Part 6 of an 8 part series

by Philip Wallace

. Chicks Dig Haunted Houses .

I find myself thinking of the past when the fallen leaves whip across the asphalt ahead of the chilling wind. My favorite time of year is autumn and I’ve had many great experiences under the gray petri dish sky, but one of the best ever came 19 years ago. It happened during the week of Halloween between a church party and the holiday itself. I learned that if you were going to attend a haunted house, it’s best if you go with girls.

I was a college freshman living at home. I played basketball and baseball with the local kids, some of whom were in high school and some who were just kids. I was the big kahuna to them so it made sense that when the older cousins of the smallest children came to visit for a week (their high school had a fall break) they wanted them to meet me. When they told me their cousins were in high school I figured I would go over and introduce myself. We walked around their house to the front where I could hear a Night Ranger song coming from a boom box on the front porch.

My bedroom floor was littered with Black Flag, Clash, Husker Du, Minutemen, and Minor Threat albums to name just a few so I wasn’t very keen on Night Ranger. Then I saw that their two cousins were beautiful blonde girls. Night Ranger suddenly became bearable. They were both athletic so we crossed the road to play some baseball in a meadow with others in the neighborhood. It was a blast. I only regretted that it was too cold to go swimming in the river next to the field. I could tell that the older one dug me, but they were both cute (the oldest was a senior in high school and the younger sister was a sophomore).

Cute girls would become the theme of the week. I hated to part from the two girls, but I had promised another friend I would go to the party his church was throwing. It was their alternative to Halloween, even though Halloween was a few days away. I figured it would be a drag, but instead of a religious bore it was lots of fun. There were a few hymns and some prayer, but it was worth it because my friend’s church was filled with pretty high school girls. We went to the edge of the church’s property where the shadows were the deepest and we told ghost stories which made the girls scream. If the party hadn’t ended there might have been some people doing something the church would have frowned upon.

The next night I was easily talked into going to the local haunted house. It was probably a Jaycees one, but I can’t remember that much. There would be more memorable things to keep in my head. The house itself was tiny and really no more than a shack. How in the world could it be large enough for a haunted house? We got in the small line and I ended up in a strategic location. I was between the two visiting girls. I thought to myself, the haunted house might stink, but the girls smelled nice.

Soon the only thing I would smell would be fear. We climbed the steps to the rickety front porch and entered the front door. Fake cobwebs tickled the back of our necks. The house’s walls had been torn out and a maze of partitions had been installed for us to follow in pitch black darkness. The girls sandwiched me and I barely walk. We came to the first illuminated frightful scene and suddenly they were screaming in my ears. The one on front grabbed my hands and the one behind grabbed my waist. It was all because they were scared of some dude lumbering around in a Jason mask while some poor sap had to act like he had been pinned to the wall by a spear gun.

They wriggled closer to me as I chuckled in delight at how cool this trip was turning out to be. The lights went out and the music from John Carpenter’s Halloween began to play. That movie still has the power to terrify now, but I was fearless inside the haunted house. The girls got as close as they could to me. A strobe began shimmering in time to everyone’s shrieks as a butcher knife carrying Michael Myers look-alike tried to look menacing in a poorly made mask. I stuck my tongue out at him as we went by. The house was small, but it seemed to go on and on. There were witches, a kid dressed up like Dracula, and a mad scientist chopping up a body on a slab. As long as the two girls kept grabbing me I didn’t want the house to ever end.

The final room was the best. It even scared me a little. It was their Texas Chainsaw room. A very large man lunged at us with what appeared to be a very real chainsaw. The Leatherface mask he wore was perfect. There was fake blood all over the place. The girls held me so tight they left bruises. We had to bend down to exit through a fairly small tunnel and after crab walking a few yards our trip through the horrible home was over. They told me later that they hadn’t even opened their eyes after the first few rooms. The monsters had all made me laugh and the girls had given me a bunch of cheap thrills. When you’re eighteen, you’ll take any thrill you can get. A word to the wise: chicks dig haunted houses.

Part 7: Trunk or Treat

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