October 2018 Column Winner

Haunted barn experience is too much
Patti Marshall, Countywide & Sun

As a child, I loved dressing up as a ballerina in a pink tutu or a swirly-skirted gypsy and walking my GI Joe brothers door-to-door on Halloween for sugar-fortified treats. By the end of the evening our sacks were full of candy as were our bellies. Halloween was difficult for me because I never liked scary things. No scary movies, no jumping out from behind a door to scare me and no dressing in scary costumes.
Nowadays, I am frightened when pasty-faced little ghouls appear at my door holding out their trick-or-treat bags and threatening me with a stun gun. Now that I think about it, that was in August not October … and they took the television and DVD player as their treats. How odd.
Last year for Halloween, the Better Half took me to a haunted barn. I went willingly, but assumed it would be a farcical childish experience put on by a local farmer who had nothing better to do after the fields were plowed under for the winter. BIG mistake!
Please allow me to point out that on a moonless night, a field of felled corn stalks is dark. Really dark! Owls hooted. Coyotes howled. Things rustled. I was scared, and that was before we entered the haunted barn.
I held onto Better Half’s belt loop at the back of his jeans as we shuffled single file into a forbidding and sinister-looking building. Darker than dark, I trusted him as we turned left, then right. We turned left again and came upon two glowing red eyes peering out from the darkness.
It growled. I screamed. My Better Half stumbled backwards. The belt loop broke and we were separated. Did I mention how much I dislike scary stuff?
The eyes disappeared and something glowing ghoulishly green slowly came out of the dark and reached out. I closed my eyes and screamed again, only this time my natural inclination toward self-preservation had me swinging my fists at that something ghoulish. I connected. It went down with a grunt.
It was too dark to know which way to run so I just stood there screaming bloody murder.
Something grabbed my ankle. I couldn’t move except for the violent tremors wracking my body.
“Stop screaming and help me up,” somebody yelled.
“It’s got me!” I screeched. “God help me! Michael Meyers has me!”
Something grabbed my other ankle and I fell, curling up in a fetal position and hoping whatever was about to happen would be swift.
“You idiot, it’s me!” The Better Half bellowed in my ear.
I grabbed for him and wailed, “We’re gonna die!”
The room suddenly lit up, blinding me in the brightness. I blinked trying to clear my vision enough to fend off the killer. After a few seconds, I could see a half dozen children, and their parents, gawking at us as my Better Half and I flailed around on the dirt floor. Quickly, my brain searched for a way to bring dignity to the situation, an impossible task from anyone else’s perspective, yet, I gave it a try.
“Are you scared yet?” I quipped to the crowd as the Better Half stood, grasped my arm and pulled me to my feet. “Wasn’t that a great show?”
The farmer asked us to leave. His ten-year-old daughter led us out of the murky obscurity, a long-handled knife drenched in blood sticking out of her back. Laughter followed us.
On the drive home, I told the Better Half that my fertile imagination was to blame. He pointed to his rapidly bruising chin and asked why my imagination couldn’t be less painful.
At home, we iced his chin and watched a movie.
Nothing scary, just an old comedy that made us laugh as we ate the popcorn balls meant for the trick-or-treaters whom we purposely ignored. We took our chances with tricks instead of all of the scary things that go bump in the night. Happy Halloween. BOO!

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