The title of this blog post may lead some to believe I have taken up exercising. This assumption would be incorrect. I never run anywhere- especially on purpose. The shoes were part of my preparation for weekend activities. Jon and I attended Haunted Palouse on Saturday. This is a pretty big deal in our region. Every year the town of Palouse (about 15-20 minutes from Moscow, ID) put on haunted houses and haunted hay rides. The whole community gets together to donate their time and talents. I have heard rumors of how scary it is for years- that is why I have never attended. I am a total wimp.

One of my co-workers was volunteering to be an autopsy patient in one of the haunted houses this year and was really excited about having some of us come out and see how scary he can be. (Normally he is a very laid-back person.) I almost didn't go- the anticipation was so intense, it was just about too much for me. I had finally decided to skip it when I received a text message from this co-worker saying how excited he was to have me come and how much it meant to him to have us support him. There was no way to get out of it now, so Jon and I took another couple with us- just to be clear, going with other people was as much about having a good time with friends as it was about having more people to buffer me from the violence.

I did several things to prepare:

  • Took a long swig of eggnog (yes, they do have it in the stores already and no, it did not have alcohol)
  • I found clothes to wear that were both warm and long-sleeved (so no ghouls could touch my skin)
  • I thought of all the movies that scare me and imagined the characters naked (this was a bad idea- Jack Nicholson and that creepy guy who plays Malachi in 1983 Children of the Corn do not look good nude)
  • I ate a lot of chocolate (I figured if it made you feel better after a run in with Dementors, than it should do the same for creepy clowns and zombies)
  • I grabbed some paperbags (for hyperventilating)
  • I laced up my running shoes (so I could move quickly away from the scaryness) 
None of these things really did much for me. As we stood in the foggy night, rain drizzling down our backs and screams coming from the building beyond I began to lose my cool. My stomach clenched, and I was sure I would lose my eggnog. I began to sweat- the warm clothes starting to feel like a bad idea. While I was busy freaking out, the line got shorter and then we were there at the entrance being pushed into the pitch black.

My co-worker squirting us with "blood", which went straight in my mouth.

I was scared out of my mind. I screamed, I closed my eyes, I pushed myself into Jon to try to get smaller and I tried to run, but there were too many people in front of me. Then, just when I thought it was over and we had stepped outside, the guide led us back in through another door, and we had to endure even more.

When it was all over we stood in another long line to be scared again at a different haunted house. I am pretty sure I don't ever want to do that again. If I do, I will have to start preparing a lot earlier, and with more intensity. It's two days later and my body still aches from clenching every muscle I have.

Happy Halloween!