Halloween has a tough gig.
Of all the major holidays, it’s the only one that falls on the very last day of the month. Thanksgiving has the buffer of Black Friday before we start thinking about December. Christmas gives us a whole week to prepare for the New Year. With Easter, we never know what day . . and sometimes even what month it’s gonna show up inside of. And the Fourth of July has a peach spot as the lead off hitter in summer’s lineup.
All Hallows Eve is the ultimate drop the mic party, and it gets cropped even further if it falls on a weeknight since all murder and mayhem needs to happen inside a two hour window so’s you can get a decent night’s sleep . There is no doubt in my mind that Michael Myers waited until the weekend to steal away to his hometown, since that’s when peeps let their guard down (read: they stay up late, drink copious amounts of alcohol and get super lazy). If he would’ve fucked with the average person’s shit on a weeknight, the boy never would’ve made it out of Haddonfield alive.
For us horror fans who don’t live in the fictional town of Haddonfield, the idea of trying to escape the clutches of a crazed killer whilst running down the street screaming for our lives is nothing more than a pipe dream. So we need to get our fix in other ways. For yours truly, I made horror movies a daily part of my diet for the better part of the last month. And this past Halloween night, I decided to take the girl to a haunted attraction called “Field of Screams”.
I’ve done these attractions before and truth be told, I was never piss my pants frightened. Other than a few jump scares and the occasional freak out session inside a pitch black room, I never got the feeling I was in any sort of real danger. Like, the kind of danger where I’m dragged off into an abandoned factory, subjected to unimaginable torture and then served up as Sunday dinner.
Maybe it’s because I have an intimate knowledge of what goes on at these places once the sun goes down. As an actor, it was my job to scare the living hell out of anyone who dared to trespass into my unholy domain. It’s kinda hard to suspend disbelief after you’ve gotten prepped in a makeup room whilst listening to Jason Vorhees cry about his college girlfriend as Freddy Krueger pops a couple Advil and chases it with a Red Bull.
And then this past Halloween night happened, and I lost my jaded snark. I didn’t get piss my pants scared, but I sure as hell got humbled into a freak out pie . . and I was being force fed seconds. And the worst part is, I knew better.
Because there are rules you do not mess with. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t sit in the first row at a comedy club and you never . . ever show up early to a haunted attraction. Because when you show up early to a haunted attraction, you’ve totally fucked with the ‘safety in numbers’ theorem.
We signed up for the whole enchilada, which meant a couple hours worth of roaming the grounds . . . mostly by ourselves. It didn’t take much suspending of disbelief as we navigated shrinking rooms, rummaged through attics filled with mummies, danced with strobe lit clowns and begged the living dead girls for mercy. This Son of the Bronx conceded defeat before we even made it out of the Den of Darkness.
There were three more venues to consider, so I came up with a plan.
“You go first,” I told my daughter.
“Scared?” She replied.
“No . . I’m just uber sensitive to my surroundings right now, alright?”
I regretted this change of plan about halfway through the next venue- The Frightmare Asylum- when Grandpa Sawyer started following my ass around. Because as a horror movie aficionado, I know Leatherface is a vicious psychopath and a clingy grandson. It took me a couple of minutes to convince myself I was safe from a meat hook, which is when zombie mama jumped right into my grill and started brushing my hair. I haven’t been that freaked out since I was on Match.com.
Before we ventured into the Nocturnal Wasteland, I had to change things up yet again. “Okay, you know what? Maybe let’s go with the original plan . . you first,”
My daughter is cooler than the Outlaw Josie Wales, so she simply shrugged before accepting her mission to protect Dad. And she was more than up to the task as we made it through unscathed . . well, except for the mutant chain saw guy who grabbed my arm with a pair of rusty tongs (That’s what it felt like, okay?). And oh yeah . . the sum of my deepest, darkest fears which had us walking through a pitch black school bus as the children of the night invited us to play with them in eternal darkness. Which was totally fucking uncool shit if you ask me.
The hayride was my reward for having taught my daughter another lesson in the art of self defense. I sat back and drank in the cool night air, surrounded by people whose screams provided cover for my profanity. And then I drew up yet another plan . . this one foolproof.
Next Halloween, we bring a posse.