Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tis the Season to Haunt,

c. David Grim (taken 7/13/08)

Does the fact that I sometimes feel like going to haunted houses make me immature? I'm beginning to fell like it might, mostly because I don't know anyone else my age who'd want to go to one with me. I swear it's just the season that puts these thoughts into my head.

When I was growing up I remember checking out all kinds of crap- especially once I hit my tween years. The smell of Fall makes me think about waiting in long lines waiting to see one or another scary seasonal attraction. I can almost bring back the anticipation I felt, wondering what kind of creepy delights awaited me at the head of the line.

Growing up on the East Coast during the early and mid-80's, I imagine the commercials for local Halloween destinations like Brigantine Castle had to be virtually inescapable. That place was like the Holy Grail for kids in smelling distance of New Jersey. It was billed as an extremely scary haunt... the type of place that would expel the cowardly like an allergen. No boy wanted to be the one to have to leave before making it all the way through the tour.

But we didn't have to drive for an hour-and-a-half to check out a scare-fest. Sometimes the stuff put together by local clubs was the best. The rickety nature of the constructions, and the amateur quality of the projects made them extra unpredictable and thus much more anxiety-inducing. The workers in some joints would even make physical contact with those going through... this, of course, before they made such things illegal. And the times were much less commercialized, so you weren't inundated with trendy movie tie-ins. People actually had to be creative.

Anyway, I'm really not trying to be the "old guy" carried away by long-lost memories. I'm sure that kids nowadays have their own special scary experiences for the holiday that they will remember someday with much pleasure. Hell, I know that rural youth tend to invest a lot of time and energy trying to find spooky barns and corn mazes inhabited with ghouls and spectres. And meanwhile city kids have their own spectrum of fearsome phenomena. Perhaps in a few years I'll be checking that kind of thing out with my son, and I'll have another set of memories to be nostalgic about.

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