After we’d taken care of the puppies and put them in their carrier, we ate lunch with the family and then Ryan and I got busy working on the Haunted House. His friends arrived a short time later and helped us finish up with the final details so now it was ready for visitors to go through it. Before we took his friends home, however, I told them what would happen next.
“We’ll have the practice run tomorrow night, just as soon as it gets dark, and I want you to wear the same clothes you plan on wearing when we do this on Halloween. Get here before the sun goes down so we’ll be ready to start as soon as it gets dark.”
“Who will be going through it?” one of the boys asked.
“All of the others who live here,” I responded.
“Can we have our families come too?” another boy followed.
“Sure, that would be fine, but only your immediate family members, and if they come they can’t tell anyone else what they see.”
“If they like it, can they tell others that they should come too, cuz it’s scary?”
“Yes, that would be fine.”
Now that this was settled, Dion and I thanked the boys for their hard work to pull this off before we drove them home. They will soon be able to see how their efforts pay off.
Dad held dinner for us, since we finished later than we’d anticipated, and he gave the boys a snack if they complained they were hungry, but only enough to tide them over until we ate. At dinner, the others had a few questions they wanted me to answer.
“So is everything set for the Haunted House?” Pop asked first.
“Yes, we’re already to go and Ryan’s friends will be returning tomorrow night so you guys can go through it. We’re just going to ask that you do it in groups of no more than four at a time, because I think you’ll enjoy it more that way.”
“Is it as scary as last year?” Wyatt followed.
“Scarier,” Joshie answered, which caused the younger boys to shiver in anticipation.
“And my friends are going to bring their families to go through it at the same time,” Ryan added.
“Then Jake and I will dress up so they’ll get the full effect, and then we’ll go through last,” Dad offered.
“Ok, that will be fine,” I agreed.
The rest of the night was spent with the younger boys talking to each other about what they expected it would be like, and then Revin asked a question. “Will I be able to come too?”
“Yes. I’ll talk to your mom tomorrow at church and ask her to bring you back later. She might even like to go through it with you.”
“She doesn’t like scary stuff.”
“She might do this, though, since we’re the ones putting it on.”
As it started getting late, we had the boys take the puppies outside and then put them back in the carrier before they went upstairs to get ready for bed. As soon as they finished their showers, we went up to read to them next, and when we were done, we said goodnight and tucked them in. Brandon and I then went to catch up on a few chores we’d fallen behind on, and we turned in about an hour later.
As soon as we picked up Becky for church on Sunday, Revin told her that we were going to let the others go through the Haunted House after it got dark. “Will you take me to their house so I can go through it with them?”
“You’re also invited to go through it, because everyone in the family who isn’t involved in the Haunted House will be doing it as well,” I added.
“I’m not good with stuff like that, but I’ll give it a try,” she agreed.
“That’s great, the more the merrier. We just ask that you don’t tell anyone else about what you see until after Halloween. We don’t want to ruin the surprise for those who show up on Halloween night.”
“That’s not a problem.”
While we were waiting for our Sunday school class to begin, Becky asked a question. “I only agreed to do this for Revin’s sake, but how scary is it going to be?”
“It’s mostly done for shock value, so I suggest you keep in mind that everything you see is being done by one of us or a high school student. We’re not doing anything that will hurt anyone.”
“I’m just afraid of making a fool of myself.”
“Trust me; you won’t do anything different than any of the others that go through it. You can scream and I doubt anyone will notice, because they’ll probably be screaming as well.”
“Ok, I’ll trust that you know what you’re doing then.”
I could tell Becky’s mind was on the Haunted House and not the Sunday school lesson or the church service that followed. She was doing a little better by the time we got to the diner, but I assumed it was because she didn’t want the others, especially Revin, to know she had reservations. I tried to help her out by asking the others a few questions.
“Ok, as long as it’s Haunted House time again, who has a special memory from the past Haunted Houses that you’d like to share?”
“I do,” Joshie quickly answered. “I think I was five or six when Poppy went through the practice run with me and he screamed when he saw the tank with the snakes in it. And then he screamed even louder when he thought the truck was coming at us.”
“I don’t like snakes and I thought we were going to get hit by a truck,” Trey offered in explanation.
“Hit by a truck inside our house?” Joshie countered.
“Ok, so I was a little confused.”
