One Halloween in high school, I went to a movie with a boy and some friends. We saw that terrifying movie The Ring, which I only recently recovered from, but the scariest part was that I was still in full ghoul makeup. I worked at a haunted house for three years around Halloween, and I think it was then then I really started to love the season.
It is a holiday that has turned into fun for the sake of fun, and though our government doesn't think it merits a day off from school and work, it's still on the calendar every year - which is an accomplishment in itself- and a sign that people love candy, kids in funny costumes, and getting the crap scared out of them for fun. I think that's a wonderful set of things for a society to admit to liking.
The haunted house endeavor in high school was always an exhausting one, as there were like twenty of us running it with one advisor for a full weekend, a matinee showing, and then Halloween itself, which was generally on a school night through high school. By the time I was a senior, we'd moved the show from the old Grange to a creepy little church with a creepy giant basement and really perfected our art.
Starting in about July of that year, one of my best guy friends, who was my co-chair on the Haunted House committee with me, made it his one goal senior year to construct an elaborate maze in the basement of that year's house.
"Dude, it's never going to work," our advisor warned.
So Co-Chair recruited his friends, one of whom went on to major in engineering, and they did the damn thing. A bunch of 17 year old boys crafted the single most terrifying haunted house I've ever been through. It was just a bunch of plywood covered in black fabric, with one of them dressed up in a black gorilla suit wandering the maze. I am sure there was some other stuff, but really, those were the key elements. When it's dark enough, anything is scary.
Co-Chair and I decided to see what Portland had to offer in the way of haunted houses this year, so we ventured out to Jantzen Beach for "Scream at the Beach," currently rated #3 in the nation for best haunts.
And what a scream it was, thanks to me.
I could not SHUT UP. I giggled and squealed my way through each of the FIVE haunted houses they had set up (a zombie mansion, a jungle swamped with tribal ritual, a mental hospital, a killer carnival, and for me, the most terrifying: a Deliverence-esque mining camp. Sweet sassafrass, take me home).
I didn't realize I'd developed such a ridiculous defense mechanism- I wonder what kind of squealing and hysterical laughing I do during the day on a regular basis, just to make it through the day alive and in one piece?
Or like this one sort of snuck up on me, if in a few years something will happen and my reaction will surprise me- that I will exhibit a strength I didn't know had grown.
Or maybe I will just giggle my way through the next Hard Part.