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Spooky Dooky, Or How I Feel About Haunted Houses

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Isn’t this picture hilarious? It was taken inside a haunted house in Canada and it cracks me up. Laughing at other people’s terror isn’t very nice, but it is easier for me actually stepping foot inside an actual haunted house.

My son is seven and is heading off to his first Halloween party tonight.

As a family, we usually visit the pumpkin patch, purchase costumes and take the kids trick or treating, but that’s usually it when it comes to Halloween festivities.

(Well…there was a grown-ups only Halloween party that my husband and I used to go to, but until our friendly-hosts move back from the UK, all grown-up party plans have been put on pause.)

We don’t decorate the house with spooky spider webs or plastic shrunken heads like our neighbors. We pretty much stay away from anything scary or death-focused, just as a general rule of life, although it applies to our Halloween participation as well.

I called the mother of the boys who were throwing the festive shin-dig and told her that our son wasn’t really into anything “Spooky-Dooky”. (Not my best Halloween phrase, but my talking-on-the-phone skills have been getting a little rusty!)

She mentioned that there were five rooms that were decorated throughout the house like a mad scientist lab, one with body parts, etc.

Oh man. Body parts? Gross.

My husband and I talked to our son and told him that there would be some rooms that were kind of creepy and checked to see if he would still like to go.

He’s not the kind of kid who will do ANYTHING he doesn’t want to. We’re hoping this quality will be groomed for GOOD and in full force when he is getting pressured into stupid stuff when he’s a teenager. As a seven year old, it gets pretty annoying, though.

I know that if he’s scared, he won’t go into any room, and instead will go outside and just hang out by the bonfire and eat candy.

This is my hope!

But this situation is reminding me of the last time I went into a haunted house.

I’m not sure how old I was, but I know it was sometime between 1990 and 1992. I was spending lots of time with Monica, my older-than-me-by-2-years BFF slash big-sister figure who usually passed down all her cool clothes to me, despite the fact that they would never look as good on my twig-like, Jr.-High-awkward-phrase frame.

The good ol’ Antelope Valley mall was having a haunted house one year, and somehow I got talked into checking it out after school with Monica and her mom. (Party on, Wayne!)

I had never been into a haunted house before. I had also made it a point to avoid the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland because it just sounded way too scary. They simply lost me at “Haunted”.

No thanks, Mickey. I’ll be sailing through the night with Peter Pan instead.

But since I was easily goaded into things I rarely wanted to do by Monica…

Eat a clover out of her front yard
Shave my sideburns
Ask my mom what an “Orgasm” was
Watch “Silence of the Lambs” at a sleepover

I ended up waiting in line forever for the haunted house. I remember it being really expensive, and that we had to wait for hours. (Or what seemed like hours to a kid like me.)

Finally we went in and I remember being told the Cardinal Rule of haunted houses: Sure, they can scare you, maybe even jump out at you, but NO ONE is allowed to touch you.

Ok, seems legit. I guess I’ll give it a try.

My memory has impressively faded in all the right places, because I can’t remember many details about the haunted house, except that I was terrified.

And not just terrified in the way that makes you want to hurry up and get out of the thing, oh no. I was so terrified in that haunted house that I remember rounding a corner to a scene that resembled a swampy graveyard and my mind was DONE.

The old brain had apparently had it with juggling both my suffocating fear as well as my motor skills and I just stopped walking.

Nope. Wouldn’t budge.

It didn’t matter how embarrassed I was that I was letting down my friend and her mom, the fetal position was the only thing that made sense to me, so down I went.

Of course they tried talking to me and told me to get moving, but all I remember is being lifted up and carried out of the place.

I think there was a haunted house employee involved in the extraction. Maybe we even went out a secret exit, I’m not really sure. (Thankfully I did not pee my pants or throw up, although I do believe I hyperventilated.)

My friend and her mom were very disappointed and it would be just one more episode of many where my childish whims pushed all their buttons:

More examples:
The many times I threw up in their car on road trips
That time I got black puffy paint on my friend’s brand new comforter.
The time when I ate Monica’s dad’s portion of chicken noodle soup / ALL of his dinner.

I still am a bit leery of haunted houses and I will ALWAYS mute the commercials that promote all those haunted corn mazes and scary stuff around town. {Shiver} Not for me!

Here’s to hoping that my son has a better time tonight and that his amazing strong-will will help him not compromise on what he does and does not want to do.

Is it Christmas yet?
**UPDATE: He did great at the party, although his sugar intake was WAY above normal, invoking an after midnight puke-session to purge his tummy. We have concluded that sugar puking > Halloween terrors.


About Jenny Z

I love to overuse italics, misplaced hyphens and internal dialogue when I write about my usual favorite topic, myself.

One response »

  1. Ok, I’m dying laughing here and these are my two favorite lines:
    “Shave my sideburns”
    “The time when I ate Monica’s dad’s portion of chicken noodle soup / ALL of his dinner.”

    You are SO hilarious, Jenny!


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