When you think of haunted houses, you probably imagine horrific scenes of blood and gore, demonic clowns with chainsaws following you around, and the shrill screams of the more feint-hearted people who come to see the monsters.
Maybe for everyone else this is the case, but if there was ever a group of people who could mess up a haunted house, it's my friends.
Last year, we decided to go to Fear Forest in Lordstown. It was the first time I'd been to a haunted house in years, and also the first time going without a parent.
At Fear Forest, you first go on a haunted hayride that drops you off at a random warehouse in the middle of the woods, were you can walk through the haunted house. We managed to do just fine on the haunted hayride; no major incidents there. It was at the haunted house where things started to fall apart.
Because there were five of us, they split us up into two groups to walk through the house. That, of course, was the worst idea anyone ever had. Of the five of us, two were afraid of everything, two were afraid of nothing, and one had no expectations.
The result was one group who screamed and frantically ran into walls, and another group that was too cynical to be bothered.
I, unfortunately, ended up in the screaming group. Personally I am not naturally a screamer. I may be afraid of everything, but I'm not about to waste my breath on it. So, being with the screaming group and not screaming, I was nominated to be the human shield.
It was only a matter of time before all three of us ran straight into a blacked out wall. As the shield, I absorbed most of the blow. We weren't hurt, but I was still annoyed.
Meanwhile, my more mellow friends, Chandler and Sammy, were trailing about 5 minutes behind us, refusing to scream even once. Instead of letting themselves be scared by the monsters, they decided to stop and talk to the workers. They even convinced a few of the monsters to take off their masks. Eventually, they had one conversation long enough to let the group behind them pass them up.
Back where monsters are actually scary, my friends and I recovered from the run in with the wall and continued onward, until, in a frantic attempt to escape, I tripped and fell onto the rocky floor.
At the time we were being chased by a clown with a butcher knife. When he saw me trip, he was obviously concerned, but he refused to break character, so he just stood there. I, however, was waiting for him to go away so I could get up with some dignity. This led to a lengthy staring contest, where neither of us would move. My friends were just as flustered as I was, because they didn't want to leave me behind, but they were terrified of the clown. They plastered themselves to the wall furthest away from the clown, and yelled at me until I finally gave up and resolved to pry myself off the ground.
From there we preceded to fall out an emergency exit and end up, momentarily, in a giant field.
About the same time, Chandler and Sammy finally hit a room full of strobe lights and white streamers that we'd passed through a few minutes earlier. This was the one point in the haunted house were they finally freaked out, not because they were scared, but because they were concerned about passing out from the flashing lights.
A friendly monster directed them onward through the room, and they regained their composure.
At that time Arica and Allison, my more enthusiastic friends, and I, were busy falling out another emergency exit, this time surrounded on all sides by various demons with assorted weapons. I'm sure they thought we were all idiots, but that aside, they allowed us to come back inside the haunted house and left us alone for the rest of our trip.
Eventually we made it out, although we were chased with a chainsaw, at which point I tripped again.
Needless to say, we were not the most graceful people at the haunted house, nor the most composed, though we very well may have been the most interesting.
I do not, however, recommend copying our behavior, because I can say from experience you would come back home with a lot of cuts and bruises.
So to recap, if you are going to a haunted house this year
1. Don't run into walls.
2. Don't have conversations with the monsters.
3. Don't trip while fleeing from clowns.
4. Don't pass out from the strobe lights.
5. Don't fall out the emergency exits.
And, most importantly, remember to have fun.