After everyone stopped snickering, Ryan had something to offer next. “The first year I was old enough to help out with the Haunted House I got to be Dracula and was supposed to pop out of the coffin. When I pushed the lid open and started to sit up, I accidentally let go of the lid and it fell back and smacked me in the head, so it wasn’t very scary.”
“I remember that,” I responded, “and I think it was the only time I’ve ever heard laughter in the Haunted House.”
“It wasn’t me, cuz I was embarrassed,” Ryan confessed. “I’m glad it only happened that one time, though.”
“Yes, a knock on the head usually helps you to remember not to make the same mistake again,” I confirmed.
They were simple examples, but I think it made Becky realize that she wouldn’t do anything that would embarrass her any more than had happened to the others. I realized she was going to be fine when she looked over at me and smiled.
“Sounds interesting and I can’t wait to go through it,” she stated as she looked over and smiled at her son next.
After we finished brunch, we dropped Becky and Revin off at their house before heading home. “We’ll see you later,” she said as they got out.
“I look forward to it.”
When we got to the house, I told the others I’d see them later and then I had Hayden and Hunter get in the car so we could go see their mother. When we got to her room the boys gave her a hug and a kiss, and then I broke the bad news.
“We won’t be able to stay as long as usual today, because we need to get back to the house so we can prepare for tonight.”
“Yeah, we’re goin’ through the Haunted House later,” Hunter added.
“Oooh, that sounds… like fun… so don’t… worry if… you have… to leave… early.”
We only stayed about half as long as we normally did, but we promised to stay longer the following Sunday to make up for it. She said that would be fine, and we rushed home so I could make sure everything was ready for later.
Once we got to the house, Ryan informed me that he’d spoken with his friends to see how many people would be coming with them, and then I made a decision. “Let’s treat this just like Halloween night. That way we’ll all get to see how this all comes together.”
Ryan agreed, so I notified Dad and Pop, because they were going to be helping out. They’d already planned on having dinner early so we’d have time to get changed after we ate, and I appreciated how everyone was pulling together to make this happen.
Shortly after we finished eating, Ryan’s friends began showing up and we started getting ready to man our stations. At the same time, Brandon had the younger boys take Dobby and Flash outside first, and then they put the puppies in their carrier in the family room so they wouldn’t get in the way. Once that was taken care of, he and Trey had the boys dress warmly, because they would have to wait outside while everyone got into position and before we let them enter the Haunted House.
While the boys were getting ready to go outside, Pop came out of his bedroom dressed in his costume and headed toward the rec room so he could leave out the backdoor. He had volunteered to manage the people arriving and make sure they went on the correct side of the line of cars that Dion and I had arranged after I got back from the nursing home. Pop would now wait for the others to join him at the end of the driveway.
When Dad and Pop first volunteered, I wasn’t sure if they were going to dress up, although I thought they might possibly throw together a homemade costume for the night. However, to my surprise, they had both ordered costumes instead, and Pop was now dressed up as a winged monkey. He was even moving around in a partial crouch, similar to how a monkey might move about, and it was both creepy and comical at the same time. As the boys, Trey, and Brandon walked outside to wait for the Haunted House to open, the rest of us scurried to get to our assigned positions.
Becky, Revin, and Ryan’s friends’ families began showing up before we got underway, and they waited with our family, while also admiring Pop’s costume. When we were ready to begin, I gave Pop a signal and he directed the first group about where they needed to go. When they reached the front of the first SUV, one of Ryan’s friends wearing a demon mask and dressed in a black, hooded cloak stepped out in front of them and caused a few startled reactions.
“Follow me,” he ordered in a gruff voice.
We had him do this so the visitors wouldn’t advance too quickly and miss any of the subtleties of our outdoor displays. He guided them past the picnic table with the stacks of cornstalks on either side, and in between was a hanging scarecrow. It merely appeared to be a makeshift scarecrow that you might find in any farmer’s field to scare away the birds, but as they were walking past the scarecrow moved, and this caused a few gasps and a startled scream.
One of the devices that Dion had helped to build was this one. It was a 2x4 ‘T’ with braces to keep it upright, but it also had a seat for an individual to sit on and blocks to place his feet on to help support his weight. The scarecrow merely had its arms placed over the crossbar and waited for the visitors to come by. What the others didn’t know about the scarecrow and were unable to tell at first glance was that Benny was wearing the costume.
