On Terrorizing Children

Killer on the loose!
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

I never realized scaring kids can be both so difficult and so much fun at the same time.

The Academy of Okinawan Karate put on their annual haunted house last night, and as one of their students I volunteered to help out this year. They supplied me with an orange jumpsuit, toy chainsaw, and face paint and stashed me in a dead-end hallway. Visitors fleeing from another scare would be directed down my hallway by their guide, at which point I jumped out with my chainsaw and barking out some insane laughter.

I was about halfway through the haunted house, and there were a couple cases where some kid was already screaming and crying before they got to me. I thought “Hmm, maybe I should tone it down for this one.” Then, a moment later: “Nah.” I gave ’em full power and watched ’em jump and scream. I felt like a dick afterward, but it was totally worth it.

It’s also good to see that I’m not the only parent who relishes their own kids’ fear. There were a few parents coming through with screaming, crying children, and they were laughing as much as I was when I took my kids through last year. The instructors warn parents that it’s scary, yet we had more little kids than adults or teenagers.

Not that it stopped teenagers or adults being from scared. I got good screams out of a group of girls, and at least one woman had to be pushed from section to section by her friends.

It was hard work, too. The groups were close enough together that I didn’t have time to chat with the other monsters much, but far enough apart that I had to do a lot of waiting. I stood in the dark (not counting a strobe light nearby) the whole time. The jumpsuit was kind of warm, and the makeup started to itch after a while. Someone brought cookies through for the monsters, but somehow I missed out on the water. In short, it gave me a new appreciation for what people go through to put on a good haunted house every year.

All worth it, though. Next year I just need to find a bigger chainsaw.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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  1. Noah L says:

    Haha, excellent. They had the toy chainsaw again, though? My first year, Chris Lee brought in his circular saw with the blade taken off, and that instilled fear more than the chainsaw! You’ll need to convince him to bring it back for next year. Good to hear you enjoyed being terrifying, though. I know Jake Culbertson was involved, too–I told him he had to take my place in the Haunted House this year :P–but I’m not sure what it was that he did.

  2. Mike says:

    Yep, just the toy. You could hardly even hear it over the rest of the noise.

    If I’m thinking of the right Jake, he was the mad scientist and he tortured Carie Goewey. They were right next to me all night.

  3. Noah L says:

    Ah, yes! He was indeed the mad scientist. I’m sure Carie enjoyed being the screaming subject all night, too.