Having determined by poll (my own, burrrrp) that once again, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the most popular and requested Halloween candy among children (and those who behave like children), I was forced to eat the trough of kale chips I’d purchased and turned my attention toward perusing this year’s most frightening costumes.
There was “Bigfoot” (not scary), “Zombie” (c’mon), “Zombie Walker” (OK, a little bit scary) “The Infected Zombie” (excuse me while I get up to make sure the front door is locked) and “Last Laugh the Zombie Clown” (reaching for the buckshot). I haven’t been to a Halloween party in ages including this year, but I do enjoy looking at what scares people.
And what really seems to scare people are the Haunted Houses that always pop up this time of year. Sometimes erected near a corn maze, which I’ve never seen the point of as I’m generally taller than the corn. While those on the other side might scream at the sight of what appears to be a disembodied blonde head bobbing along, I can easily peep over and say to friends, “Oh, no problem, we take the first left and then two rights and we’re out.”
But the Haunted Houses with local names such as “Booger Jim’s,” or “Nightmare Dungeon” (neither of which, by the way, offer a complimentary continental breakfast), well, that’s something else. You know the drill: You part with hard-earned cash to be chased and screamed at by blood-soaked maniacs complete with chain saws and pickaxes. A “dead” body hangs from a meat hook. A grinning ghoul sneaks up behind you and grabs your shoulders.
And this is supposed to be scary? I guess to young’uns who are as yet lacking real-life experience it is.
Which is why I’m seriously considering creating my own Halloween attraction for next year here at the Funny Farm. It will be simple enough to use our existing barn and turn the horse stalls into a series of rooms, guaranteed to terrify anyone over the age of 30. Come with me, won’t you, as I light the lantern and lead you into the first area in which there is no escape.
The Mortgage: Scream away, Skippy, you’re truly an adult now, aren’t you? Bwahahahaha. The fear, the grinding fear of realizing that disposable cash once used to purchase a new tattoo or a weekend in Myrtle Beach must now be carefully budgeted to pay the mortgage on your first home, which is on the precipice of being — wait for it — underwater. Auuughhh! No one can hear you scream, not now, not in those huge walk-in closets that you just had to have instead of a more modest starter home. Shudder!!
Your blood turns to ice as you are led to the next room.
The Snow Day: Shrrriiiieeeekkkkkk! Oh, the humanity! Your child must stay home for a minimum of two days while you desperately attempt to find last minute child care so that you can risk your life driving to work in order to make the car payment on that German SUV you just purchased. Your boss refuses to let you stay home and there is no one, I repeat, no one available to watch your 12-year-old daughter with access to Amazon.
Join me, won’t you, as we grope our way through the dark, trembling, to our third and final nightmare…
The Noncompliant Parent: Terror turns to rage as the parent of your choice, after decades of unheeding medical advice, is now home recuperating after a quintuple bypass and still refuses to take care of themselves. The load is all on you as you fill up their pill box and scrub Domino’s Pizza from their phone contacts. Even worse, there is your no account, enabling sibling sitting smugly in a dark corner, swigging beer and making no effort to unburden your load as you spend every waking hour searching for and confiscating pork rinds and Marlboro Lights. Oh, you’ve tried, you’ve really tried, but the stress has lost that hard-fought-for promotion and your marriage is in shreds.
So go ahead, Booger Jim’s. Give it your best shot, Wompus Woods. Launch every infected zombie and knife-wielding clown you’ve got at my generation. We’ve seen the worst you’ve got and drop kicked it out of the yard. We’ve lost our health insurance, yet held onto our homes during the great recession. We’ve kept our vehicles on the road another 3 years to be able to pay our kids’ college fees and worried over those deployed to Iraq. We’ve put our lives on hold to look after everyone else. And we can’t believe it’s been 43 freaking years since Boston released their debut album. Now, that’s scary.
We are titanium, baby.