You're walking down a dark hallway with a lantern flickering in the distance. The sound of screams and squeals deafen in the darkness. The musty smell and cool dampness in the air run shivers down your spine. As you try to find your way around a maze of corners, you grapple with the thought that something gruesome is about to appear or possibly won't appear. This anticipated fear can be a love/hate euphoria feeling when going through a Halloween Haunted House.
Haunted Houses have always been popular with young and the old. People will actually wait in line just so they can SCREAM! They want the experience of creepy monsters, gory ghouls and evil creatures scaring them silly.
Also in the lineup, are the protectors, the smug jokesters and the big "fear nothing" tough guys. The event is all for pure entertainment and a celebrated Halloween tradition for some.
However, in my experience, what's even better than a good scream is, without a doubt, being the one on the reverse side. The one MAKING you scream. Yep, I was the ugly spook lurking in corners and following behind you in the darkness.
Each night I performed my menacing role, I would apply hideous makeup and bloody scars to make my look as ghoulish as possible.
I volunteered for a Twin Cities haunt called Ramsey County Fright Farm and it was the most unusual, strangely fun and weird experience I've had.
Once I transformed into my sinister makeup and shabby clothing, it wasn’t hard to take on a creepy persona. It was time to freak out teenagers and make grown men scream like little girls. These were the best moments of haunting.
I would lurk behind hidden doors and unseen entryways waiting in the dark for the next target. Then quietly appear walking closely and unsuspectingly without saying a word. Once they realized it wasn't their companion standing next to them, there’d be a shrill and a startled leap. I'd shift swiftly behind a wall and appear again on the other side only to have them scream again.
After terrifying about 1000 visitors each night, I observed some common incidents and reactions from individuals that helped me to discover –
What not to do when going through a Haunted House:
Don't ask for the way out, where's the secret passageway or what's behind curtain #1? Ummm…really? You won’t get an answer to any of these questions. The plan is to keep you lingering in the house of horror as long as possible. We won’t reveal secrets or hidden doors. However, if someone is completely paralyzed with fear, emergency exists are the exception. This does happen.
Don't eat Taco Bell before going to a haunted house. Leaving a Trail of Terror of your own is not cool. I can’t believe how many people will rip a ripe one or drop a silent killer while in a haunted house. I've even heard stories of soiled underwear sightings. Now that's scary!
Don't bother to tell the haunter they’re ugly. Duh! We know already! We try our best to be as ugly and grotesque as possible. We take it as a compliment and it will only boost our scare-worthy confidence.
Don't try to hook up with the haunter. This was a big eye opener for me. I had bizarrely too many offers to meet up later, hop on the party bus, called baby and sweet stuff; then asked if I liked chains in bed. Seriously, it took all I could not to laugh.
Don’t overdo stink potions and booze. If people aren't fanning a Trail of Terror, then some are drenched in Juicy Couture or Nautica. Additional odors are ones soused in Tanqueray, Johnny Walker or Old Milwaukee. The aromas I had to endure were frightening!
Don't fall through a wall. Enter at your own risk and whatever you do just keep a forward motion. Don’t plummet backwards. Unfortunately, there are times when fear knocks a person right off their feet into a nearby wall. It’s times like these; you should take the helping hand of remorseful witch.
Don't laugh your way through. This could possibly haunt you at the end. Some show their fears through laughter, but even if it really is a cake walk, these are the people we make efforts to spook the most. I found the more arrogant they are the quicker they run.
Hey grown men! Don’t use your 6 year old kid as a shield. In fact, don't bring your 6 year old kid! There's a low scare version for little tikes.
Don't be a jackass and ruin the experience for others. That's it! Just don't be a jackass!
Last but not least – Don’t punch or slap the haunter. This was a lesson learned from a personal encounter. I found when poking out from a hidden room and leading with a Long Latex Witch Nose, that it left me vulnerable to having the thing slapped right off my face.
It was a close call and I just fell short of being cold cocked! It certainly made for one of the best fearful reactions ever and was actually the first time that someone took me by surprise.
So, after picking up my nose from the gritty floor, I decided to call it a night. After all, what’s a witch without her repulsive wart nose?
As the evening came to an end, I deemed it a successful and frightful night then clutched my latex nose, grabbed by broom and flew home.
Take the list of DON’T’S and do as you may with them, but if nothing else...enjoy and appreciate all the work that volunteers do to make the Halloween experience happen. Then, of course, DO SCREAM! The Haunters Love That!