Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Prom Safety

The local emergency response teams put on an annual assembly at our school for the juniors and seniors the week before Prom.  It's the message you would expect on such an occasion - "Don't drink and drive."  It's the message we got the week before Prom when I was in high school too.  Of course, being Colorado, we now have the addendum of "Don't get high and drive."  Go us.

Every two or three years they throw in a bonus - they stage an accident scene.  And so a state trooper came into my classroom a few days before the assembly and asked me if I could round up a couple of actors to help them out.  And maybe we could do a little gorey makeup, just to make it look realistic?

I rounded up eight seniors who were also major drama kids with assistant periods.  They were excited, to say the least.  After we assigned parts (the driver, the dead, the critically injured, the minorly-injured-in-shock), we discussed wardrobe (prom-wear that can be trashed) and I told them I'd mix up a fresh batch of blood for Monday.

The troopers dropped off a wrecked car that morning, so while the rest of the juniors and seniors were inside the auditorium getting Part 1, I led my people to the parking lot to set up for Part 2.  They picked out their spots, we arranged the bodies (already primed with blood from the makeup room), and then I dashed about adding injury details, fixing skirts for modesty, shooing the boys away from trying to crawl inside the car, and pouring out artistic puddles of blood on the pavement next to them.

When we heard the crowd coming, the actors kicked into gear and I started taking photos.
(Rachel - enjoy this flashback to our high school days!)

Zack, Katie, and Chris (the driver).
The corsage is a nice touch.

Christina (dead) and Rochelle

Rebecca (dead) and Jacob

Kaily on a stretcher.
She wanted a gash in her stomach.
Originally it was to simulate her crawling through the broken car window.
They decided after I added it that it was instead the result of the illegal abortion
they were performing in the back seat of the car at the time of the crash.
I'm pretty sure the trooper's presentation didn't cover "Don't perform illegal abortions and drive."
Closeup of Katie and Zack.
Zack's injuries went from "minor scrapes" to "bullet wound in the chest"
around the time that I handed my tub of blood off to the boys
so I could put some bruising powder on Rebecca.
Katie on a stretcher

The bodies covered up while they use the Jaws of Life on the car door.
The "minorly" injured wait anxiously for news of their friends.
The driver gets tested.

...and arrested.
(Chris asked them before the performance if they would use a taser on him if he tried to run.
"No," the trooper said.
"Please?" asked Chris.)

Some of the cops did not take their acting as seriously as my students did.
Obviously they have not had the Fear of Waterhouse put into them.

In the end, the crowd loved it, the kids had a blast, and many of the first responders commented on the "realistic if a bit over-zealous" gore.  They especially liked the embedded-bits-of-gravel-and-glass-in-the-wounds touch (aka Rice Krispies + food coloring).  We had time after the rest of the crowd dispersed for a group shot and a couple of close-ups:

Then we discovered the real scene of the crime:


  1. Um, how does this remind me of high school? I was in no car accidents, had no such assemblies, and only went to one prom. But I do sigh nostalgically over buckets of blood. That was more college era for me.

    Overzealous, that's the word for it.

    1. Nostalgia over the stage makeup, of course. And the smell of corn syrup and greasepaint, which I'm sure my photos communicate as well.