It was Halloween night! The year 2018 and I was ready! I had all the kids dressed, had a plan, and was ready to go! Our first stop of the night was to be at a nearby local college. They had games, candy, and glow sticks for the little masked demons running around. The costumes were decent and there was much laughter to be had. Everyone in my group of 10 (2 families) was having a good time.
The time came for us to go into the Haunted House. Cool! I love Haunted Houses I thought to myself.
Now, before I go further, I must say this. I am proud to admit that Haunted Houses never really scare me that much. I always manage to come out unscathed, no tears, and generally laughing at those poor souls who are frightened. Also, this being a small-town college hosted event, I knew that it would not be an all-out fright fest like so many others. In other words… I was prepared.
We excitedly got in line to await our turn to go in. At this point my group is now down to 8 because the man of the house decided he was going to not go in and sit with the baby. I was okay with that! I wanted to go in and the baby, being only a year old, would have probably came out traumatized from the flashing lights.
We approached the door and I took my 5-year-old daughter’s hand in mine, looking down at her tiny upturned face.
“Are you ready to go in?” I asked her.
“Yeah!” she replied happily, jumping up and down in her growing sugar induced frenzy that takes over all children on Halloween night.
The girl standing at the door had on no costume I could tell and her face had two black streaks on her cheeks. It gave me high-hopes for the rest of what lay within. But, I set aside my prejudice of this one individual and taking a deep breath entered into the seizure-inducing foggy room that was revealed when she opened the door.
I learned quickly the lay of the land through the minimal looks I got through those flashing lights. What I could ascertain was what I had expected, half-decent costumes and college-students not really trying. My daughter would get surprised occasionally, but she’s just like her momma, she wasn’t really that scared. I was proud of her little piping voice telling these ‘creepy things’ “I see you! You don’t scare me! You’re not scary! I see you!”
It swelled my heart, reminding me of my younger self. I would do the same through the Haunted attractions my parents would take me on. I was one proud Mama.
Then I saw him.
That loathsome vile creature that has haunted me from my childhood.
Pennywise the clown.
Now, I was not ready for this. I was half-expecting a clown at some point, so, I had prepared to just ignore them easily. NOT someone who looked like they had spent a fair amount of money, a lot of time, and a great deal of effort on their costume. My heart began to beat fast, a small ripple of fear ran through my stomach, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end as I looked across that span of distance between us.
Then I made the biggest mistake ever. Three little words that I thought I had just uttered in my head reached my ears as a whisper instead.
“Oh god no….”
He heard those words and locked on like he had just been given his prime directive from Stephen King himself. He bee-lined straight to me, an evil smile on his face and I nearly screamed in my fright.
“You get away from me!” I said and holding firm to my daughter’s hand, turned away to focus on the next part. My heart that had felt like it was about to burst from my chest was just starting to calm before I made my next mistake.
I had turned and saw his face nearly an inch from mine. He had followed me across the room and had waited for me to turn around. This was my hellish torture for the next couple minutes that I was in that room, allowing my daughter to enjoy everything else.
We were done in this room. We left to go look in the next. I was relieved! I knew that they had their designated rooms and wouldn’t want to wander around a lot because of the cramped interior.
We entered into that second room and I fully relaxed. I was happy. No more Pennywise to haunt me. We were halfway through that room and I was showing my daughter a girl who was lying on the floor covered in blood. This one actually spooked my daughter and I was teasing her trying to get her to walk closer. She refused, so I took her hand again and went to turn around to find the rest of my group. I realized I had not seen them since that first room.
I felt my heart quicken again and broke out in a cool sweat as I uttered the words..
“No! No, no, no, no, go away! I don’t like you!”
Pennywise had found me again and was again right in my face not saying a word. This time he upped the ante and every time I moved, he slid his foot along the floor slowly following as close as he could not touching but putting his face in mine. I kept telling him to get away, bad idea, it only increased his torment.
I had had enough! It was time to leave and time to leave NOW!
I looked through the glass separating the rooms and like a beacon on a dark night there in four bright red letters was the word I so longed to see.
I headed for that word like my life depended on it, keeping my daughter close by.
Here I made my 3rd and most costly mistake of the night.
I turned to look for Pennywise and yelped when, again, he startled me by being where I wasn’t expecting it. In doing so, I backed away from him and put the glass in between me and my beloved EXIT sign. I went to hurry towards the opening I had been going before, only to be turned back by another group heading in.
I am not sure how but during the next few seconds of me clearing the doorway for the group entering Pennywise had seen his moment and advanced towards me. I backed away, only to realize he had effectively pinned me in a corner. I was now trapped by this horrifying demonic clown!
Oh, the torture. I can not begin to explain to you how well this person playing Pennywise made me feel that he was actually the real thing. The swaying back and forth, perfectly timed to the flashing lights. He again increased his performance moving in closer, pausing each time the light would flick on.
I could take no more and pushing past him, trying my best not to touch him, I said “Nope, goodbye! I will not be your friend!”
I got those four red letters in my sights once more and making sure I had my daughter’s hand in mine, hurried towards it. I exited the room and then the college itself, out into the growing darkness.
I saw my group up ahead on the sidewalk, waiting for us. I took a few steps towards them, before having to look one last time back.
I nearly died.
He had followed me outside and was right behind me!!!!
I did my best to compose myself and scurried away towards my group. I reached the safety of their circle, jabbering about Pennywise and him following me. I looked back at him and he was staring at me. He started towards me again and for that brief moment I thought I was not yet free. Then he turned around, going back inside and I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
I was happy when we finally continued on our way from the college. We had many more laughs and the kids reaped in their prized candy that night. I will always look back on that night and laugh at myself. I mean, who wouldn’t? It was a thrilling and wonderful experience. All in good fun! I guess I can honestly now say I was fully and 100% terrified at a haunted attraction. Well unless you count that time I did get scared when I was a kid and I stepped on a squeaky mouse in a haunted forest, but that, is another story.