Scary Haunted Houses? No Thanks.


My first experience with a haunted house was when I was 13 years old and in the 8th grade.  It was October and I was spending the night with a girlfriend and she asked her father to take us to what at the time, was a very popular “haunted house” in Nashville.  I was game, yet had no idea what I was in for or what the experience at this haunted house would be like.

I recall we stood in line literally for hours just to get in, so I was thinking, “Man, this is really going to be fun!”  Well, it wasn’t.  I guess I was expecting more of a carnival type fun house and wasn’t prepared for the horror that awaited me.  I was not prepared for the bloodied costumed characters jumping out at me with knives and chainsaws.  I was not prepared for the blood curdling screams.  I was not prepared for the darkness and headache inducing strobe lights.  In short, I gripped on to my friend’s father’s jacket so tightly that I practically tore it and his arm right off his body.  I had never been so terrified in my life and my heart was pounding out of my chest when I came out of there, eyes wide with fear.  I had nightmares over that place.


pexels-photo-247122In the early years of dating my husband, our dates consisted mainly of dinners out and movies or putt-putt golf.  We were in college and around 19 years old when we decided one night to do something a little different and go to a haunted house that friends of ours had said was really good.  I was reluctant after remembering my first haunted house experience at age 13.  I was reluctant because I don’t do scary well.  But we decided to go anyway.  After all, I was older and a whole lot more mature, and I thought I could handle it.  It was my last haunted house as I vowed never to go to another one.

I was always under the impression that the costumed characters/actors were not allowed to touch you in these haunted houses.  That’s what I had been told anyway.  They could jump out at you and get right in your face, but could not physically touch you.  Turns out that wasn’t the case.  It seems the young males who were working this particular haunted house didn’t care about rules and didn’t abide by them.  We were packed in there like sardines and I was clinging tightly to my boyfriend’s hand following closely behind him as we snaked through the narrow twisting and turning hallways.  It went from blinding strobe lights to pitch black darkness to blinding strobe lights.  I felt disoriented.  The horror music playing and recordings of chains rattling, ghoulish moans and screams, and whirring chainsaws were deafening.  At one point, the lights went out and a hand from behind and to the right side of me grabbed and squeezed my right breast.  I hit at the hand groping me to knock it away.  After that, I just wanted out of there.  When we finally got out and got to the car, I told my boyfriend what had happened.  He felt bad for taking me there and apologized profusely.  I told him it wasn’t his fault.  That was in the late 70s.  We never went back to another haunted house and I vowed if I ever had children, especially teenage daughters, that I would never, ever take them to a haunted house.  I ended up marrying the boy I was on that date with that night, and we had two sons.  We never took them to haunted houses.  We stuck with pumpkin patches, hayrides, and corn field mazes.  I can only imagine what haunted houses are like now, four decades later, and I really don’t care to find out.

I don’t do horror movies.  When I was in college, I saw Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis (it was 1978 and it was showing on campus).  It scared the living daylights out of me.  I was scared to walk back to my dorm that night and I didn’t sleep for weeks.  I never wanted to babysit again after watching that movie.  It did me in forever as far as ever being able to watch horror movies.  For the same reason, I don’t like to read scary books.

I know there are people who love to be scared and who are willing to pay good money to go to haunted houses and have the crap scared out of them every year.  If that’s what they like, then more power to them.  I’m certainly not here to judge.  But it’s not for me.  I don’t need the nightmares or the near-panic attacks.  I’ll stay home and eat my pumpkin pie, sip my apple cider, and carve my smiling Jack-o-lantern.

I love Halloween but it’s become a little too bloody and gory for me.  One only has to go into a Halloween store to see how true this is.  Give me cute smiling jack-o-lanterns, funny black cats with arched backs, sweet little smiling cartoonish looking ghosts, delicious candy corn, and goofy looking scarecrows, but keep the bloody knives, the whirring chainsaws, and the scary blood-dripping zombies away from me, please.

Do you like haunted houses or do you avoid them like I do?  


About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
This entry was posted in Autumn, Fear, Halloween, Holidays and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Scary Haunted Houses? No Thanks.

  1. misifusa says:

    Gail, I’m with you. I HATE those types of haunted houses. I don’t watch scary or gory movies ever! All these shows during the month of October make me crazy so I end up watching the Hallmark channel all the time because I hate to be scared. I’ve spent too many sleepless nights with my own imagination to want to see or experience something that would probably stay with me for a long time.
    I went to one of those haunted houses with friends when I was probably 13 as well. First and last time. Strobe lights, scary gory costumed people and screaming ghouls? I lost my mind and started screaming that I had to get out of there NOW! I couldn’t stop crying. Lucky for me, nearby there was an escape door and a kind girl who was working there, dressed like a scary hag, saw me losing my mind and showed me out the door. I have never been back to one of those – ever.

    • Gail says:

      Yvonne, I think we must be twin souls separated at birth! I hate them too. You’re smart not to have gone back a second time like I did. I really regretted it as soon as I was in there.

      • misifusa says:

        I can only imagine how I would have felt in that situation Gail. I’m glad you no longer have to experience that type of terror. Good for you for knowing what you want/can and cannot do! 🙂 No need to be frightened when it’s not fun. I agree -twin souls! ♥

  2. Mary Mangee says:

    Gail, I’m with you. I have nightmares about everything. When they show trailers of movies on television, my boyfriend has to tell me to turn away. I even have nightmares about the news. These things get caught up in my subconscience and I end up having terrifying dreams. I say, No thanks to being scared.

    • Gail says:

      Yeah, the news can be pretty scary in itself! I’ve gotten to where I don’t watch it much anymore. Sometimes just getting on the Internet bombards you with horror stories too.

  3. I was saving this to read till now. I thought it was going to be a scary ghost story and wanted to be prepared. Ha! I’ve never gone to a “haunted house”. I knew I wouldn’t like it and nobody could talk me into going. From the sound of it, it was a good choice. Sorry it was so, SO horrible for you. Too bad you couldn’t put an elbow to that creep’s face.

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