Tag Archive for haunted house

Photo Friday Catchup: Haunted

My karate dojo had its annual haunted house over the weekend, and once again we had a great time putting a scare into people. We warn parents that it may be a little intense for the younger children, but inevitably we’ll get some folks taking four- and five-year-old kids through.

Good times.

Right off the bat, we try to show them that we’re not playing around:

Babies

What you don’t see is the truly terrifying “Big Baby”

For such a small haunted house, it strikes a good balance between gruesome scenery and jump-out-at-you thrills. Some of it is very effective, too, getting screams even out of adults who walk through the first half without much jumping.

Of course, then there are the kids screaming “I want out of here!” less than halfway through. Those are our favorite.

My eldest doesn’t go through. His first time through a few years back was enough. Now his imagination makes it much bigger and scarier than it really is. Meanwhile, my middle child walks through unfazed. He loves it. When he gets to my spot, he watches my schtick, then says “hi, Dad,” and moves on.

I’ll have to see about getting my eldest on the inside next year. He’d have a blast with it.

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.

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.

They Can't Kill Halloween

I’ve been bummed for the last couple of weeks leading up to Halloween. While I’m not a big holiday guy, I think Halloween is the last truly fun holiday left. Plus I’m a horror writer, so I’m kinda obligated. It may be watered down some and I’m still disappointed more kids don’t dress up as something scary, but they get to get out there, collect a buttload of candy, and generally have a good time.

This year, however, I found out why our school doesn’t celebrate Halloween. I live in a fairly religious community, and a very vocal minority played up the Satanic connotations of Halloween and got it squashed. Our students can pray around a flagpole out front, but God forbid they go the opposite direction and put on a costume. Halloween became the Fall Festival, and the closest it came to anything horror were the spiders the kids built in the Midget’s kindergarten class and the spider he got painted on his face at the festival itself (most kids chose flowers and flags — I wonder if the art teacher would even know who Cthulhu is?).

There was a dress-up theme all week, with each day carrying a different theme. But the themes were simple, like Spirit Day where they wear the school colors, or Sports Day where they wear team uniforms or clothing. Today was dress-up day, and they dressed up as what they want to be when they grow up. The Midget happily wore his gi and said he wanted to be “a karate guy,” but not one theme was remotely Halloween related. They tied in an anti-drug theme, which is certainly respectable, but still not as much fun.

I had a brief respite on Saturday when I discovered our karate school did it up right. The kids all showed up at the main dojo wearing costumes, and a lot of them were horrific. Sure, there were pirates and princesses, but there were also zombies, witches, undead soldiers, Draculas, and monsters. The staff converted their aerobic kickboxing school in the storefront next door to a haunted house, and it kicked all form of ass. So much ass, in fact, that I’ll be blogging about it later.

Then it was back to school on Monday, and Ho-Hum Halloween. I looked forward to taking the boys trick-or-treating tonight, but I didn’t expect much.

To my surprise, it really was a great Halloween. We walked down an out-of-the-way street and discovered two houses all dressed up in actual Halloween gear (as opposed to a giant inflatable pirate Spongebob), one of which the Midget was afraid to approach because of the mechanical ghost on the porch. A couple houses gave out candy shaped and packaged like toes, ears and eyeballs, and there people dishing out the candy from cauldrons and pumpkins.

It was especially refreshing to see kids dressed in scary costumes after the bland dress-up week. I saw a killer werewolf costume, a kid dressed as the reaper with giant red LED eyes, kids wearing skulls and demon masks, kids with scythes and axes and swords, and a dude who looked like a psycho in a Krusty mask. I even heard several people complimenting the scary costumes, and acting appropriately scared when one of them shouted “boo!” or waved some implement of destruction in a threatening manner.

Halloween was suddenly fun again, and after an hour and a half walking door-to-door, the boys’ treat bags were filled to the brim. We did find that one house that’s in every neighborhood, the one that gives out healthy treats like raisins, but I was in such a good mood I didn’t bother throwing that little red Sun-Maid box back at the old lady behind the door. Nope. Nothing was ruining this Halloween rush.

So bitch all you want, ya commies. You can’t kill Halloween!

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.