I went to Halloween Horror Nights this year.

It probably wouldn’t be worthy of a Facebook update, never mind an entire (admittedly relatively short) blog entry, except that it was the first time I had gone since the very early 2000’s.

See, for years, I was too afraid to go. Big ol’ chickenshit, I was. I finally gathered up all of my anxiety and scaredness and whatever else it was that stopped me from going, and went during the first year that the event was held at Islands of Adventure instead of the more-traditional Universal Studios Florida.

By the time I was out of the first haunted house, I was done.

Not done like, “Ohmigod, that was so scary that I want to go home,” done. More like, “Well, I know they can’t touch me. And all they do is go up to me and say different forms of “boo.” That’s not really scary at all and now I see it’s the same thing from house to house” sort of done.

And I didn’t go back for almost a decade.

I don’t know why I decided to go this year but without Joe willing to go with me (he didn’t go with me the last time I went either. He doesn’t like haunted house sort of stuff), I eventually made plans to go with K., a friend I had made after my favorite hangout had closed, who also used to sometimes hang out there, but who I never spoke to when the place was open because I didn’t like her.

Yeah, life is weird like that.

Anyway, she’s a HHN junkie of sorts and has gone to the event as many times as she could, for years – however many times that would be when, at first she lived in Seattle, and then after she moved to Sarasota, but didn’t drive so it’s not like she could just come up on a weekend on a whim, especially with a husband and 2 kids at home. But all things considered, I think this year she made it up to see it 6 times during the course of a month and change? It impressed me.

Anyway, I know I must have totally frustrated the crap out of her, even though she says I didn’t. See, she’d try to be a good host and ask me what I wanted to do or see and I was like, “I have no idea of what’s even there. You decide and I promise I’ll be happy with whatever you pick.” I mean, I know how that feels when you’re with someone who has no opinions and no wants. It sucks. I’ve had friends/guests who come to Central FL and are perfectly happy doing whatever I decide to do. But y’see, the thing is, I LIVE HERE…I want to do what THEY want to do. But they want to do anything I suggest, perfectly happy to let me take the lead…and in the case of HHN, such was me. Sorry, K!

So we went. We got there early, ate at one of the restaurants so we could do Stay & Scream (get into the park before HHN began so we could be some of the first ones to go into the haunted houses) and as soon as they houses were open, we were on our way. I really hope I didn’t disappoint K. because as soon as I stepped foot into the first house, it was like a continuation of that one other time I had gone to HHN – walk a few feet, someone says “BOO.” At the most I’d look at them and say, “hi!” And it was the same thing for every. single. house. we went into.

I was never scared. Ever. I almost got a little startled once, simply because one ghoulish guy jumped in front of me 3 feet after the guy before him, instead of 5 feet after. But otherwise? “Ho hum.”

Even the scare zones, where these supposed “nightmare” characters would walk around and try to terrorize people, really had no effect on me. I just used them, thanks to K.’s suggestion, as opportunities for “Sharonesque” poses.

Which is not to say that I didn’t have a good time. Quite the contrary, I had a terrific evening! I loved all the creativity that went into the houses and the costumes and the scareactors. I got some idea for my own house at Halloween (OK, maybe I wouldn’t venture to the caliber of Alice in Wonderland eating the entrails of the White Rabbit, but I still got some more basic scary stuff). I enjoyed watching and hearing other people get scared. And OK yeah, I enjoyed the feeling of smugness as we passed hundreds of people on line because we had “Express” passes that let us bypass the lines that seemed to stretch for forever. I may not have been scared, but I certainly appreciated everything about the whole night – especially the company. It was the first time K. and I had spent an extended period of time together, just the 2 of us, and I discovered she is a really cool person. Not only did it make me feel guilty for not befriending her for the past decade and change, but it made me kind of wistful about it, as well. We could have had a good friendship going for all this time and we didn’t because, well, I was an ass.

So anyway yeah, I had an awesome time, even though I never got scared. What can I say – I’m weird like that. But that really shouldn’t be much of a surprise by now.

Happy Halloween!


Oh, and tomorrow = A video of my Halloween decorations. FINALLY! So stay tuned…