Haunted Houses And Halloween: Opinion Essay

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Most Americans like spending Halloween night with friends going to haunted houses. My friends and I are no exception to this Halloween tradition. Every year we usually go to multiple haunted houses in Ames, Des Moines, and Madrid. Every year we go hitting up both new and repeat haunted houses and we always have a blast.

The first stop on the list is usually Linn’s SuperMarket. “Linn’s SuperMarket is Des Moines’ oldest haunted house which is located in the basement of an old grocery store known as Linn’s SuperMarket” (“Insider’s Guide”). “As other haunts embrace blood and gore, Linn’s continues to focus on suspense, pitch-black hallways, crawl ways, jump scares, and chainsaws” (“Insider’s Guide”).

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For this one we plan to get there about 15-30 minutes before they open due to the large amount of people that tend to go. We get in line in a dark alley and then their actors start coming out and scaring the crowd as we wait for the main opening. Once 7:00pm comes around we make our way to the entrance. As usual, we tend to fight over who has to go in first and take on the leader role. For this particular haunted house you have to take a sharp right turn and start crawling on your hands and knees. They have actors set up all through the tunnel and we are inching forward very slowly and then get scared again when the gorilla comes out and touches you and blocks the path.

Once you get pass the gorilla you can then stand up. It takes us about 20 minutes to go through the whole haunted house. During this time we enjoy people jumping out at us and scaring us. The one room that gave all of us the most anxiety and heart pounding thrill during this haunted house was the room that traps you in it. This room got to one of my friends so bad that they curled up into a ball and started crying. At this moment we all started getting more anxious because we couldn’t find our way out of it. After it was all said and done we all enjoyed it and laughed about how scared we got.

The next haunted house we visit is the Slaughterhouse. “The overall theme for the Slaughterhouse is a 19th-century hog rendering family known as the Biggs Family” (Porter). We arrived there close to 8:00pm that night. Since the line wasn’t too terribly long we decided to go and take some pictures with the props they had. Honestly, the props were a bit disturbing because they were human torsos that were ripped off the rest of the body just hanging there by chains. I can recommend that it is a good idea to make a bathroom stop before going through the haunt!

As I walked out of the bathroom, I didn’t see the actor standing behind the door. The actor jumped out with a bloody pig head on and I jumped as my stomach felt as though it dropped to my toes. While standing in line the actors walking, sliding, and running around in every direction are working hard to heighten our scare senses. All of a sudden one of the actors jumps up on an old rusty barrel right next to me and my friends while we all shriek in terror. The actor begins yelling, screaming, and getting in your face. While one actor is doing his part there is another actor that came up right behind us and slides his shovel creating sparks. This caused all of us girls to scream and move away. Once we go inside the scare level magnifies significantly.

We sat in a cart and that moved us like a roller coaster to the next destination. After we got off the cart, we went into a fenced area where they locked us in there for a few minutes before letting us out to the next area where we would continue the haunted house without getting locked in anymore. My favorite part of this haunted house is the turning tunnel with all the lights on that makes you feel like you are going to fall and spin around with it.

The last stop for our night was our local haunted house, Tormented Souls. “Tormented Souls Haunt is Madrid, Iowa’s most terrifying haunted outdoor scream park. It is located on timber ground on the edge of the ghost town of Zook Spur, an old abandoned coal mining town” (“Tormented Souls”). “Pick up the Tormented Souls Terror Bus, (if you dare) at Edgewood Park in Madrid, IA; it’s the only way to reach what lies in wait out in the middle of nowhere! So hitch a ride on this scream maker with your eyes wide open in the pitch dark” (“Tormented Souls”).

Tormented Souls haunt usually has a reasonable line due to the time the bus ride out takes which allows those waiting to go through the haunt while others ride the bus back to their vehicles and picks up the next round of haunt victims. On the bus we listen to a guy dressed in a black suit and top hat tell a story while we ride out to the haunted house. Once we get as far as the bus can go we load up onto trails for the tractors to pull and take us the rest of the way.

We get in line, purchase our tickets, and pose for pictures with Pennywise who greets you as you anxiously wait in line. The big brown wooden doors open up and you are instructed to sit down on the bench. Once everyone is seated the bench starts to vibrate and shake under you. The first time I experienced this it scared me because I wasn’t expecting it. All of a sudden the bench stops moving and the actor begins to introduce you to Old Steammy, a big metal robot, that he says needs to be taken out to the cemetery because he went through the haunted house and hopes that you don’t end up like him. Then dismisses you to begin the adventures and thrills of the Tormented Souls haunted house.

As I started walking to the door to the left of me, a guy in a white apron jumped out with the chain saw right in front of me and caused me to scream and jump back. I continue walking and turn a corner when a light in the corner turns on. When I look at the light the actor with the light kept staring at me. I turned back around there was another actor that had snuck up on me. As we continued on we came upon my least favorite spot in the haunted house, the cemetery. Unfortunately for me when I continued walking I stepped on a board that they had hidden which caused a skeleton to shoot up in the coffin. That definitely scared me because I didn’t expect it and because I’m not the fondest of cemeteries and dead people. After that the haunted house wasn’t too bad and we made our way home for the night.

When it’s all said and done I love the thrill of a good haunted house and not knowing what’s going to be around the next corner. The actors also do a great job with making their make up look like a real person. The way they are able to make the haunted houses so realistic. At the end of the day I know everything is fake and that’s what makes it so fun and able to get a good laugh about.

On the other hand I really don’t like cemeteries or dead people. When I was younger, I remember a time that my family and I were walking through a cemetery where there was a freshly covered grave. I was just walking and talking with my family when I was the one to step right on it and it felt like I sunk down in it. Since then walking through or even driving by a cemetery gives me a lot of anxiety and makes all the hairs on my body stand straight up and the same thing at funerals.

This personal narrative reflects an event in my life that has turned into a tradition during the fall time each year. I realize that this isn’t for everyone and not everyone would enjoy this but to me I enjoy the thrills and the unknowns that get your heart pounding and being able to laugh and have fun with my friends.


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