Sunday, October 2, 2011

What are you afraid of?

I do believe I'm starting October off in many of the right ways, even if the house decorating is woefully behind schedule. Tonight, I visited one of our local haunted houses, the House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs in Buffalo, NY. A yearly feature of my life since childhood/adolescence, the Catacombs and other area haunted houses have been a highlight of my seasonal celebrations. There are few things like the air beginning to chill and sky darker sooner, and the houses opening-- bringing the fun of the scare.

 Last year, the Catacombs took a year off, and naturally I was looking forward to going with my friend Laura and seeing what they had come up with during the year off. I wrote a post similar to this last year, and talked about how I'd rather not spoil certain scares or new techniques for anyone out there who may have yet to experience them-- suffice it to say, I was eerily surprised and pleased by a scare consisting of a video, a zombie and a shotgun. And I remain petrified of the balloon walls you have to walk through as they press against you; for they bring out a claustrophobia I'm not usually familiar with the moment I'm between them.

 While some of the houses left a few things to be desired (or relied too heavily on strobe-lighting), all in all, my experience at the Catacombs was a good one. We shall see how it compares to the other area houses, which I plan on consuming sometime soon this month. As we left, my friend and I brainstormed the best elements to a haunted house-- what worked, what didn't. For us, the classic theme of a house haunted is best-- with some outdoor woodsy, cemetery scenes preferred. Strobe lights would be kept to a minimum-- and never relied on-- with more spaced out scares, to never become too predictable. And the actors and props should leave the haunted house visitor some time-- not too much-- to take in all the scenery around she or he. Some rooms were spectacularly decorated, and I'd wished we'd had time to look at some more of the detail before screaming and/or running out with a scare.

 So. My question this evening. What are you afraid of? What makes a good haunted house for you?  

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