He had a hat on his head with straw hair sticking out of it, and he was wearing a pair of jeans and an oversize long-sleeve flannel shirt that was stuffed with straw. Some of the straw was extending out of the opening around his collar, as well as some more sticking out of his pant legs, and he was wearing gloves with straw coming out of the openings at the wrists. He was also wearing a burlap mask over his head with a red triangular nose and a grin that looked as if it was stitched on, and there were holes cut into it so he could see out. When the others got close to him he moved a leg first and then let an arm dangle down so people would know he wasn’t merely a stuffed dummy.
Once they got past that area, they turned the corner and walked beside our little cemetery next, and the demon pointed out that each tombstone belonged to one of his former underlings. Much to our delight, the group happened to startle the neighbor’s cat that had been hanging out in the cemetery. Without warning, it raced out from behind one of the tombstones and shot across the path in front of them, eliciting a few more shrieks.
As the group approached the short suspension bridge, a grey alien jumped out from behind the old apple tree and pointed a toy laser gun at our guests. The boy wearing the alien mask was dressed in grey thermal underwear that was the same shade as the mask he was wearing. As he pointed the laser gun at them, he also blew a small whistle as he pulled the trigger to simulate the noise it made when it fired. When the red light shone against its various targets, it caused the targeted person to move suddenly so the beam wasn’t on him, and one person even dropped to the ground in fright. The alien then jumped behind the tree again and remained out of sight.
When the group started moving once more, they had to make their way across the suspension bridge next. When they were about halfway across it, a billowy ghost slid down the guide wire that stretched from the roof of the rec room to the same apple tree where the alien had disappeared. It brushed against some of our visitors as they were watching their step while crossing the swaying bridge and this caused them to stop dead in their tracks.
The ghost had began its journey down the guide wire when the alien released a rope as it ducked behind the tree, and that allowed the ghost to glide through the air unnoticed until it reached the visitors. As soon as the rest of the group had crossed the suspension bridge and were ready to enter the rec room, the alien pulled on the rope and drew it back through the pulley. This caused the ghost to be dragged back into place so it could be released again for the next group of visitors.
I was waiting at the door of the rec room dressed as an undertaker ready to greet everyone, but I was actually serving two purposes. The first was to make sure they entered in small groups and that one group had exited the rec room before the next group entered. The other was to inform them that they had to ring the doorbell before they went inside. When one of them pushed the button on the animated doorbell, a glowing eye opened and it began to recite one of the ominous pre-recorded greetings before they entered the rec room.
As soon as they were inside, they immediately noticed an animated Ouija board that was sitting on a wooden TV tray just off to the left of the entrance. It appeared to be part of a weathered, wooden box and the planchette, or pointer, was moving around the board totally on its own. Next to the Ouija board was a large fluorescent arrow that was hanging from the ceiling and indicated they should go to the right next. The house was completely dark, but we’d placed nightlights in strategic locations so there was enough light for them to see where they were going.
As the visitors moved along with the black curtain on their left, they passed a large wooden crate on the right that seemed to be filled with rotting pumpkins. They were actually realistic, plastic props and there were also plastic cockroaches and spiders in with them as well. On the front of the crate was attached a wanted poster with the face of a scary looking clown, and the poster claimed the clown had escaped from the circus and was suspected of murdering the ringmaster.
Just past that area was an old fashion typewriter setting on a wooden TV tray, and it was tapping out a message that proclaimed it needed help. The keys seemed to be depressing on their own, and the carriage was also moving unaided, and in front of the typewriter was a rocking chair that seemed to be rocking without an occupant. What the visitors couldn’t see was that Dion was hiding in the hollow space underneath the crate they had just passed, and he was pulling a string that made the rocking chair move, and the overall effect was spooky.
Once they moved past that display, the group reached the end of the curtain and had to turn to their left to continue. They immediately found themselves standing across from an open closest, and inside it was one of Ryan’s friends dressed in raggedy clothing and wearing a zombie mask. When the zombie noticed the visitors approaching, he took a step in their direction and made guttural noises as he reached out to grab them. He was wearing a collar with a chain attached to it, both made of plastic, and the chain appeared to stop him from getting close enough to reach them. However his arms, which were covered in filthy, rotting clothing, continued straining to reach out for them. Once again we heard some screams as our guests tried to squeeze by, just out of reach of his outstretched arms, and then they quickly moved along to the next attraction.
