Wednesday, November 17, 2010

...Outside the Box: Fear Factor

First to appease my guilt...yes, this is a Halloween-themed blog post. I almost skipped it, but I had so much fun with this that I just couldn't let these photos sit unviewed. At least it's getting posted before Thanksgiving. That would have been the point of no return.

For their classroom Halloween party, my #2's fifth-grade classmates voted to have a Fear Factor theme. (If you're not familiar with the show, I can sum it up by saying that the contenders do a series of disgusting tasks to win cash.) The Room Mom (she definitely deserves capital letters in her title!) came up with a few games, but I got really enthused about grossing the kids out and she let me put the following activity together.

I told #2 for a week previous to the event that I was in charge of finding gross things for the kids to touch, and I had some pretty good ideas. After my grocery errands on that Wednesday, I told her that I'd gone to the butcher and couldn't wait for Friday! She asked me where the stuff was that I'd bought. I told her she would never find it beforehand. I didn't add that I hadn't made anything yet, so she just assumed I'd picked up some disgusting animal parts and hid them at someone else's house. My plan to let her imagination get the best of her was working! The next morning on our way to school, #1 asked what I'd gotten at the butcher's. I refused to answer her question directly, but told her I'd seen plenty of things to choose from: cow tongue, fish heads, pig feet, squid, eyeballs, etc. The Room Mom later reported to me that while at school on Thursday, she'd overheard #2 telling her friends about my visit to the butcher. My deceptive devices were perfect! Bwah ha ha!

Friday morning I put it all together.

I hot glued pieces of lawn bags to the black Nissin noodle meal boxes. (The lunches are pretty good, but digesting four of them in one week was a bit much. But what can I say? I'm just one of those moms who will do anything for her kid.) I left a hole at the top so the students could reach their arm down into the container without being able to see what they were touching.

Then I labeled the containers and added the contents: Pig Intestine, Lamb Eyes, Turkey Hearts, and Maggots.

I was not able to be at the school Friday afternoon to run the game with the class, so I recommended to the Room Mom that she tell the kids the point of the game was to figure out which items were real and which were fake. I assumed the kids would realize they were not all real, but wanted them to psyche themselves into thinking some of them were.

#2 was so worried by the reaction of those who touched the turkey hearts, that she wouldn't even give them a try. Even one of the fifth grade teachers exclaimed at how gross the hearts were, and when she took her hand out of the sack it had red fleshy stuff on it.

Here are the items right before I contained them. Can you guess what I used for each?

Here's a hint: everything is vegetarian and edible.

Here we go clockwise from the top:

The "maggots" were jasmine rice that I dried slightly in the toaster oven at 200 degrees until it wasn't sticky but still had some softness in the body. Then I coated them with non-stick spray to make them a bit slimy and added a bit of peat moss for good measure.

The "lamb eyes" were large, cold, peeled grapes. I really liked how the indentation where it connected to the stem felt a little like an eyeball lens. The peel also came off in strips that felt a little like veins.

The "turkey hearts" were Roma tomatoes that I blanched to remove the skins. These worked better than regular tomatoes because of their pear shape, and they are fleshier and less juicy than other tomatoes. (I had quite a few kids convinced with these.)

The "pig intestine"...this one was my masterpiece...any final guesses? pie dough! I rolled it into a rope, which was tricky because it didn't want to hold together; so I added water as I went, which improved the slimy feel. After I looped and coiled it, I was quite pleased with the weight and the way the dough had enough give to feel like guts when pressed. I outdid myself by painting light streaks of blue food coloring and coating it with Good Value brand butter-flavored non-stick spray, which has an awful smell similar to old vomit. I don't know if the kids appreciated my artistic details, but I sure did! #2 said that at the end of the game, the Room Mom opened the containers to reveal the true objects. The kids were still pretty grossed out by the "intestines", but one brave (?) boy took a bite out of them to prove they were edible. No one else could get past the look of the pie dough.

I hope I'll get to do this activity for a future fifth-grade class. The kids are the perfect age to buy into the grossness, and I had tons of fun putting it all together!


Carolyn said...

That is truly gross. The pie dough especially.

Alfie said...

Awesome! Those poor kids

Our family said...

Awesome. Maybe I should try to be involved next year, that's right up my alley.

VickieG said...

You are an amazing mother; how do you come up with these ideas? The pig intestine was the best.
Also re: earlier entry. The pickled veggies look like Christmas presents; they are beautiful.

mindy said...

AWESOME!!!! I remember doing a thing in the dark at a primary halloween activity where peeled grapes were eyeballs, but I've never heard of the others. I think I'll do a halloween party next year for our homeschool group...will you help me do this then? Soooo cool!

Paul said...

Waay fun! Next time, because word may have gotten around that everything was fake, you may have to include 1 or 2 real items.

Jenni said...

You are so creative!!!!