We celebrated Halloween by playing tag all over San Francisco with hundreds of strangers and Emiko, a Japanese friend from Yasu’s school. A game of tag may not sound scary of spooky enough for Halloween, but I felt my adrenaline rushing through my veins a few times tonight.
At the start we got a blue ribbon, a yellow ribbon and a player’s manifest. The rules as explained in the manifest were pretty straightforward. Players wear blue ribbons around their arms and travel from checkpoint to checkpoint collecting stamps and signatures. Chasers wear yellow ribbons and try to tag the players before they arrive at the finish line. A tagged player hands over their blue ribbon to the chaser and turns into a chaser himself by donning his own yellow ribbon. We started with hundreds of players and less than ten chasers, but due to the chaser-zombie-effect the city was soon crawling with yellow-ribboned creeps.
Suddenly the organizers gave the start sign and the crowd started screaming and running in all directions. Apparently, chasers had started tagging everyone around them and the number of chasers was already increasing exponentially. It was total chaos and hilarious, we were running, screaming and laughing at the same time. We quickly jumped on a street train (all buses and trains were safezones) where we could catch our breath and strategize.
We visited five checkpoints successfully before we had to leave to catch our last train home. But we encountered several chasers along the way. One erroneously tagged me while I was in a safezone, but my startled scream scared her off. We had to run for our ‘life’ at one point during the game until we reached a safezone totally out of breath and with aching legs. We also found ourselves hiding behind cars and around corners to avoid being spotted by chasers. And some chasers were scarily energetic, two were running along our from bus stop to bus stop just to try and tag us while getting off.