This Is What Happened When I Went To 3 Haunted Houses

very year I wanted to go, but it rarely ever worked out.

When I was younger, Halloween was sometimes a bummer. My friends were forever talking about going to haunted houses and corn mazes. They told stories of how awful it was, yet they survived. I just knew I was missing out. Kinda like Facebook, some days. You know what I mean.

Maybe it was never meant to be. Maybe it’s all hype.

People jumping out at you, cheesy effects, and clowns chasing you with chain saws. As great as all of that sounds…maybe it’s better to just pop in a scary movie. I know a bunch of them.

My “haunted house” experiences were not great. Although one of them still makes me chuckle.

This is what happened when I went to 3 scary houses.

1) Haunted Basement

We stood in the doorway, while the sky erupted in thunder. It was the perfect night for a scary house. Except it wasn’t.

The sky was perfectly clear. The sound of thunder came from a small cassette player as we walked beneath cobwebs from a local Dollar Store. Dressed in rags were two basement dwellers. Actually, it was my friend’s two older sisters. It helps to go to these as an impressionable young child. Then you’re already scared of the idea of a scary house.

“Hello, children…” Julie welcomed us, in her best witch voice. She then lead us through the dark laundry room. This was an unfamiliar part of their basement where we rarely played, except to maybe hit a key on their old upright piano.

I cringed as she reached up into a web, pretending to eat an insect.

And then, when I turned around, it happened. I gasped.

The other sister, Katie, grabbed Tasmanian Devil, their fat cat. He meowed as she pretended to stab his belly. Afraid for this helpless chubby animal, I heard myself yell, “No! Don’t hurt him!”

“I’m not hurting him, I’m just poking him with the handle,” she reassured me. And instantly we were transported back to reality.

The cat lover in me couldn’t even handle a cat being fake-stabbed. Was I scared? Not for myself, just for the cat.

Thinking back on it, I have to give them credit for their creativity. At least they tried.

They thought a ten and eight-year-old would just love it. They were wrong.

2) Welcome to Hell

The line of people waiting stretched down a whole block. We shivered, walking on dead, crunchy leaves in the crisp fall air. We weren’t in line for a popular movie, or a ride at a theme park. No, we were on our way to Hell. No, not the real Hell, I’m not that bad a person.

Hell House, I should say. A Christian-themed haunted house, an evangelical tool “designed to scare the devil out of you,” or at least that’s how one reporter from the Chicago Tribune described it.

People are led through seven different scenes. There was a room that symbolized abortion, another one for drunk driving and still another for the horror of rape. There was also a room for satanic human rituals. Yeah, this place had everything.

As we waited outside, a chill ran down our spines, and it wasn’t from the cold.

“What’s that sound?” we asked each other. There was moaning and groaning with echoes. And every 10 or 15 minutes, you’d hear screams of agony. And we weren’t even in the place yet.

After what felt like forever, we paid for our tickets and walked to the first room.

“Take a look at this, ’cause this is where YOU’RE going!” a man dressed as a demon yelled, pointing down to “hell” which was spread out on the floor.

Before our squinting eyes, we saw a strange miniature display, like the village from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Our leader stood up to the demon who was in her face, catching her off guard.

“Hell? I’m not going to hell!” she said, “I’m a Christian!” I was pretty sure of the dialog for the rest of the hour.

A demon growled in my face as well. And when he came by me a second time, I tried to be cool and said, “How’s it goin’?”

But you don’t make conversation with demons. Not even pretend ones. He growled again, and I turned away.

My friend was almost in tears, wanting to leave. “Already?” I thought. The demons asked if we really wanted to go through Hell House. This was our last chance to back down.

But I was still hoping to be really scared, for once in my life.

What I didn’t know was that the group had decided to not go through hell house.

I wanted to experience it. I had looked forward to this for months, and what about the long drive we just made? I definitely wanted to go through.

After walking down a long hall, we entered a new room. Something wasn’t quite right.

There was a table, and on it, refreshments. And people standing around.

And then it hit me. We were out of Hell House. Did she not understand me? I felt misunderstood. I was disappointed, but to this day, I never spoke about it. Not to a living soul.

So it turned out I never did make it to Hell.

Hell House: Bust.

3) Followed

One winter night we were driving in the middle of nowhere, while darkness seeped like ink into the snowy road ahead.

“That’s it, that’s the house,” my friend Sarah pointed out, hardly breathing between words. It was an old, empty house with boarded windows and peeled paint. And I think I saw a black cat running around the back.

“So now what do we do?” John asked, pulling slowly into the gravel driveway.

“We have to honk the horn and flash the brights,” Sarah said. Apparently her sister had done this with a friend, and afterwards, a car with one headlight followed them home. I had no idea what any of this meant…but we had to try. Our town was small, this was at least something to do.

John flashed the bright lights on the house, I began wondering if maybe there was a psychopath hiding inside. Just hoping for a few unsuspecting teenagers like the three of us.

The longer we waited, the more my skin started to crawl.

I’m not scared, I’m just cold, I told myself. But I didn’t believe it.

After a few minutes, we started pulling away. Sarah kept looking out the rear window. There were no other cars in sight. All she saw was blackness.

I knew nothing would happen. “We should’ve just rented a movie,” I thought.

About a minute later, Sarah yelled, “Oh my gosh!”

Startled, I looked in the back window and saw a vehicle with one headlight in the distance. “Is this really happening?” I wondered.

Before we knew it, we both screamed, looked at each other and screamed again. My heart beat so fast, I just wanted to get out of there.

John just kept driving.

And then it happened. The vehicle came closer. And before we knew it, it passed us.

“It’s a snow mobile,” John said, laughing.

Yes, that night we were followed…by a terrorizing snow mobile.

I’m gonna fess up here. Even though I’m now an adult, I still love Halloween. And I still wish I could go to a haunted house and get scared.

I’m sure things wouldn’t scare me as they might have, but I’d still like to try. Or maybe I should just forget it.

They don’t say 4th time is a charm…I think they just give up.

What about you?

Did you ever visit a haunted house at Halloween?

What was your experience?

Share in the comments, I’d love to hear your story!

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“Followed” before and after.