After traveling a few feet, they came to the pool table with a coffin setting on top, and I think they were all waiting for it to open. They felt something grabbing at their legs instead, and when they looked down they saw a very realistic looking shark’s head with two rows of bared teeth just inches from their legs. This caused them to jump backward and then scurry forward, ready to exit the rec room.
As they started down the hallway and approached the door leading down to the basement, another of Ryan’s friends wearing a creepy clown mask darted out of Dad’s bedroom. He looked amazingly like the wanted poster they had passed earlier, and when he saw them he threw up his arms and screamed before hurrying inside the bedroom and shutting the door to avoid being captured.
A sign then directed them to go down to the basement to get their treat, and as they started down the stairs they had to brush aside the spider webs we’d constructed using dental floss. At the bottom of the staircase was the skeleton we’d used in the rec room in the past, and it silently raised an arm as a blast of compressed air hit the legs of our visitors. One of Ryan’s friends was controlling the skeleton’s arm, and he also had a nozzle connected to an air compressor that we’d set up for this purpose. The sudden blast of air, along with the ‘whooshing’ sound startled more than a few of our guests.
As soon as they were standing in the basement, Dracula summoned them to walk across to where he was waiting for them to collect a small bag of treats. After they had their treat and were ready to leave, they walked across the basement and started up the stairs again. As they neared the top of the staircase, the same boy who had hit them with a blast of compressed air earlier now used an air horn to shake them up before they left. In previous years the air horn would sound as they entered the hallway and then the truck cab would rush at them, so they were looking for that as they exited the doorway.
Instead of the truck cab, they spotted a person in a cobra head mask standing in the archway leading into the living room. The top of its head was black, but it had a lighter colored jaw with very sharp fangs, and the person wearing the mask was dressed completely in black. One part of the costume was an oversize black t-shirt, and he kept his arms inside it so the visitors couldn’t see what he was doing. As they moved in his direction, he fired a squirt gun that was attached to a tube that went inside his mask and connected to the mouth so the water shot out of it at our guests. It was supposed to simulate the cobra spitting its venom in their direction, and we’d placed a large throw rug on the floor of the foyer to absorb the water.
As the visitors were jumping to avoid the venom, the roar of a mad bull could be heard off to the right and reverberated off the walls. As they looked in that direction, a person in a menacing Minotaur mask came charging at them from out of the kitchen. It was merely Ryan dressed all in black and wearing a Minotaur mask, but the effect was frightening.
As our scared guests turned to race toward the front door, the grim reaper carrying a scythe leaped off the staircase and landed beside them. It was merely Joshie wearing a grim reaper mask and holding a plastic scythe, but it caused the visitors to scream and move a little faster to get away from him.
As they scrambled to open the front door, a howl was heard coming from the rec room and then suddenly the door opened and they came face-to-face with a werewolf. It was merely another of Ryan’s friends wearing a werewolf mask, and the puppies could be heard barking and howling in the background and sounded as if they were the werewolf’s pups. As the werewolf came in their direction, our guests bolted through the front door and escaped from the house.
Once they were outside, they began feeling safe and stopped to take a few seconds to calm down and catch their breath, and that’s when Dad stepped out of the shadows to their left. He was wearing a Freddy Krueger costume, complete with creepy hands.
“Were you caught in my nightmare?” he asked in a raspy voice as he flexed his fingers in their direction.
This caused the visitors to start moving down the sidewalk again, and as they were heading toward the end of the driveway, a different type of alien came lunging off the front porch to their right. This alien had two mouths, one inside the other, and both were lined with razor sharp teeth. This caused some of the visitors to scream and move a little faster, but alas it was the final attraction in this year’s Haunted House.
Once each of the groups had gone through the Haunted House, Dad and Pop went through it last, because they wanted to see what it was like as well. Once they emerged through the front door, we got together with all of our visitors to hear their reactions.
“That was way different than your past Haunted Houses,” the brother of one of Ryan’s friends said first.
“And I think it was scarier too,” another boy’s sister offered.
“How did you get those things to move on their own in the first room that we entered,” someone else’s little brother asked.
“They were operated by ghosts,” I replied.
After the families of Ryan’s friends had departed, Becky came over to speak with me next. “I’ll admit it was very creative and more than a little scary.”
“Yeah, mom jumped and screamed a bunch of times,” Revin admitted to his mother’s dismay.
“I’m glad you told me to remember they were only a bunch of high school students or I think I might have had a heart attack.”
