Brian really likes Halloween. He like, loves it.
I don’t want to say I hate Halloween, but… no, that would be accurate, I kind of hate Halloween. I do like cool costumes. That’s about it.
I don’t like scary things, I don’t like to be scared, I don’t watch scary movies. I am absolutely afraid of the dark. I get it, there’s a thrill to all of it, but for a person with bad anxiety, it’s just not good for my overall mental well-being.
But like I said, Brian loves it, and because he loves it, he wants to do all the scary things we could possibly do. Totally. I’m all in. Why? I think it’s cute how much he loves it and how excited he gets. Also, he can protect me. Also, these are actually really fun date nights. And we’re super fun.
So the first one we go to is Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. We try to get a big group to go, but it ends up just being the two of us. On the way there, I let him know, I really was hoping a big group would come. Not just because it would be more fun to have a big group, but then maybe I wouldn’t be attached to your side the whole time. But, since it IS just you and me, I will for sure be attached to your side the whole time. He laughs. I don’t think he yet understands just how much of a scaredy cat I really am.
So we’re waiting in line, and I keep trying to take big deep breaths to calm myself down. There is incredibly loud, scary, heavy metal type music playing right at the entryway. I hear people screaming.
Oh God. I’m not ready.
As soon as we walk through, I grab Brian’s hand and I pretty much don’t let go for the next six hours. He laughs at me. “Just don’t look scared. If you don’t look scared, they won’t bother you.” I know the rules! I know I’m not supposed to look scared. But I am scared! It’s hard to pretend I’m not!
I try not to make eye contact with the scary guys who are coming at us with chainsaws. Very loud chainsaws. If I don’t make eye contact, they might not notice me, and also if I don’t make eye contact, I won’t have to look into their terrifying, dark, menacing souls (yea, I know, they’re actors. I’m an actor. I shouldn’t be scared).
We make it through and I see GIANTS. These guys are the scariest of them all. They’re enormous and thin in brown clothes, walking on some kind of stilts or something. A little further away, I watch one as it somehow drops suddenly down to eye level with a person walking by and scares the shit out of them. Scares the shit out of me. How did it do that?!! I don’t like it. They’re too big and too scary. I try so hard to look like it doesn’t phase me. I just squeeze Brian’s hand tighter.
We’re walking with the masses. Everyone seems to be going to the main attraction – The Halloween maze. You know, Michael. Cool. Brian stops and looks to the left. It looks like it’s just a little street. A huge banner above it says, “Dark Christmas.”
Brian suggests we go this way.
Absolutely not, I do not approve this message! But we are walking. We are walking right into Dark Christmas. As we near it, smoke bursts out at us and clouds our vision. I do not like this. Not one bit. And I’m realizing, there are no other people around. It’s like it’s just me and Brian, so it doesn’t matter how cool I look. These guys are going to come after me.
Through the white smoke I start to see them. Little, horrific, terrifying, elves. Their faces are awful. And the way their walking towards us so slowly is making my heart pound a mile a minute. I’m pretty sure Brian is smiling. This is awful.
Then appears a tall, thin, super scary Santa type guy. Unfortunately, I do make eye contact with him. I didn’t mean to!! He’s so scary and real. And now he knows how scared I am. I keep trying to move faster but Brian will not let me. He actually stops as this Santa and another creepy guy are slowly closing in. And Brian actually says, “Get her.” And I scream and I hate him so much, because they totally listen to him and won’t leave me alone. I do that thing where I just close my eyes really tight and hold on to the thought that they can’t touch me. I’m laughing and I’m screaming, and we’re walking and we finally make it through.
This little Dark Christmas street ends up being my scariest encounter of the night. Scarier than any maze or ride we go on. Shame on anyone who decided it was OK to make Christmas scary.
Next we go on this ride called “The Purge.” Based on the movie. I know nothing about the movie, so I ask Brian. He explains to me how they’ve cut out crime in the world, so there is zero crime. Except for one day, when anyone can do whatever they want.
I have many questions. So everyone just starts killing people? “Well not everyone, there’s like a group.” Why are they killing people? Just because? “I don’t know.” How is there no crime at all leading up to it? Like how do they keep people from committing crimes? “I don’t know Lindsay, it’s just understood. That’s how they set up the movie.” Right. Totally. I get it. And I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. But I want to know more. Brian goes a little more in-depth about how the movie starts and how the little boy lets the man into his house. But he didn’t know! He was too young to understand!
See this is what happens. I take this stuff way too seriously. Like it COULD really happen. This whole conversation takes place on a tram that is taking us further and further away into woods and darkness. They play a video that I really don’t like. Preparing us for what we are about to face. When the tram stops, the lady on the screen says something about hoping we all die. And now they’re letting us off the tram.
I am so scared.
I wish I could have been like Brian and appreciated the incredible sets that were built as we walked through. It WAS really cool to see Bates Motel. But I was more concerned with the people jumping out at me.
After this we go through the Walking Dead maze. It’s hard to express in writing how scary it all is. Thankfully, after this maze, we go on the Transformers ride. Finally, a break from the scary. I’m grateful, and it’s a super fun ride. The rest of the time, we go through all the horror stuff. I’d like to say I’m used to it by now, but it doesn’t matter. I’m still screaming and jumping and holding on to Brian’s hand for dear life.
I have SO much fun. I really do. I just can’t breathe.
The following week, we do the Haunted Hayride at Griffith Park. This time Nina and our other friend, Ashley, join us. Nina loves this shit but Ashley is scared. Like me. I’m so happy I’m not the only scared one in the group. Also, this one is not nearly as scary as Universal was, so I’m feeling pretty good about it.
The Hayride is so cool. I realize afterwards that I don’t think I’ve ever really been on a legit haunted hayride. (Once with Kelly when I was a kid but I’m sure it wasn’t that scary.)
After that we go through a maze and it is SO incredibly cheesy. But this one guy makes Ashley scream and freaks her out so much that he follows her through the whole thing. And I end up getting scared and screaming a lot, too. Now it’s like, when I scream, I’m immediately like, God, how am I still getting scared??
The second maze we go through is the only time I think Brian ever gets scared. Right at the beginning, we’re with a small group, and some witch lady hands off this light to one of the girls in our group. She is now “the keeper of the light” so she has to lead the way. We start to go through and it gets really dark and we’re all screaming and this girl decides that she DOES NOT want to be the keeper of the light. Because she doesn’t want to go first. Duh. I don’t blame her. So she hands the light to Brian. Which is fine, except I’m not letting go of his hand, so now I’m at the front with him.
We reach a final room and a scary person takes the light away from Brian and tells us we have to go through the rest of the maze in the dark. Are you fucking kidding me? She opens a door and it’s pitch black. And Brian has to lead the way. It’s the first time I see him hesitate. I think he actually says, “This is messed up.”
We make it through alive.
The final maze is the only maze where you can actually get lost. We do, of course. And there is a strobe light going and it’s crazy and there are freaking clowns everywhere. Finally, when we’re close to reaching an exit, we have to wait because it’s jammed up with people. We can hear a clown yelling at us all to get out. He’s just around the corner. I know he’s there, but when I come around the corner, I STILL scream so loud. The clown stops and breaks character and says, “I didn’t even have to do anything.” And Brian, Ashley, and Nina are all laughing at me. I mean really, I was screaming at dark corners in this maze. It didn’t matter if there was anything there or not.
Tomorrow night we’re going down to Long Beach, to Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. With two scary nights under my belt, I think I can handle a third. I’m just not sure if Brian’s hand can.