Yay, another grand weekend of haunted houses! Look, I always get maniacal this time of year and try to go to at least one but usually two each weekend, but coming off a 2020 season of NO HAUNTS has me going hog wild in 2021. This past weekend (well, including Thursday) I knocked out FIVE of them with no REGERTZ.
You know the drill: all the nitty gritty deets are in my personal paper haunted house journal *FOR MY EYES ONLY* but I did take some pics at each place and figured why not do a photo dump? I mean, it’s day two of my annual Hallowcation and still too chilly/rainy this morning for me to go for a walk so what else have I got going for me? Just sitting here in a sweatshirt, vibing to The Black Queen–is there any better time to listen to them than autumn?? I mean, they’re good always but they are FIRE in the fall. OMG I feel so cozy and calm right now, don’t take this away from me.
(OK, it’s also making me pretty sullen & lonely too, not gonna lie.)
(OK and now the End Where We Start just came on and I am maybe kind of sobbing haha.)
ANYHOOHAW! Kicking off the wicked weekend a bit early, I took Chooch and two of his friends (we will just call them Z and H because I feel weird suddenly writing about his friends? Who am I?) I was a little leery of this because I have never tagged along with Chooch and his friends before, when it’s just me. Usually Henry is also there and also, it was different taking him and his friends to haunted houses when they were younger (not that it happened often because most of his friends were like OMG HAUNTED HOUSE NO!) but now that they’re 15, do they really want MOMMY ERIN tagging along? I mean, they at least talk to me and feel comfortable swearing around me as evidenced when I asked them how to say haunted house in Spanish and H was like, “Yo, I don’t fucking know! We’re only in Spanish 1, dude.”
We went to Hundred Acres Manor, which I had written off because I am so sick of wasting money on this place when it’s mostly just walking through scare-less sets with maybe an animatronic or two. But because of the pandemic (I’m assuming, anyway) a lot of haunts seemed to have cut back on their hours and not many are open on Thursdays this year. This one, sadly, is. We were originally going to go to Allen’s Haunted Hayride but then it was supposed to rain so this was Plan B. Ugh.
The one cool thing was that the first 100 people there that night got a voucher for a free spooky Pittsburgh Penguins shirt so I was happy about that!
I took my boots off at the last minute before leaving the house because it hadn’t rained in hours and the forecast was clear, according to my phone. Of course, by the time we made it through the haunt (where H unexpectedly screamed his face off and swore so much that a scare actor admonished him for cursing, lol) it was raining so hard that it was actually coming down in SHEETS. Apparently there was a tornado warning too?! It came out of nowhere!? Or, you know, wherever tornados come from. Of course, the parking lot at Hundred Acres Manor is GRASS so that was RULL FUN, you guys, and actually the more exhilarating than the haunt itself.
The next day, Henry was diligently cleaning my shoes with a toothbrush, and now they look brand new again! He even bleached the laces!
We went to Sheetz afterward, and Chooch actually gave me some of his mac-n-cheese bites but then I found out later that one of them was actually H’s, which Chooch stole while H was in the bathroom. Cool. Cool cool cool. So I guess I felt included in the end, like going through a dumb haunted house that now CHARGES EXTRA for the ONLY GOOD PART (their maze!! It’s an extra $8 are you fucking kidding me? What a goddamn racket. This place can suck it) really made me kind of cool to some dumb teenagers. Also, they included me in conversations and even listened to my story about how I wrecked into a chainsaw guy’s car at Victory Haunted School in like….1998 I think.
The next day, I asked Chooch if he was embarrassed when I was telling them my chainsaw guy story.
“Oh yeah,” Chooch mumbled. “Especially when YOU RAISED YOUR HAND.”
Dude, I can’t help it. It’s called OOOH ME! PICK ME! PICK ME! syndrome.
But yeah, it really breaks my heart because when I was in high school, this place was called Phantoms in the Park and it was so fucking great. Just, real classic, had an incredible maze that nearly made me piss myself every time, and it benefitted charity. Now it’s all super try-hard and it just doesn’t feel like there’s any heart to it. The scare actors are OK but it was just so much better when it was a bunch of kids being super extra. Now, when I think of Hundred Acres Manor, I think CORPORATION.
But you know what place has a metric ton of heart? Castle Blood. I have been going to this one since the mid-90s and have never had a bad visit. Not even the time, years and years ago, Henry and I got stuck with a group of drunk assholes who were totally killing the vibe and mocking the cast members. One of the denizens—I can’t remember his name, but he was a very attractive vampirate I believe—kicked the group out and then gave Henry and me complimentary tickets to come back and experience the Castle properly. That’s one of those things that I will never forget, and this was years before we became friends with the boss behind the bitchin’ Castle, so it wasn’t like we were being favored or anything. It was just a very nice and courteous gesture that I doubt many other haunts would consider.
Anyway, we were here earlier in the season for their opening night but came back for seconds, this time just the three of us.
