austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Oh, it's perfectly fine if you make the right sign

The night before Halloween bunny_hugger and I went out to a haunted house. A friend we haven't seen in a couple months (one of hers from grad school, who'd been in pinball league but had to skip this season as he's too busy) called to suggest we do one in the area, and we were glad to catch him again. Sadly the haunted hayride place we went to last year didn't open this year, claiming somehow the rising expenses, which we take to mean they couldn't get insurance. But there was one we didn't know about pretty near the county fairgrounds, on a farm that normally does educational programs.

The first attraction we took was the haunted house tour, which went through a collection of outbuildings connected by plywood walls; it started out as a boarding house, then progressed through a small movie theater (with people seated at odd angles, some watching us; I think they were all mannequins but by that moment we were ready for any of them to be performers) and a morgue and mortuary and so on. The hostess in the first room asked our names, and they passed that on to performers, who for the first half of the tour would wail from behind walls pleas for me, specifically, to help them. This is a surprisingly creepy effect; it also made me feel like I had some moral liability to act and at one point I did ask, ``help how'', though not well enough to get an answer. I'm curious if they had anything planned out for people who stepped into character so. Our friend, who was trailing, told us they also had someone following him a few steps behind so he had the suspense of a shadowy figure on his heels.

We also took a haunted hayride, although there wasn't actual hay, just seats affixed to a trailer bed that I hope was more secure than it looked. We had a trailer with a bunch of what I took to be college students, the guys of whom were flamboyantly nonchalant about it. The ride had a number of good stunts, including a dangling two-foot spider prop that looked like it was just there for, yeah, fun show; then it dropped several feet and bounced between the seats. They also had a guy throwing a barrel at the truck; it bounced off a wire mesh but that doesn't register on your flinching reflexes, after all. They had a number of nice little areas (including a ``Gremlin Town'' that, yes, included one of the cars as a prop) and a lot of practice with stunts that involve throwing things at the audience.

Afterwards we went back to our house and chatted for an hour or so, until he had to go and we were wilting a bit; it'd been a long week.

Trivia: In 1915, Le Monde estimated there were 350,000 places one could buy coffee in Paris. Source: The Essence Of Style: How The French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour, Joan DeJean.

Currently Reading: Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants, John D Clark.


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