For the life of me, I will never understand the joy that comes from haunted houses.
Some call it overdramatic, but I see nothing absurd with thinking that if someone were trying to kill me, a haunted house would be the perfect place to do it. The worst part would be the pointing and laughing and fake screaming as I faced my imminent bloody death.
OK, that is overdramatic. I guess the worst would be the actual dying part.
It's not as though I haven't tried to see the fun in it. Friends have coaxed me with the manipulative "you need to face your fears" line, and I've hesitantly taken the leap. I've tried entering many, only to turn around and bolt right out upon being grabbed by a bony hand in the dark. A couple of times I've run out the emergency exit while being chased by a masked executioner with a chainsaw. Once, I succeeded in making it all the way to the actual exit. This was not an easy task, and I accomplished it only by walking backwards with my ears covered while I smothered my face in the chest of a dear friend.
There was one particular instance when I screamed, took off from the rest of the group and ran until I made it safely to sunshine and the world of the living again. As I sat there rocking with a sweaty, tear-stained face, attempting to catch my breath, a woman emerged from the exit with her son.
"Thanks for scaring the hell out of my kid," she scolded me.
Really, lady? Did I look like I was having fun?
Why is fear such a bad thing? I believe a little bit of fear can keep people respectful, humble and, most of all, safe. What will I have conquered knowing I can make it through a haunted house? I know the mummies aren't real. I realize the Michael Myers is a look-alike. And I know the "patients who escaped from the insane asylum" are really just struggling actors ... though one could argue there is a fine line.
I don't need to prove anything to myself or anyone else by overcoming this fear.
The thing is, there are many other goals I hope to accomplish in life that don't involve risk and displeasure. As Halloween season approaches, I implore all those who consider themselves my friend to please stop trying to convince me that they will be the one to help me discover my inner love for haunted houses and all things scary. I'm perfectly capable of carrying on a fulfilling and happy life without addressing this issue, so please stop trying to stage an intervention. The same goes for heights and snakes.
My sister Bridget hates flying and bugs, and she once peed herself in class while having to give a speech instructing others on the art of tie-dying. I conk out the minute I'm on a plane, will gladly rescue a spider without squealing and once pursued acting and stand-up comedy for a living. We all have our thing(s). I see no reason why Bridget needs to face these fears head-on any more than I need to enter one more Godforsaken haunted house.
I also fear being buried alive, getting left in outer space and being falsely accused of a crime I didn't commit and landing a hefty life sentence in a Thai prison. Shall I face those fears head-on too?
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself? I'm gonna go ahead and add haunted houses to that list. And serial killers. And meteors. And clowns that live in sewers ...
Katie Killacky is a RedEye special contributor.
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