Halloween usually conjures images of ghosts and goblins, but outhouses were often a favourite of All Hallow’s pranksters.
Have you given much thought lately to outhouses? When I think of Halloween stories, outhouses always come to mind. Their normal setting is usually in a somewhat remote out-of-the-way location, often partly hidden, and always, of course, out of doors and a distance from the nearest house.
Their normal function, while indisputably necessary, inevitably sets them up for scatological humour and yukky stories. I’m particularly fascinated by the two seaters, and would be interested in the stats on how often they are used for their intended dual person purpose.
I do know of one family story of two aunts who would retreat to the outhouse together, presumably as a rare haven where they could chat or even read magazines in private Another family story recalls gleefully the times when the male cousins would scratch and sniff and growl at the outhouse door in an exaggeratedly ursine fashion, waiting for the screams of terror from the female cousins therein, (who were also using the two seater, in this case for safety’s sake) and who were deathly afraid of the thought of encountering a scent-crazed bear at Shuswap Lake. But I digress.
My favourite Halloween story is about an outhouse located on a rambling farm in the Prairies. Our friend, who was party to this event, told it like this:
Every year, a group of young boys, in the predictably “if-this-worked-once-it’s-even-better-next-time” style of young boys, would sneak out under cover of darkness to Farmer Brown’s place on Halloween night. Farmer Brown had the ideal setup for tricksters….a pit privy set a distance back from his farmhouse in an open field that was not hard to sneak into. Hence, the outhouse was an irresistible target.
The simple plan was to position themselves in a corner of the field, wait until clouds covered the moon, and in the enveloping darkness, rush the outhouse, push it over, then race away breathless and undetected. But wait around close enough to hear Farmer Brown’s curses and see his shadowy figure, arm raised and fist clenched, framed at the kitchen door.
The boys thought their plan quite brilliant, and executed it successfully, but the headiness of success, alas, led ultimately to their downfall. They repeated their procedure precisely each year.
But Farmer Brown was no slouch….and turned out to be a bit of a trickster himself. One year, just at Halloween, he went to the trouble of moving his outhouse over a couple of metres, correctly surmising the direction from whence the young boys would direct their assault. Then he waited.
The boys came as usual, raced to the outhouse, and just before they reached it, found themselves…well, you guessed it, taking an unexpected plunge into the pit part of the privy. Our friend was a lucky one…not as fast a runner, he was able to stop himself just in time. I assume he helped his unfortunate comrades extricate themselves, but I’m not certain. He did say they could all hear “got’cha” guffaws coming from the farmhouse that Hallows’ Eve.
“Outhouse” LostCost @ Picassa