It’s spooky season! I love a lot of aspects of Halloween but I will never set foot in a haunted house not sponsored by Mickey Mouse.
I have telling this out loud down to a routine. It was a very in demand story for a long time. It loses something without tone and emphasis but I’m sure it’s still good. It’s long but was beloved for a reason.
I used to be a horror wimp. I’d never see the movies. I watched season 1 of American Horror Story on my phone, at a data entry job, after reading the episode synopsis. That was the only way I could handle it. I was dating a guy who loved horror stuff and haunted houses. He used to work at one before moving and couldn’t be more excited when the first ones of the season opened up.
He told me he got the all attraction pass so I wasn’t allowed to wimp out on him. [nervous, awkward ‘heh heh’] [Deadpan] No promises.
I figure we should start with the haunted hayride because it will be outside with fresh air, we’ll be in a vehicle so no one can get in my face.
[Flat delivery] That’s broken.
Our remaining options are the haunted hotel or the haunted asylum. I opt for the asylum because it’s a classic trope. They release you in clumps so we’re waiting to the ambient sounds of screaming and chainsaws. Lots of signs saying the actors may touch you. I maintain you should be able to touch them back. My date said I sounded drunk.
[Deadpans] God, I wish.
We get stuck at the end of our respective clump. My date reacts to nothing so I stick him on the end. It’s going well because the girl in front of me is Grade A. Losing. Her. Shit. The actors make me jump and go back to making her cry. It’s a fantastic system.
We make it about a third of the way through and I’m doing great. We get through the insane clown room, which weirdly does nothing to me, and then I see something that makes me want to grab one of those insane clowns by the shoulders [miming the motion] and say [desperately and dramatically] “Get me the fuck out of here!”
It was two ~6 foot high inflatable walls. It was like being swallowed alive by a bouncy castle. The only way through was to push. My date has one arm around me, he’s hold my hand, and speaking in soothing tones.
I’m not doing great.
Had I been in there 5-10 seconds longer, I would have started hyperventilating and run until I hit wall and collapsed on the ground. I have since been told that’s a panic attack. To this day, retelling this part of the story makes my chest get a little tighter.
We break through just before I’m a goner but my nerves are shot. Fortunately, the girl from before is still audibly losing her shit so I’m mostly being left alone. I’m hanging in there and hanging in there for another third of the way through.
We’re starting to lag behind when my date insists on stopping and watching this special effect. It’s a video of a crazy girl pounding on a screen and the metal door in front of the screen jumps out in time.
We watch this long enough for me to realize a few important things:
We lost the rest of our group
My date reacts to nothing
[Points to self, in a mocking tone] Guess who’s getting picked on?
After that, every time I saw one of those exit signs, I stopped and thought about it. I’m pushing through and hanging by a thread. We finally make it to the end. I can feel fresh air on the other side of the door. There’s a guy with a chainless chainsaw and I’m home free.
[Dramatically and quickly to indicate rapid action] I brace myself, I yank open the door, in comes the insane clown with the chainsaw, I break right, he goes for my date, I run for the door and [slowing down] there, blocking my path, is a guy in a wife beater with another chainsaw.
I don’t have fight. I don’t have flight. All I have is [ducks head into arms and pitifully wails] “I just wanna go home.”
The insane clown quickly realizes he’s getting nothing from my date and comes back for me. I still don’t have fight or flight. [Folds in on self and pitifully wails] “I just wanna go home.”
[Ominously] And they’re closing in and they’re closing in until the guy in the wife beater *pokes me in the leg with the chainsaw*. [Pitifully] “Can I leave now?”
I’m sweating, I’m shaking, and I haven’t totally ruled out crying. My date had to sit on a bench and hold me for 10 minutes until I calmed down. He went to do the haunted house by himself and I bought myself a funnel cake because I earned it.