Boris harassed us bigly at the entrance. He has become my favorite denizen over the last few years! I love his biting wit and unfaltering accent – even when he was grilling Henry about his job as a truck driver and talking about shifting gears or whatever, he never broke character. And he was so mean to surly Chooch WHICH I OF COURSE LOVED. But then I yelled at him because he insinuated that it was our first visit and I snapped, “OMG YOU NEVER REMEMBER US! WE COME EVERY YEAR!” and he was like, “YOU ARE NOT THAT SPECIAL” and if you know anything about me, you know that being verbally brutalized by monsters at haunted house is like Top 3 Fetish.
LOL ok flash.
OMG it was such a fun night. I love this place so much. If you’re new here and have no idea WTF I’m going on about, you gotta check out this old post I wrote about it, but in summation, it’s the MOST unique haunt in Pennsylvania and probably beyond, because it’s essentially a marriage of escape room and classic haunted walk-through, except that it’s IMPERATIVE to note that they have been doing this literally since the NINETEEN NINETIES. Before escape rooms were all the rage! But each season, the storyline and the challenges change and it really blows my mind, as a quasi-creative type, to consider all of the brain power and collaboration that goes into this, not just for the Halloween season but also for the other seasonal events they open up for as well.
And also, unlike other haunts where you get chased out of each room before your eyes even have a chance of landing one spot, there is an undead cast member that engages you in every room of Castle Blood, so you get to be involved in the action while feasting your eyeballs on the incredible decor and set design in the Castle. It’s so fucking wonderful. And if you ever do get a chance to make it out there, tell them that the Oh Honestly Family sent you. But if it’s Boris, he won’t know who the fuck you’re talking about, lol!
The next night, Henry and I did a TWO-FER while Chooch was at work! It’s been A MINUTE since we went to two haunts in one night! Although this was kind of a cheat though because the first one we went to was Tour-Ed’s Haunted Mine, which shares a parking lot with The Shadows, and cheapskate Henry was feeling gentlemanly that night I guess and agreed to do both WITH NO ARGUMENT!
Real quick background: this is located in an actual mine that gives tours. They were opened as a haunt for a few seasons back in the day (I went at least twice that I can remember: once with Henry in their inaugural year, and another time with this broad I knew from LiveJournal who was so annoying in general but then she said racist shit on Twitter during the Winter Olympics that were held in my godmother country of South Korea and I was like, “bye bitch, be blocked.”) and now after a 10 year hiatus, they’re back!
It was so cold!! But at least I wore boots this time.
We got there right before it officially opened and had to wait for about 45 minutes in total, maybe an hour, and this was also when Henry realized that HUNDRED ACRES MANOR SHORTED ME because he was counting my change from that night. They shorted me like $15 so basically my “free” t-shirt wasn’t so “FREE,” was it HUNDRED ACRES MANOR? Ew, I’m officially quitting you now. In fact, maybe I’ll even build my OWN FUCKING CHAINSAW MAZE. Assholes.
Anyway, the first part was cool: just a short walk-thru where I picked up a ton of interior design inspo, much to Henry’s chagrin, and then we got to go in the mine.
YEAH BOI, 1980s MINER AESTHETIC.
The mine portion was utter chaos, complete pandemonium, and I mean that in the best way, lol. The whole time, I was just trying to not get hurt, if we’re being honest.
Then we crossed on over to The Shadows, which is one that Chooch and I have done together in the past, usually leaving Henry at home to prepare for the annual pie party, lol. The girls in front of us in line asked the dude at the entrance to the trail to take their picture and Henry was like, “Oh god, please don’t ask him too” and I was like, “I’M GONNA.” But then I didn’t have to because he offered to take one before I even had a chance to ask!
It’s not great but IT IS A MEMORY. It is actually hilarious how much of a photo-troll I am, honestly.
Anyway, did I mention it was COLD AF?? My toes were frozen in my foots and after all the standing we did in line, it was actually painful once it was time to start walking. Luckily, I was laughing so hysterically through most of the trail that I didn’t even notice the frostbitten pain.
My favorite part was when the very first monster jumped out at us and I purposely screamed, “HENRY, DON’T BE SCARED, HENRY!” with major emphasis on HENRY so the monster, in his gravelly monster bark, yelled, “Henry?! HENRY?!!? HENRY’S WIFE IS SCARED!” and I was like WOW THAT BACKFIRED and then he proceeded to gruffly howl, “HENRY’S WIFE! I SEE YOU, HENRY’S WIFE! HENRY’S WIFE IS SCARED!” for a really long time after we left that area, it was fucking hilarious. His screams were getting farther and farther away, but we could still hear him in the trees, screaming HENRY’S WIFE and I was like, “Joke’s on him, I’m no one’s wife!” lol.
Yeah, this one was super entertaining and also made me legit scream a few times, but it’s mostly light-hearted and just pure fucking Halloween fun. Love that for me.
