30 October 2019

A Walk in the Forest

This is technically a repost.  However, it was written when I was first learning how to properly write the bloggity so let's just say it's a new and improved version.  It was originally written in 2010 and happened more than a few years prior.

I am not a huge Halloween fan. It's just not my thing. I don't usually dress up even when I worked with children.  I like happy decorations instead of scary ones.  The same Christmas decorating rules applies to this holiday: no decorations bigger than me.  Not a fan of horror movies either, I just don't need that darkness in my head. It's dark and twisty enough in there.

As a kid...about ten? twelve, maybe?  my brother took me to a haunted house that was in an old Craftsman house that was being reno'd.  The guys who did it were legit movie set people and it was AMAZING.  It was just scary enough to not give you nightmares and PTSD.

So then, I went with friends to a haunted house - AND I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE - on an old mental hospital campus.  As you assume: SCARY AS F*&K.  And that ended my haunted houses career.

Years ago, there used to be a haunted attraction in my hometown called The Haunted Forest. It was in a city park, up on a hill that had a trail winding through the trees.  It was very popular at the time; the line was literally hours long on the regular.

This is also where I say that I was a few years removed from the whole former husband thing but it was very much still in my head.  Kevin and I talked about it before we even went; the odds of seeing him were slim and what would happen if we did. 

As you stood waiting, you could hear the screams and shrieks of people as they went through the forest. Then to add to the ambiance, they also played one of those spooky Halloween sounds album over loudspeakers.  So, to recap: sketchy park in the woods, dark a.f. and scary audio ambiance.

Luckily for me, this was before Blair Witch Project. If it were after BWP, there would be no chance in hell that I would walk through it.  That movie permanently scarred me, I think.  But to be fair: we watched the movie in at our house - in the middle of the woods - with the lights turned off.  We continually make good decisions.

Anyway, it was Kevin and I and Kevin's best friend and whoever he was dating then.  We took the nephew and one of his friends when he was preteen? teen?  There were plenty of sassing and sarcasm bantered back and forth while we waited.  Nervous bravado, if you will

Now, I'm not really scared or spooked easily but they really worked on the whole atmosphere in this setting. Dark, woods, scary noises, the adrenaline of everyone feeding off one another. This is one of those the unknown is worse than the known situations.

We begin walking through. It begins with mostly visual stuff, nothing terrible. But as you get deeper into the Forest, it gets darker and the path isn't as clear. You're literally kind of stumbling along.  It's October in the Pacific Northwest so it's cold, damp, and probably a little foggy.

Now some genius (I mean that sincerely) thought of using an actual chain saw. They took off the chain so there was no danger but the SOUND.  Super unsettling. 

Then they used strobe lights which are, of course, disorienting. My vision doesn't compensate for strobe lights so at this point I was dependent upon Kevin to move during that part. A trust exercise, if you will.

We're nearly to the end and there are zombies wandering in the woods. You can see them but they're not really near you.  I think that was way more creepy than if they actually came near.


A man comes out of the woods, slightly behind me. He approaches me and takes my arm.
I hear "Come with me" in a quiet voice near my ear.

All I could think of was:


Just as I was getting ready to freak the hell out and start throwing punches, the guy stepped back and literally fell on the ground laughing.

It was my friend Brad. Yeah, if he wasn't such a great guy, I would so hate him.  Oh.My.GOD.

Kevin wasn't in on the plan so he got IMMENSE ENJOYMENT.

And I think that's the last haunted house/Halloween thing we did. Go figure.

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