Over the years my Halloween fails have been epic, and last weekend was no different.
OK, so Saturday night may not have been my finest parenting moment. My friend Erin – whose son and daughter are the same ages as my own, and who are very close with our kids – told me she’d heard about a haunted house that a family had set up in their home a couple of blocks away, and asked if we wanted to come check it out with them. It was starting up after Goldie’s bedtime, but I asked Indy if he wanted to go and obviously he was all “SPOOKY STUFF?!?! YEAH!” So once night fell, we paused Ghostbusters (which, as a sidenote, gave me a super-fun opportunity to explain to my son exactly what people are doing when they show their middle finger; thank you Ghostbusters), put on Jedi robes, and headed out.
And then what happened was that I maybe possibly traumatized my child for all eternity.
In my defense, there was NO WAY a haunted house whipped up by a family in their actual house was going to involve anything other than, I don’t know, some sheets hanging on the walls and maybe some stuffed spiders and a bowl of candy corn. There was no way it was going to be a live-action walk through with effects on par with DisneyLand and a corner in which an actual person dressed as a butcher and wearing a pig’s head stood whacking a meat cleaver into a zombie.
Except that is exactly what it was.
It was absolutely excuse-my-French-fucking TERRIFYING. And the problem when you go into one of these things is that you can’t really leave: your choices are to go back out the way you came (and my son was adamant on the point that “back there” was not a place he wanted to go), or just book it through and try to un-see everything you’re seeing. (It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, because Indy’s friend was completely un-scared and was, like, high-fiving the pig butcher, and also because all the costumed scary people accurately perceived that we were not their target audience and did their best to convey joy and harmlessness – which is a difficult thing to convey when you are a corpse bride with a noose around your neck, but they got serious points for effort.)
So okay, lesson learned: do a quick pre-scout of future Haunted Houses to decrease the probability of having experiences that may or may not cause lifelong trauma. On the plus side, Indy now knows that clowns are terrifying, which is something he was going to learn sooner or later regardless.
And now I will leave you with photos of the much more age-appropriate activity I took my children to earlier in the day (with our friends Miles and Elise and their own kids).