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“Mom, on Saturday, can I have some friends over for a pumpkin-carving party and then watch scary movies in the basement?” Audrey asked.

“Sure,” I said.

Like I’m going to say “no” to my teenager spending a Saturday night at home, instead of roaming the streets.

I filled Thomas in on the plan. “So, we’ve got five days to get ready for the party.”

“What do you mean ‘we’?”

“Are you kidding? It’s the weekend before Halloween, and we’ve got a household of victims. We’re totally taking advantage of this.”

“Again, with the ‘we’.”

“Tell ya what, I’ll work out the details and you can be the muscle.”

“Fine.”

I brainstormed, made lists and spent hours on The Pinterest researching DIY projects, which I never ended up doing.

On Saturday morning, I turned off the water in the girls’ bathroom and taped a sign to the door, “Bathroom currently Out of Service.”

“Mom, what’s up with our bathroom?” Audrey asked.

“It’s broken,” I said, nonchalantly. “Dad’s gonna fix it.”

“What about the party tonight?”

“It should be working by then.”

“Thanks,” she said. “I’m running to the store to get snacks.”

“Okie dokie.”

Audrey left, and the staging commenced. Mr. Muscles wasn’t super excited about helping. Apparently, scaring kids isn’t very nice.

“What’s all this?” Thomas pointed to the props I’d dragged into the bathroom.

“Well,” I said, “I’ve made a ‘body’ by sewing a pair of jeans to a flannel shirt and filling it with a bunch of sheets to make it look real.”

“Watch the brilliance in action,” I shoved a broom stick down the neck of the shirt, through one jean leg, and into the bathtub drain to keep the ‘body’ upright. I put double-sided Velcro on the back of the shirt sleeves and attached them to the shower wall. “Now it looks like it’s gonna grab ya.”

I held up a terrifying bunny mascot-sized head, “And the piece de resistance,” I positioned the head on the broomstick, and stuck a name tag to the shirt. “And voila.”

“How’s that scary?” Thomas asked.

“OK, check it out,” I placed a Bluetooth speaker in the tub. “I spent a lot of time recording myself making squeaky noises on the floor of the tub with my sneakers, and I also recorded myself breathing heavily.”

“OK.”

“When the first kid goes to the bathroom, I’m going to use the remote control to play the sounds through the speakers and when they pull back the shower curtain to investigate, the bunny-person will scare ’em to death. Isn’t that great?”

“I guess so.”

“You don’t think it’s scary?”

“I mean — ”“Dude, it’s totally ‘Fatal Attraction.’”

“You lost me,” Thomas said.

“Alright, so you know how there’s a dead rabbit in the movie ‘Fatal Attraction?’”

“Yeah.”“Well, this,” I pointed to the nametag, “is Meryl. Cuz you know how Meryl Streep was supposed to be dead in the bathtub in the movie, but she wasn’t, and she catapulted out of the water to kill Michael Douglas?”

“Yeah, what does that have to do with the rabbit being in the tub?”

“Dude, don’t you remember that Meryl boiled the rabbit?”

“It still doesn’t make sense.”

“It’s art,” I sighed. “I can’t help it if you don’t understand.”

“You’re hurting my head,” he said.

Even though Thomas couldn’t see the magic, I knew it would be a night to remember.

The party was in full swing, and I let everyone know the bathroom was good to go, and then I waited for the victim. I insisted Thomas stay, but he got impatient and went to bed.

Finally, Audrey’s BFF, Shae came up from the basement. “Hi, Krista!”

“Gotta use the bathroom?”

“Yeah.”

“Audrey’s is clean.”

“Thanks.”

I heard the bathroom door close, I counted to five, and then pushed ‘play’ on the remote control. I waited for the screams, but they never came. Instead, Shae barreled down the stairs and grabbed my arm. “Krista! There’s something wrong in the bathroom! You gotta come upstairs!”

“Settle down,” I said. “There’s nothing wrong. Just go pee.”

“No really,” she pulled me from my chair.

“Fine.”

Well ... time to improvise.

Shae stood outside the bathroom door. “I heard a really weird noise.”

I pretended to listen. “I don’t hear anything.”

“It was over by the tub.”

I stepped next to the tub and shrugged. “Still don’t hear anything. Come show me.”

“Uh, uh,” she said.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“Uh, uh.”

“Look,” I pulled back the shower curtain and Shae screamed.

Inside, I laughed so hard, then I felt a hand grasp my shoulder. I turned to find myself face-to-face with the now alive Meryl the Bunny.

I screamed and grabbed the closest thing I could find ... the plunger. My fight instinct kicked in. I swung, and Meryl yelled. I kept swinging.

The firemen said they’d never seen a human-sized bunny pummeled by a plunger.

I don’t think Thomas will try to out prank the prankster again.

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.