Sunday night, I went to Demon House with Chooch, Janna, and Corey! It was the first time in YEARS that all of us attended a seasonal haunt event together. Like Hundred Acres Manor, this one usually pisses me off but we had a Groupon for it so if I’m not paying full price for something, I’m usually more lenient.
Demon House requires patrons to park in a lot down the street and then a shuttle is provided. I dunno why but this part always fuels my anxiety because I want to be the first one on it so I can sit in the first seat and then be the first one off so that I CAN BE THE FIRST ONE IN THE HOUSE, FIRST FIRST FIRST FIRST.
OMG this part of my personality is so infuriating. At least I’m aware of it, though?
Also, the guy mid-stride in that picture was SO ANNOYING and basically yelled at us like this was parking lot boot camp. First of all, he needed people to move their cars from the first four spots because he needed to put down parking cones and have us form a line in the now-vacant spots because apparently where we were originally lined up wasn’t to his standards. I was actually starting to develop a complex, especially when he was dove into his NO PURSES OR BAGS OF ANY KIND THEY MUST STAY IN YOUR CAR lecture, I shouted, “OMG OK JANNA SAVE MY SPOT!!!” while I walked over two whole spaces to put my TINY-NOT-A-THREAT-TO-ANYONE purse back in the car.
We were NOT the first ones on the shuttle, but all the people in front of us were in the same group and they all went right into the back so when it was our turn, I casually slipped into the front seat, leaving the middle rows empty lol.
OMG the group in the back was rowdy as FUCK and played right into it when Mike the Bus Driver stood up and tried to entertain us with small talk while essentially stalling because Demon House wasn’t ready for us yet. There were so many double entendre and innuendos being slung, which made me do my REALLY FAKE AND BOISTEROUS AND ALSO SUPER FUCKING LOUD laugh that Chooch hates so much, and that was only making me do it with more fervor.
Firs group of the night, represent! They threw in a couple to round out our lovely Group 1 and they seemed like they weren’t going to be too bad at first, I mean, they were pretty white trashy but older and kind of quiet, so I thought it would fine. WELL, I THOUGHT WRONG because these motherfuckers lacked boundaries and social couth. I mean, one of the rules was literally to SOCIAL DISTANCE and the broad was literally pushing up against me several times when we were standing in rooms, not moving. Like it wasn’t enough that her “MAN” had both arms around her at all times, she still needed more physical contact??
But even worse than that is that LITERALLY IN THE VERY FIRST ROOM OF THE HOUSE, they wedged themselves between Corey and the rest of us, so Corey ended up being separated from us through pretty much the whole entire walk-thru, no matter how many times I screamed, “COREY WHERE ARE YOU!?” these two stoops did not fucking take the hint, not even when I was like, “COME BACK UP HERE WITH US!” They would not fucking budge!! I hated them!
And then as if that wasn’t enough, the young cunt running the food trailer thing was like, “THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO HOT BEVERAGES” in regard to our FREE DRINK TICKET that came with Groupon. The LAST TIME we had one of these, it was for ONE FREE HOT BEV but apparently this year it was worded as “DRINK FOR ONE” or “DRINK FOR TWO” depending on the Groupon you got, and our choices were: water, Pepsi, or Coke. That bitch was so fucking rude about it too, like she literally thrived from the disappointment on our faces. Chooch gave his drink ticket away and Corey and I were like, “WE WILL JUST GET SOMETHING AT SHEETZ THEN” but Janna was like, “ACTUALLY I WILL TAKE A WATER.”
Then we had to wait for the shuttle to come back for us and some dumb Demon House employee on driveway duty was like, “PLEASE STAND OVER HERE IN THE GRASS” because god forbid we were across from him taking pictures of the Demon House sign. So we obediently moved to the grass but JANNA still had ONE FOOT in the driveway so he repeated himself in a very patronizing manner and I was like, “JANNA GET IN THE GRASS, DON’T MAKE HIM SAY IT A THIRD TIME.” For god’s sake.
I feel like all we did was get yelled at that night and now I hate Demon House a lot. At least the company was excellent though, and Mike the Bus Driver was very nice and let us take HALLOWEEN CANDY on our way off the bus. But then we couldn’t go anywhere because even though that parking lot guy was yelling about cars needing to be moved so he could put down his orange cones, the bus was still somehow blocking me in. Corey reached up from the backseat and blew the horn on my behalf, lol.
Oh!! And because that asshole guy made everyone put their purses in their cars, I didn’t have my car key on me so I had to text Henry and have him unlock the car from the app that I still haven’t downloaded even though we have had our Kona since April, lolololol. It’s actually amazing every time I am able to leave the house without Henry and get to where I’m going and back.
Well, that’s all for now. Oh wait!! One more thing: Scare Manor finally posted that testimonial that they had Henry and me give and it’s….well, it’s something.
I really hate myself sometimes.