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A Hair-Raising Experience

, , , , , | Right | October 31, 2021

My family and I are at a landmark house in Gettysburg doing a ghost tour.

Guide: “Okay, so we are all aware, the ghosts do love to play with long hair, so ladies, unless you want some spectral attention, you may want to put your hair up in a ponytail. Also, it should be noted that they particularly love curly hair, and often those with curly hair report the most activity.”

At that moment, all eyes on the tour group turn to twelve-year-old me as I have very long hair and am the only one on the tour with curly hair.

Me: “Mom give me a ponytail holder. Now!”

Thankfully, I did not have anyone play with my hair.

These Are The Same Jerks Who Talk In The Movie Theater

, , , , , , , , , | Right | October 31, 2021

I am an actor in a drive-through scare attraction. It’s like a classic haunted house attraction except that people drive instead of walking through. Various scenes play out and the scares get bigger as they reach the climax of the story.

When they first enter, they are given clear instructions: stop at the stop sign in each zone, only proceed when the light turns green, and drive no more than three miles per hour.

Most people can follow these simple instructions. Most.

As with most scare attractions, there is a combination of pre-recorded dialogue, sound effects, and spoken dialogue/scares. It’s important to keep traffic moving but also give cars the green light when it’s safe to move forward. Otherwise, we get cars backed up which hurts everyone’s experience and makes accidents more likely.

[Guest #1] drives into my scene. The track is playing with dialogue from the main protagonist and antagonist, and I’m waiting for my cue. [Guest #1] stares at me for a moment, completely ignoring the dialogue blasting into his car, before loudly saying, “I guess she isn’t going to wave us through,” and speeds off, nearly hitting the car ahead of him.

It’s almost as though I didn’t turn on your green light for a reason!

[Guest #2] stays for the entire scene. The jump scare happens and I, in character, yell at them to “Get outta here!” and hit the green light.

[Guest #2] just sits there. And sits there. Cars are now waiting behind her. She doesn’t even look at me: the green light is right in her face and she’s staring straight ahead. After an agonizing forty-five seconds, she finally remembers that green means go.

[Guest #3] comes rolling in. He and his buddies are having a blast — and not in a good way. They’re chattering so loudly that they nearly drown out the very loud audio track. They don’t stop at the stop sign at all, so I — in character — put my hand up and tell them to stop. They laugh at me and drive off at way more than three miles per hour… missing an entire jump scare and causing a backup.

A variation of these events happens every single night.

It never ceases to amaze me how people will pay up to $100 per car and then ruin their own experience. Or how many people can’t follow simple instructions. I guess they laugh and drive forward when crossing guards tell them to stop, too?

Not to mention the catcalling and heckling. I can’t imagine spending $100 just to harass people who are being paid to entertain you. And hecklers almost always miss out on the jump scares. Their loss!

Jason Versus Retail

, , , , , | Right | October 31, 2021

I work in a haunted house, and I work both ends of the venue when it is slow. I sell tickets and then jump into costume to scare. I am pretty good at my job.

A family of three is going through. The father is jumpy but looks like he is having a good time; the mother and daughter are terrified. I take advantage of one of my favorite spots towards the end to give them a good finishing scare.

I jump out and yell, annnnnddd then the daughter turns 180 and runs face-first into a wall. I take off my mask and radio my buddy to turn the lights all the way on. She is bleeding pretty badly but I can’t tell if her nose is broken.

I escort them out to the lobby, grab the first aid kit, paper towels, instant ice pack, and a cold bottle of water. I start to apologize, but before I can finish, the father goes all bat-s*** on me. He starts off just yelling and poking me in the chest. Then it escalates to, “WHY IS THAT WALL THERE?!” and shoving. The whole time his wife and daughter are telling him to calm down and that she is fine.

Being me, I laugh when he asks why a wall was there and he gets really handsy.

Me: “If your daughter is fine, then you can leave.”

Customer: “No, buddy, I’m gonna kick your a**.”

