Halloween Town: Dark Scares Haunted Attraction

Saturday, we had a Halloween extravaganza at my house. I made pumpkin chili. (It was delicious.) We had a huge spread of food, including—but not limited to—horseradish cheddar cheese and crackers, homemade guacamole with orange, fresh vegetables, and Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn. Did I mention the pumpkin beer? Because we had lots of pumpkin beer, too.

We also had ambience. All the little purple, green, and orange lights in the apartment were bright and shining. I closed the plantation shutters so we could pretend for one afternoon that we lived someplace spooky, where it might just rain and storm. The wicked little critter on the coffee table that laughs when you touch him joined in the conversation, and we watched horror movies: Trick-or-Treat, followed by Halloween, followed by Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog (okay, that last one wasn’t a horror movie, but it was entertaining). And of course I chased Ripley around the living room in my witch hat.

All of this Halloween decadence was followed by a trip to the Dark Scares Haunted Attraction in Mesa. Now, the longer I live in Phoenix, the more I learn about Arizona. For instance, who knew a 10,000-square-foot haunted house could fit in a shopping center? In Ohio and Charleston, I was accustomed to haunted houses in big old mansions or—even worse—in pitch black cornfields. This AZ dastardly house of horrors was literally in the middle of a classic car show. The only reason we found it was because of a strobe light on top of the entrance. But don’t let the entrance detract from the creep factor …

Oh, no, while waiting outside, a kid dressed like a corpse sneaks around and stands right behind you until you notice and JUMP! Or possibly scream. I prefer screaming. And you can hear plenty of screaming from inside Dark Scares as you wait in line.

So the Dark Scares Haunted Attraction is composed of two haunted houses: House 666 on the Lane and Le Carnaval des Non Morts (translation: “No Carnival of Souls”). Yeah, you heard right: a carnival. As if clowns aren’t scary enough in sunlight … As a participant, you get to run through both the houses—and I do mean run. First off, they separate big groups. You can either go in as a group of two or three. Our gang of Halloween revelers was six, so we split down the middle and set foot inside.

When I was younger, my girlfriends always made me go first into the haunted houses. I don’t know why. It doesn’t make much sense, honestly. Going first means you probably won’t get scared. They always go after person number two or the dreaded last person in line. If you go last, you’re practically guaranteed to have a ghost hanging from your ankle at some point, which is basically what happened Saturday night. My gal pal Tiffany and I were paired up with my brave Jake, who kept us safe … when he wasn’t laughing at our terror.

Although both sides were excellent, the carnival was my personal favorite. Not only do you have a chance to get lost (and I mean LOST) in a maze, but there’s a spinning room you have to walk through and a terrifying cannibal zombie that would NOT let up. Our group’s most quoted line of the night came from House 666: “Did you wash your hands? … DID YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?” I didn’t stay to see how that conversation ended. I was too busy screaming my face off and running for the door.

I was amped after our trip to Mesa’s Dark Scares Haunted Attraction. Being scared is a big part of Halloween. It’s one of my favorite parts, as evidenced by the way our house currently resembles a crypt and the stack of horror movies on the TV stand. Already, it’s October 26th. You don’t have much time left to scare up a good time yourself. The weekend rapidly approaches. So ask yourself: 1) Do I have my costume? 2) Do I have a plan for Saturday? 3) Where’s the closest cemetery for a midnight walk?

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