Nightmare On My Street.

I take Halloween seriously. That’s why I went to a professional haunted house on the night of a full moon. Also my wife drove because it was a pretty good distance, in Madison, Tennessee, which is north of Nashville and she was concerned I’d get lost and end up in Madison, Wisconsin, which is entirely possible. She also waited in the car with a stack of books and her knitting because haunted houses aren’t really her thing. Her reasons for marrying a guy with a fairly dark and twisted imagination whose favorite holiday is Halloween may have something to do with the saying that opposites attract, but that’s another story.

nightmare1When I was a kid I loved haunted houses, although the only ones I knew were amateur productions put on by Boy Scout troops and church youth groups. My first acting gig was for one. My parents recorded about ten minutes of me screaming “Help me! Help me!” The tape player was then put on top of a refrigerator to give people the idea that there was a small child trapped inside. The scariest thing about that might be that parents would record the mock-suffocation of one of their own, but I really got into it and still smile whenever I see an old refrigerator.

In my adolescence I’d also be a live performer in amateur haunted houses, one year as a demonic spider creature in a web-filled lair, the next year as a mad scientist in a room full of beakers, test tubes, and approximately five tons of dry ice. I didn’t care that it was a lot of work and lost money, but I was the only one. My church youth group never put on another haunted house.

nightmare7Professional haunted houses have been around for a while in various locations–Nashville Nightmare has been putting on exhibits for six years now–and I’ve always been intrigued but this was my first time to go to one. I had no idea what to expect. Well, from my amateur days I did expect that I’d be part of a group that would walk through a series of rooms with horrific scenes and the occasional costumed character who’d jump out at me. And I was right, but there was so much more. There was a maze built out of hanging sheets where an evil clown jumped out at people trying to find their way out. There were costumed characters wandering around. There were small children although no refrigerators. There was a gift shop.

nightmare2 nightmare3 nightmare4 nightmare5 nightmare6The whole thing was glorious sensory overload for any Halloween fan.

I went through all four exhibits—starting with Horror High where I was joined by a guy and his young son. The guy was a haunted house veteran. It was his son’s first time. We got separated in the dark tunnels of Industrial Undead, but they seemed to be having fun.

Next was Night Terrors–the most traditional of the group–and of course I saved Fairy Tale Hell, the very best, for last.

As I meandered through a bloody Snow White asked me, “Do you have an apple for the queen? No? Then perhaps your heart.”

It was tempting but my heart belongs to another, back in the car. And I think the queen and I share too much to be a good match. You know the old saying: opposites attract.

Although it’s nice to have friends who also take Halloween seriously.

nightmare8

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Gilly Maddison

    Oh wow! Are these places just for Halloween or are they open all year? I think the UK is starting to have places like this but they used to just be at fun fairs. I’m with your wife on this one! I would DEFINITELY be in the car knitting!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      These places are just for Halloween. My wife and I were discussing that too. I’m not sure how they always manage to find a space for their large and pretty elaborate set-ups. Sometimes there are things like this at fun fairs (although here they’re mostly state fairs) too, although those have more of an emphasis on rides.
      This really was like a Halloween-themed fun fair with the maze and vendors and characters walking around.

      Reply
  2. Mila

    Yasss, man. You are definitely into dark. Although I love Halloween, not a fan of being scared. Since I then have to sleep with the lights on. I have a certain level of tolerance, and thrill, your pictures look like a lot of fun.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The whole thing was a lot of fun. I have a love-hate relationship with being scared. I can take a certain amount, especially if I know I’m not in any real danger, but in one of the haunted houses they had some long passageways that were completely dark and I heard the sounds of chainsaws running. I managed to push on through even though that had me very close to collapsing into a gibbering puddle of nerves.

      Reply
  3. BarbaraM

    You have one angel of a wife!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      She really is wonderful. And she thinks I make her sound boring but she’s really a fun person.

      Reply
  4. mydangblog

    Love the pictures! I can’t say I’m a fan of haunted houses, having lived in one myself, but ’tis certainly the season for ghouls (thanks to the US election, lol!)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m trying to focus solely on the fictional ghouls. Reality, especially the current reality, scares me too much. That’s the good thing about these haunted houses: I knew the whole thing was fake so it was just entertainment.
      I don’t think I could take a real haunted house.

      Reply
  5. Maria F.

    You look a lot skinnier. I’m glad you’re feeling well. Halloween is definitely more fun over there in the U.S.. at least for me it seems like that. I visited professional haunted houses when I was younger and studied in the U.S.. They’re so creative too, and theatrical if you ask me.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you so much! Haunted houses really are fun and theatrical. I didn’t really get a chance to talk to any of the people in costumes but if I did it wouldn’t surprise me if they were also actors.

      Reply
  6. Ann Koplow

    I love being on your street, Chris.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad when you stroll through my neighborhood too. Given your broad musical knowledge I had a feeling you’d recognize the reference to Will Smith.

      Reply
  7. halfa1000miles

    You look exceedingly happy in these pictures. And bless Mrs. W’s heart.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It was so much more fun than I imagined. Next year I might look into being one of the performers. Then you’d really see me happy.

      Reply
  8. Angel

    I bet you’d be great as one of the performers. You already have a good resume. Thanks for going to this haunted thing as I had wondered about it, but don’t have the courage to go.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I bet the competition to be a performer is pretty fierce but it would be fun to try.

      Reply
  9. Pingback: The Long Nightmare. - Freethinkers Anonymous

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