Thursday, October 31, 2013

My List of Ten Halloween Scares

I had another post planned, but I doubt I could finish it before the night is out, so I thought I would just through together a handy-dandy list instead.  People love lists!

So, without further ado, my list of scary things related (sometimes marginally) to Halloween...

1.  Scariest Movie.  Oh boy, that's hard to narrow down.  I'm a highly susceptible person who gets spooked very easily.  I was one of the kids who was freaked out by Return to Oz.  Large Marge in Pee Wee's Big Adventure scared the fuck out of me.  Even Ghostbusters left me afraid to close my eyes.  So to this day, I have watched very few horror movies... yet somehow I really like reading synopses of horror movies.  Don't ask me why.  The Exorcist scared the crap out of me when I saw it, not because of pea soup head-spinning girl, but because of those random flashes of the devil (or whatever that was).  I could not stop thinking about them.  But I would say that the scariest movie I saw was the original The Omen.  It compelled me to leave the lights on for a week, even as I recognized how profoundly stupid it was.  For instance, I doubt even then, air travelers were permitted to sit with a bag of ceremonial knives in their lap.  But music can add so much to the atmosphere, and somehow the creepy chamber music just got inside my head.   
Not sure whether she's scarier before... or after.

2.  Scariest Television Show.  I remember thinking that watching The X-Files was like watching a light horror movie every week.  In some cases, it was actually scarier.  I can't really think of anything I've watched since that consistently delivered the scares.  For the most part, the things that tend to get under my skin are television scenarios that are all too real -- break-ins, rapes, murder, that sort of thing.

3.  Scariest Haunted House.  Ever tried the Great America Halloween Haunt?  The Great America theme park in Santa Clara gets made over into a nightmarish landscape populated by goblins, demons, and other baddies.  It features several attractions, including a haunted cornfield and a graveyard where you are chased by werewolves.  The attraction I found scariest was a haunted house containing an axe-wielding murderer.  You had to move through a narrow passageway where your vision was limited, while baddies roared, screamed, touched, and otherwise threatened you.  Yet I suspect that this attraction had nothing on the Nightmares Fear Factory in Canada.

4.  Scariest Costume.  One year I went to a law school Halloween party dressed up as a student loan debt collector.  Certainly scared the other guests!

5.  Scariest Candy.  Well there was that time I found all those razor blades in... but overall, I'd have to say anything with fruit.  Raisins.  Brrr.

Was there ever any truth to those stories about
razor blades in candy?
6.  Scariest Location.  Lordy, any dark street where no one else is walking about.  But otherwise, one place that really spooked me was the Blair Street Underground Vaults of Edinburgh.  I took a ghost tour back when I was in college, and it was just some bare rooms underground, but again, the mere suggestion by the tour guide had me constantly feeling the breath and prickles of "angry" ghosts.  That night in my Edinburgh hotel, I slept with the covers over my head.

7.  Scariest Situation.  Having to pass out candy to kids on Halloween.  The horror...

8.  Scariest Dream.  To the extent that I can remember my dreams, I would say any that involve me running from a stalker.  There was one dream where I shared an apartment with a friend I hadn't even seen in 10 years, and in the dream, I woke up to find a tall man in shadow standing at the foot of my bed staring down at me.  I woke up immediately after that, but had trouble falling back to sleep because it felt so real.

9.  Scariest Pumpkin.  A smashed one.  Damn things are so hard to clean.

10.  Scariest Person.  Anyone who wants money from me...

Happy Halloween!  'Til next year! 

The above images are either free to use, or are covered by the Fair Use Doctrine.   

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