Haunted Houses

This weekend, we went to the Haunted House at Pulaski Park. Haunted houses are one of my favorite parts of the Halloween season. I’ve always loved the holiday but it wasn’t really until my fiancé and I started dating that it became a regular thing. I remember going to one in Chicago when I was a kid but I never went again aside from the Haunted Mansion at Disney. It’s still my favorite ride there.

For the past six years, we have gone to at least one Haunted House in October. We always go to local Haunted Houses, the ones within the city limits. We’ve never gone to one of those giant places outside of the city. While the ones in Chicago may be smaller and perhaps less spectacular, I like to see the heart and creativity of these smaller ones. Usually the Park District or a local school or church run them.

Anyone who knows me is aware of my abhorrence of horror films. I will not watch them unless Joss Whedon does them. But that’s the exception. So it’s a bit curious that I hunger for good scares at these haunted houses. I know that I will have to be face to face with some terrifying things. And I am definitely disappointed if I don’t have a good scream or two. Maybe that’s the difference. I can face these things head on instead of watching them passively on a screen. I don’t know.

The absolute scariest moment in all six years was a bouquet of flowers. In a haunted house run by a school in the far north side, there was a room set up as a funeral parlor. There were coffins and flowers all around. I was sure that someone was going to jump out of a coffin and scare me forever. Instead, someone jumped out at us who was dressed like one of those giant bouquets of flowers that you only find at funerals. It scared me so much! It’s my favorite moment to this day. Another great moment was when we were led into a dark room. All of a sudden, a strobe light turned on and we were surrounded by dancing, menacing clowns. So well done!

We’ve been very fond of the Park District’s haunted house in the Theater on the Lake that they’ve run for at least three or four years. Sadly, it appears that the renovation of the building has trumped the house for the year. But it was a neat experience. While you waited in line, there was a screen showing short scenes from silent horror movies with an electric swing soundtrack. Also, there were people in costumes that would meander through the line and startle you. If you revealed yourself as a jumper, they tended to return to bother you. Amazing. And in some years, you exited the facility when a man with a chain saw chased you. Sadly, I never got that opportunity. Some day I will live the dream of being chased by a chain saw wielding actor…I hope.

We went this year to Pulaski Park’s Haunted House in Noble Square. It was pretty neat. We wandered through a labyrinthine basement; the space itself was rather creepy. We were never quite sure where to go next. I loved that. There were some wonderfully creative haunts. I had a couple good screams, which is what I wanted. I believe that there will be an entire festival next Saturday that will include camel and horse rides, costume contests and more. Sounds neat. You should go.

That’s all for now!


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