“There was never anything to worry about. We had a doctor on premises to handle any medical emergencies,” I joked.
“I’ve never been through a Haunted House before, but that one was scary,” Tristan offered next.
“Yeah, Wyatt was right, it was really scary,” Hayden confessed.
“It was kinda fun too, now that we’re outta there,” Hunter added.
“Those new masks were very realistic looking and they made this even scarier,” Trey confirmed.
“That monster in the kitchen and the one in the rec room caused Poppy to scream again,” Wyatt admitted to Trey’s chagrin.
“Yes, the Minotaur and the werewolf were very scary,” I agreed.
“I think it was the Minotaur’s roar and the werewolf’s howl that really got to me,” Trey confessed. “I think Dobby and Flash were howling too, in response to the werewolf’s howl.”
“Yes, those monsters were very creepy, and Dobby and Flash added nicely to the effect. In case you didn’t know, Ryan was wearing the Minotaur’s mask and he found the soundtrack of the roaring bull on YouTube. I was quite shocked the first time I heard it as well.”
“Did you buy Grandpa Josh and Grandpa Jake’s costumes too?” Benny asked next.
“No, they did that on their own and I hadn’t seen their costumes until tonight.”
“They were scary too and I didn’t realize they were the ones wearing them at first,” Hunter stated.
“It was a great effect from start to finish,” Brandon offered. “It was definitely the best Haunted House I’ve been to since the family started doing this.”
“We’re glad to hear it, and hopefully it will go this well on Halloween,” I responded.
As soon as we went in the house, we asked the boys to take the puppies outside, and then we let Dobby and Flash stay out of the carrier for a while. We also gave the boys a chance to talk to each other about the Haunted House before we sent them upstairs to get ready for bed, and then we went up to read to them. After Brandon finished the next chapter, we tucked them in bed and bid them pleasant dreams.
“I hope I don’t dream about the Haunted House and those things we saw tonight,” Hayden confessed.
“You should be fine,” I responded, although I wasn’t totally convinced of that myself.
“Thanks for letting us go through the Haunted House,” Hunter said as I tucked him in. “It was neat.”
“Yeah, it was great,” Hayden added, “just a little scary.”
“We’re glad you enjoyed it, and now Brandon and Trey will be able to take you boys trick-or-treating on Halloween night.”
“Yeah, my dad took us to get our costumes while you were at work on Saturday,” Wyatt stated.
“I know, and I’m glad he offered to do that, since we were busy with Dobby, Flash, and the Haunted House.”
We then said goodnight to them and kissed each one on the forehead before leaving the room, and then we got a similar reaction from Tristan when we said goodnight to him.
When we got to Benny and Joshie’s room, they were still flying high from scaring everyone. “That was awesome,” Benny stated. “I loved seeing their faces when they saw me move. They thought I was just a stuffed dummy.”
“You were,” Joshie joked, and this caused Benny to punch him in the arm before he continued. “And I liked hearing them scream when I jumped off the stairs and landed beside them.”
“Yeah, doing those things was really great,” Benny agreed.
When I got up to Ryan’s room, he was just as enthused. “My friends really enjoyed being part of this, and I loved scaring everyone as the Minotaur.”
“And I’m glad you found that sound track, because it helped to make your appearance even creepier.”
“Yeah, I know, it was so cool.”
I then said goodnight to him and headed downstairs to chat with the others. “I didn’t know you guys were going to buy costumes for this as well,” I told Dad and Pop when we joined them at the table.
“After you told us what you wanted us to do, we talked it over and decided we should dress up as well,” Dad confessed. “We figured either we, or one of you, could always wear the costumes again in the future.”
“Well, they were great choices,” I agreed. “Even though you were only there to make sure none of the people leaving the Haunted House got in the way or interfered with those arriving, I loved the way you did it. Everyone seemed really spooked when they saw you and didn’t hang out in front of the house for very long.”
“Yes, his costume was very appropriate for keeping them moving,” Brandon added.
“I got to see you guys when you were going through the rec room to get outside, and I was really impressed as well,” Dion stated next.
“Thanks, and we enjoyed doing it,” Pop responded.
“Just one more performance and another Haunted House will become a part of Currie history,” I added.
“And I don’t think anyone will forget this year’s Haunted House any time soon,” Dad added.
Everyone agreed with him, and then we decided to call it a night. It had been a hectic and exhausting day.