Home Sweet [Haunted] Home

Above is the text my wife sent me shortly after I entered a haunted house with our kids. She heard an employee mention it moments after we walked in. Evie and Wyatt seemed so exited at the time. “Can we go to the haunted house now?” is what they’d been asking for the last 4 hours. My phone was buried in my pocket so I never saw her text, but I’m guessing it was around the same time I realized what a horrible idea this was.

The state fair in Minnesota is quite the spectacle, and by spectacle, I mean 320 acres of sheer madness. I can find out my blood type, get a Henna tattoo, win a stuffed dog I can’t physically carry while attempting to stand up a Corona bottle with a shower curtain attached to a string tied to a stick, and grab some hot dish on a stick on the way back to the shuttle bus I took from the school down the street from my house. Madness. Naturally, within all the chaos, there is a haunted house, and for some reason my kids wanted to go. As the sole horror enthusiast in my house, I was somewhat confused but mostly elated by this.

Before we walked in, I huddled with both kids and let them know that in no way did they have anything to be scared of, nothing was real. It’s just a bunch of kids in costumes trying to scare them. All was good. I grabbed 3 tickets and we made our way inside. The first scene was a coffin that opened with some other figures standing near it. Evie jumped slightly, but I let her know it wasn’t real and she was cool. As we progressed, much like one would expect, more figures appear and they got a bit more aggressive with their actions. After about 2 minutes the kids completely lost their shit. They were both producing blood-curdling screams, sounds I’d never heard from them. In my mind, I was working on the speech I would give after I received the ‘Father of the Year’ award.

It’s amazing how quickly you can get out of a haunted house. I approached the first normal looking employee (presumably a female college student, drama major) I could find within the pitch black chaos, carrying one child and holding the hand of the other, both screaming in horror (Sully and Mike Wazowski would be proud). She just waved her arms and all the monsters in our path disappeared, completely opening the walkway to the nearest exit. It was almost magical. Once outside, the kids cried for probably another 10 minutes, but just like always, mom is the cure for everything in this world.

I get it, I took 2 kids, ages 6 and 8, into a haunted house. What should I have expected? I accept and own that fully, but a heads up from one of the four haunted house employees we interacted with as we walked in would have been nice. The kids went to bed okay that night, and nobody woke up screaming as I anticipated, but I fear that this will come back to haunt me some day via their teenage years, to which I will tell them I did it on purpose. Based on the photo below though, taken shortly after the Amityville experience, I’m optimistic that we can just pretend it never happened…because that always works out in the end. Cheers!

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