Mum Freeze

People to whom i describe the game of Mum Freeze refuse to believe such a thing.

Here’s a description of the game from someone who grew up in New York City’s South Bronx. The same brutal game we “played” in our neighborhood in Queens.

From STREET STORIES: Growing up in the South Bronx

When I tell people about this “game”, it never fails to elicit a few looks of disbelief. As always, we would choose to determine who would be the first victim. Then the rest of us would gather around, with the victim in the middle. After a tense count of three, we would all start to pound mercilessly on our selected friend. Punches would rain all over the unlucky person in the center as he quickly counted to ten and shouted “mum freeze”!

At the shout of mum freeze, everyone would have to freeze, like a statue, in whatever position you found yourself. Any movement or sound by you (hence, mum/freeze), and you would immediately become the next “victim”. At this point, however, the original victim is still in the middle of a bunch of living “statues” whose arms are suspended in mid-punch. As long as he was facing away from you, you could sneak in another punch, here and there. Once he extricated himself, however, he would walk slowly around the group, throwing simulated punches at their faces. If someone flinched, he became the next victim. It was hard not to flinch because at any point, the victim could just call your name and you were the new victim, whether or not you flinched!