Hallowe’en in the Waxwork Museum
9 September 2009Add to My Folder
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Scare yourselves silly with these spooky drama ideas for Hallowe’en, from Karen Hart.
To try out these Hallowe’en ideas in your school, you will need:
- Atmospheric music such as ‘Aquarium’ from ‘The Carnival of the Animals’ by Saint-Saëns or Bach’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera Theme’;
- Use of the school hall or a suitable large space.
- To work on the use of ‘stillness’ and utilise its powerful visual effect;
- To practise slow, controlled movements in the building of atmospheric tension and consider the impact this can have in a literacy sense;
- To carry the work forward to literacy time and to try using stillness, quiet and slowness of movement in literacy work to build a sense of dramatic tension and menace.
Ask all the children to find themselves a space. Tell them that they are to imagine that they are a particular type of frozen food, frozen stiff in a freezer – the type of food is up to them, but suggestions could include a fish finger, sticky gateaux or an ice lolly.
Once everyone is in role, announce and mime that you are turning the freezer off. Now the class must slowly defrost as they imagine their particular food would – slowly going soft and limp and eventually melting in a puddle on the floor.
Famous characters tableaux
For this activity, children need to think of a well-known character that they consider suitable for a waxwork museum. Give some ideas of types of people they could use, such as historical figures, sports personalities or pop stars.
Next, they should work on a pose that best defines their character. David Beckham could be just about to take a free kick, King Henry VIII could be standing legs apart, hands on hips, head held high in a regal manner and Britney Spears could be holding a microphone in mid-chorus.
See how many characters you can guess correctly.
Halloween Night in the Waxworks
This improvised play works really well with Key Stage 2 children. It can easily be adjusted to fit a particular time slot – fairly short for a class assembly or lengthened for an end of term production, with the number of characters increased as required. The fact that the main characters are young teenagers particularly appeals to top juniors as they enjoy the chance to act ‘a bit more grown up’.
The roles of the waxworks are handy parts to give to children who may not like, or are unable to cope with too much dialogue, but still require skill, by keeping very still for most of the play – many children love this part and put much effort into being as still as possible.
The curtain goes up to night-time at ‘The End of the Pier Waxwork Museum’. All the waxworks are standing in character, as still as they can be. Three teenagers; a boy and two girls, enter the museum giggling and prodding the exhibits, they are laughing and joking about how easy it was to sneak in. (They managed to open the old, broken back door once the caretaker had gone home.)
They are congratulating themselves on what a good idea it was to tell their mums that they were staying at each other’s houses so they could stay out all night.
One of the girls says that she thinks the waxworks are a bit creepy – their eyes appear to follow her round the room. The other girl and boy laugh and tell her not to be daft.
They all start being silly, pulling faces at the statues and saying things like: “Ooh you are gorgeous, will you marry me?” etc, and laughing more and more.
The boy glances at his watch and says that it’s 12 o’clock on Hallowe’en night and that’s when all the spooks come out. He makes whooo noises and tries to scare the girls by pulling scary faces. The girls pretend to be scared and giggle and scream.
As this is going on the waxworks very, very slowly start to move: starting with their eyes, then their heads, then their fingers, followed by slowly turning at the waist and finally legs and feet, but facial expression remains blank throughout.
Suddenly one of the teenagers realises that the waxworks are coming to life and screams; pointing to the waxworks. The others see what is happening; all three are terrified and start to back away as the waxworks very slowly walk towards them – zombie style; arms outstretched.
If your class enjoyed these activities, why not try writing some spooky poetry, with Brian Moses’ ideas our feature Spine-chilling stanzas
The teenagers say, “What are we going to do? They are blocking the way out.” Finally, the boy has an idea; he takes a lighter out of his pocket and holds it up to one of the waxworks – it starts to burn and melt. He quickly does the same to all the other waxworks and they all mime melting, until eventually, they are puddles on the floor.
One of the girls notices that the museum has caught fire, too, and all three run to the door shouting, “Quick – the museum’s on fire!”
The fire brigade turns up (to the sound of a siren, if possible) but the teenagers slip out before the fire officers see them. The fire officers put out the fire, saying as they leave, “I can’t imagine what has happened here tonight – can you?”