Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare A post mortem on Halloween 2016


Oh, shit, wait….

Yeah, for the first time in this website’s history I have failed to celebrate online on actual Halloween. Please take that as an indication of how busy I was this year.

Between the now 10 years running Halloween party and the 4 years running haunted house, I always think the following things in the days leading up to those events: “Why do I go to this much trouble?” “Will anyone care?” “Is this a ridiculous way to expend time, effort, and money?” “This has to be my last year.” And then, Halloween night happens. Haunted house goes off. And I’m suddenly thrust into a reminder that carries me straight through into the next Halloween.

This year, we had a record turnout for the haunted house (over 300), and on a Monday! As always, it was a thrill for everyone involved – a constant adrenaline rush, and utterly and completely exhausting. There were a few firsts this year. First complete nervous breakdown by an adult inside the haunted house. First group to go through six (!) times in a row. First actual pants-wetter.

I think we might have made it a little too scary… 

But overall, the vibe was pure joy. Mainly screams followed by laughter, which is the ideal response to a haunted house. And countless people saying that they look forward to this every year, which both warms my heart considerably and makes me feel trapped in this pattern forever. But I’m not going down that train of thought just now…

Haunted house crowd 2016

The only takeaway I’m focusing on at the moment is the memories that were created this year. I will never forget the cheesy garage haunts my friends and I would occasionally discover during our trick or treating careers, and to be able to become that source for a few hundred kids has a satisfying “full circle” quality. In short, it’s why I nearly break myself in half for two months every year. And knowing that what we do actually jump starts the trick or treating activity level in my neighborhood, well, if you’ll permit me to get cheesy for a moment, it feels like making a difference.

I also have the best friends in the world. A group of people whose passion and enthusiasm enables them to sweat bullets, scream themselves hoarse, and otherwise commit to hours of hard manual labor just to realize a dream, and experience a temporary thrill. They are the element that brings the whole thing to life. <end cheesiness/>

BUT! Halloween isn’t just about a haunted house. It isn’t about any one thing. Because while it may be just one day for almost everyone else, for me and those of my peculiar persuasion, Halloween is a two month long party. And while time can go by progressively more quickly each year, and September 1st can become October 31st before I’ve even had a chance to catch up, when I look back on a completed Halloween season it always feels massive. All the little parties, all the decorating, all the horror movies, all the haunted houses, and all the little moments in between where life simply reminded me that it was time to let loose and have some comically macabre fun… then, it seems impossible that so much could have even fit into two measly months. And that’s a pretty damn good feeling.

So, however you celebrated Halloween this year (and if you’re reading this site, I’m assuming you did something), I hope it brought you some measure of simple joy, if only for a small moment. And if you were one of the ones who participated in ANY of the insane bullshit I put on every September/October, thank you, sincerely. If you sweated, ached, or stressed for any of it, thank you a million times over.

I end, reluctantly but fondly, with my usual refrain:

Bonfires burning bright
Pumpkin faces in the night
I remember Halloween

See you next year!

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