I clock out then and there and walk out to the parking lot, still dressed as Jason Voorhees. Nothing ends up happening except him yelling at me more, and some guy in the parking lot yelling:

Parking Lot Bystander: “AWW, S***, THIS DUDE’S ABOUT TO FIGHT JASON!”

This. Is. TERRIFYING.

, , , , , , | Learning | July 24, 2021

I attended elementary school — kindergarten through fifth grade — from the early to mid-1990s. Every year for Halloween, and the three days leading up to it, our entire school became a haunted house. The ticket sales went to various other school programs and activities. This being an elementary school, you might think it was more of a kid-friendly haunted house. Nope, it was an actual haunted house. The different rooms didn’t change much, but it was pretty gruesome and people really got into it. A lot of parents would help out and the high school even gave extra credit to the students who volunteered to help. Considering how conservative the little town we lived in was at the time, I’m surprised they were even allowed to start this, let alone keep it going for nearly twenty years.

The final scare at the end of the haunted house happened when you reached the cafeteria. A man, usually one of the coaches from the high school, popped out in a Jason mask while revving a real chainsaw (with the saw chain removed) and chased you through a wooden maze that had been built in the cafeteria.

By my fifth grade year, my friends and I weren’t really scared by the haunted house anymore, since most of the scares were the same every year. We were part of the first group to go through and were mostly giggling and goofing around. We made it to the cafeteria, but we weren’t sure when or where Jason would pop out.

We made it nearly to the end of the maze when Jason appeared, revving his chainsaw. The people at the front of our group screamed and ran out the door to the school lobby. One of my friends thought he’d be funny and decided to dart through Jason’s legs on his way out. Jason lurched back, sending the chainsaw over his head and into one of the maze walls. We all froze when we heard the sound of wood splitting and the chainsaw choking as it got stuck.

A teacher who’d been monitoring the area came running in and turned the lights on. There, stuck in the maze wall, was a chainsaw that most definitely still had the blades on. Coach Jason had forgotten to take the chain off.

The teacher herded us out of there while Jason tried to get the chainsaw free. They shut the haunted house down for about an hour while all the teachers met and talked about what to do. Different volunteers dressed as monsters, zombies, etc., switched in and out of the cafeteria for the rest of that Halloween season. They kept doing the haunted house for several years after I graduated on to middle school, but they never had Jason back again.


This story is part of our Best Of July 2021 roundup!

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A Haunting Lack Of Parenting

, , , , , , | Right | October 31, 2020

I’m working at a haunted house selling the tickets up front. The manager puts me in charge because he has to make a change run.

A young woman, who looks like she could be twenty, with her child, who looks like he might be five years old, is next in line. We have a rule that no child under seven is allowed inside; signs are put on the door entrance and on the ticket desk that say this. She puts her money on the table and asks for two tickets.

Me: “Ma’am, we cannot allow children under the age of seven to enter the haunted house.”

Customer: “He’s fine; don’t worry about it.”

Me: “No, that’s the rule: nobody under seven.”

Customer: “FINE, HE’S SEVEN!”

It’s already been a long day and I really don’t want to get into it, so I just give her the tickets after taking her money. She snatches the tickets and drags her son to the attraction. The walk in the haunted house usually takes about five minutes.

After about two minutes, I hear a child scream and cry very loudly in the house. Shortly after, I see the same lady, carrying her son, out through the entrance rushing towards me.

Customer: “What the f*** is wrong with you people?! You made my f****** kid cry in there! I want my money back and I’m going to sue this g**d*** place for traumatizing a four-year-old!”

At this point, her ignorance breaks through my tolerance level.

Me: “Lady, I told you, nobody under seven years old! You even said he was seven! If anything, I can call CPS on you for dragging a four-year-old in there!”

Customer: “Stupid b****! How dare you talk to me like that?! Where is your manager? I bet your tone will change once I tell them you’re threatening me!”

Me: “My manager is not here. Right now, I’m in charge. I’m not gonna argue on an issue that is clearly your fault. So get out, or I can get security to drag you out!”

After a few minutes of calling me names and screeching about how she was going to bring her baby-daddy to “f*** me up,” our security guard finally came out of the office after watching the cameras and proceeded to escort her out.