Humor Magazine

An Overthinker Visits a Haunted House

By Katie Hoffman @katienotholmes

I think I spent too much money on this experience, but if nothing else, at least this deal is diversifying a Groupon purchase history that's heavy on savings from restaurants I normally wouldn't be able to afford. Maybe it'll be worth it. What makes a haunted house "worth it," though? Do I want to be scared, and if so, what does that say about me? Paying for fear seems like a luxury privilege when so many live in fear every day. Our nation is so broken. What am I even doing here?

But, look, the man headed this way has a syringe stuck in his eye. Does he really need to scream so much? Isn't the syringe sticking out of his eye scary enough? Just for the sake of conversation, isn't it possible this man is following the advice of his eye care professional? He's probably as scared of cornea damage and sight loss as we are of his grisly appearance.

What if there is no haunted house? What if this is some kind of experiment? They're just going to keep us out here in this line until one at a time we realize the truth: The horror we seek is found within. What if we get inside and there are no ghouls and no zombies, but instead a giant mirror that shows us ourselves at our most savage in pursuit of a leisurely scare to distract us from the routine panic of our everyday lives? It looks like it's time to go in. Here goes nothing.

Some of these uniformed staff members are awfully rude. If I wanted to be hustled, I'd go to Olive Garden on a Saturday night and hog a table for four hours filling up on unlimited breadsticks and wine tasting. According to our "tour guide" "Horatio," we're at an old asylum haunted by the spirits of murderous doctors and psychopathic patients. It's really disappointing that they keep recycling the same old haunted house story lines. Asylums. Prisons. Zombies. Why isn't there a DMV-themed haunted house? Or a Michaels craft store scrapbooking section the day a 40% off coupon starts haunted house? The haunted house industry needs to innovate! It kind of smells in here.

I know the darkness is supposed to be make me anxious, but it just reminds me of getting up in the middle of the night to pee or get a glass of water. It's comforting in a strange way. There's a wooden crate in the middle of this room, and I thought everyone would assume that a character was hiding in there, but it wasn't obvious to the person behind me who grabbed my shoulders like a human haunted house life preserver when a guy wearing a red clown wig popped out. In all honesty, the random bouts of human contact with strangers in a haunted house is more terrifying to me than a man wearing a mask with chains draped around his shoulders. This person in front of me hasn't let go of my hand since we got in, and I don't know them. Her palm is really warm, and she keeps turning around to give me hints I don't need, like, "That's not a real body," as if I think any aspect of this experience could be real other than my disappointment.

I really respect these actors. I wonder how they list this kind of work on their resumes. Spooky Operations Specialist? Terror Engineer? I have a feeling I'm smiling, but I don't mean to be. I don't want to hurt their feelings. They're all trying so hard to scare everyone. It's very noble, but why? Is unrequited terror as devastating as unrequited love? I remember last year I promised myself I wasn't going to do one of these ever again, because I feel so guilty. I want to be scared - why else would I be here? - but there are just too many reasons I shouldn't be-not the least of which, the red EXIT sign that's visible everywhere within this maze.

One of the characters is blocking my path now. The fake stitches on her face are placed in the haphazard pattern of someone trying to use a sewing machine for the first time. The group behind me is making yelping sounds and shrinking back like they're trying to create a diversion to rescue me from a tiger. This haunter is telling me that my face is going to be melted off of my skull. I'm trying to be respectful and maintain eye contact, but I'm fighting the impulse to roll my eyes because that's a really strange threat. How exactly is my face going to get melted off my skull? Is she going to be the one to do it? Does she know a guy who melts the faces off the skulls of her enemies? I'm also really distracted by her pigtails. It's interesting that pigtails never quite made the transition to a hairstyle that can be taken seriously. But it's just two ponytails! There's nothing specifically abhorrent about pigtails. I guess I'm going to regret the day I was born, but I'm free to move on to the next room.

There's a young man sitting in the corner of this room muttering something about killing them all. I hear a group of teenagers screaming somewhere up ahead. Suddenly, I'm frozen. I can't take another step. It just dawned on me that I can't remember if I turned on the dishwasher or not. I think I can remember pouring in the soap - ugh, not now butcher with bloody apron - but did I actually turn it on? And if I did, did I remember to put it on Power Wash mode? By the time I get home, that lasagna pan from last night will be fully congealed. This really is a nightmare.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog