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Slumber Parties – A Rite of Passage

Creator unknown but will credit when known

When this meme started popping up all over Twitter and Facebook, it reminded me of the slumber parties of my youth. Slumber parties were a bit of a rite of passage for adolescent girls. I attended a few and hosted a few and we always tried to make them memorable.

I was young when I attended my first slumber party at my best friend’s house. There were probably 8 or 10 girls in attendance and We were probably in 4th or 5th grade which would make us between nine and ten years old. Boys raided the party and her older brother tossed them out – literally. Later everyone donned their pajamas and curled up in sleeping bags. There was a terrible thunderstorm in the night and our hostess, my best friend, left us in the living room and went to sleep with her mom because the storm frightened her.

When we moved to Ohio, slumber parties became more sophisticated. There was always some sort of prank or mischief involved. There was a time that seances were a big thing. Of course, we had no idea what a seance really was, but we went through the motions like we did. It was a suitable way to invoke a lot of screams and laughter.

Elijah Bond (1847–1921) and Charles Kennard (1856–1925), Ouija board – Kennard Novelty Company, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

Then there was the Ouija board, a popular ‘game’ of the 60’s which was supposed to be a way to communicate with the spirit world. They seemed to make an appearance at slumber parties sometime during the night. We would ask questions and the planchette would move as two people had their fingers on it. There were always accusations “she is moving it!” as answers were presumably given.

Then there was the chant “I believe in Mary Worth”, which honestly I never understood until I just researched it today. That did not keep me from acting like I understood it all and joining in.

We tried to hypnotize one another with dangling pendants to no avail.

Honestly though most of the time we gossiped, talked about boys, and played pranks on one another. You never wanted to be the first one to fall asleep or you might be subjected to the dreaded ‘one hand in cold water and one hand in warm water’ which no one wanted. At one party the first person to fall asleep  had french onion dip spread on her glasses so when she out them on she might think it had snowed. It all seems mean now, but no one was spared. Everyone knew the risk of being the first to fall asleep.

My worst experience was the night we slept in a tent in my friend’s back yard. We decided we were going to ‘TP’ a house. At midnight we headed toward the house. As we were readying ourselves for the dastardly deed, a car pulled into the driveway, but not just any car – a police car! We made a dive for the bushes which were unfortunately rose bushes. We waited for it to leave, but it never did. We cowered in the bushes until the lights went out. We finally made it back to her house, our arms covered in scratches and our toilet paper unused.

As an adult recalling all this, I can see how kids get into mischief often unaware. It’s all about being included at certain ages. These childhood slumber party memories have become fodder for many a horror movie throughout the years. It’s always about the scare, but I am no fan of horror movies. Especially anything involving children.

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