12, 2017: Lighting is getting closer. We secured red, blue and purple gels to the lower level lights. Teens hung fireproofed burlap fabric and corrugated drainage pipe for a strobe effect down one of the book shelf aisles. Teens continued to move clutter to maximize the space in the basement. They shattered discarded CDs, glued them onto a pallet and painted it blood red. One of the participant’s dads is a carpenter and fixed our broken drop door panels and started to build freestanding walls out of pallets. With the liquid latex dry, teens folded the skin-like layer over the skulls, doll heads and ghoul arms and painted them. Next week we look to complete these props with skull spikes, foam insulation spray guts and spray paint. We are up to 40 names on the Scare Squad roster.
September 19, 2017: Skull Spikes! With the skulls completely latexed and painted, we attached them to freestanding rods and added spray foam insulation to resemble guts dripping out of the bottom of the skulls. We also applied the spray foam insulation to the top of a pallet to create a morbid melted pile of corpse innards. We continue to smash CDs and are gluing them to pallets like broken mirrors. We are working on making the space safe for the public by cleaning out the clutter, duct taping carpet squares over uneven flooring to make the transitions smooth and applying fire retardant as needed.
September 26 & October 3, 2017: Prop building is complete. The past two sessions Scare Squad has been focusing on configuring the maze with shelving units, fireproofing, lighting placement and decoration. At the end of each session we are cutting the lights and walking through the haunted house so teens can see their progress and start thinking about where they want to scare. It’s an exciting way to finish off a session and the good way for me to jot down a to-do list for next session. I learn most about what we need to work on by walking through the maze, analyzing the lighting, making sure the pathway is safe and clear, and locating where additional props or walls are needed. Next week we are receiving a shipment of folding tables to extend the maze and fill in any gaps prior to inspection by the fire marshal.