Nov 092022
 

I love October so effing much but – oof – it is so bittersweet. I always have that “I’m running out of time!!” sensation so I’m not always living in the moment because I’m internally panicking about not being able to do everything, but no, I don’t want haunted houses to be a year-round thing because that kills the novelty and anticipation. I think it all boils down to exactly what the doves have been crying about: I’m just never satisfied.

Anyway, here is a round-up of the last haunts we squeezed in during the final days of October.

FRIGHT FARM! WOO! This was Henry and Zakk’s first time here, but Chooch and I are seasoned pros by now. I was so excited for Henry and Zakk to experience what is essentially the granddaddy of farm haunts. First of all, this photo is blurry because I WAS SO FUCKING COLD. Literally shivering and wishing I had brought gloves in addition to the knit beanie and boots I was already wearing.

Henry was a big fan of the snack options. It gave him something to do while we were watching for an hour-ish for our group # to be called. At least we didn’t have to stand in line!

Zakk’s new girlfriend. Chooch was jel.

Anyway, some quick thoughts:

  • An actual line-dance happened when Flo-Rida and Kesha’s “Timber” came on, and I was extremely uncomfortable about that.
  • An older man behind me on the hayride kept announcing everything that was about to happen to his companion, Ruthie. I kept looking behind me and Ruthie was legit recording the whole thing with her phone so I think she was aware of it.
    • Literally, the whole damn thing!!
  • Hayride portion was sick as usual, possibly the best hayride around.
  • Once we got to the haunted house part, we had to stand in line with like, and I’m not exaggerating here, 12 different large groups of extremely loud and inebriated people?! All the guys looked like people Blake would be friends with. It was so annoying, yet somehow the line moved extremely fast because most people were standing in clumps waiting for their friends to use the porta potties so everyone was just cutting past them. But then the kid manning the entrance to the walk-thru was letting huge groups go through at once so that was a major haunted house foul, come on kid.
  • We were the last people in the group that got sent in, but somehow a group of 5 TOTALLY HIGH/DRUNK ASSHOLES caught up to us. They were insufferable. I don’t like making a scene (LOL ok) but all I kept thinking was that we drove an hour to get to this place and then paid $100 for admission, so I was not about to let these assholes fuck with my night. “Look, I’m going to pretend like I have to tie my shoe so that they’ll go past us,” I whispered to Henry who probably didn’t hear me because he can’t hear anything anymore. I dropped into a squat to fake-tie my shoe while dramatically saying, “UH OH I HAVE TO TIE MY SHOE, YOU GUYS CAN GO ON AHEAD” but then they were going to STOP so I hurriedly waved them past while I did the worst shoe-typing pantomime which involved me fluffing my laces and then IMMEDIATELY standing back up once they passed us – it was so obvious but….they were so stoned, so it probably seemed normal to them. We caught up to them at the checkpoint for the actual haunted house (the first part is mostly outdoors) but I flat out said to the girl manning the door, “I don’t want to go in with those people” and she said, “Oh yeah, no problem,” letting the door close behind them. “I could tell by your face that they were annoying you.” Other groups had caught up to us by then, but she was a fucking sweetheart and let just the four of us go inside alone and NO ONE BOTHERED US (well, aside from the monsters, but we want to be bothered by them) so YOU’RE WELCOME FOR SAVING THE NIGHT WITH MY FAKE SHOE ISSUES, GUYS.
  • Look, I’m not straight-edge or a NARC or anything, but there is nothing worse than being sober in public while a bunch of jackasses parade around you in a state of extreme intoxication. TIME AND A PLACE. TIME. AND. A. PLACE.

It was like 40 degrees but go on with your shorts and t-shirts.

I’ve seen this one in the haunted listings for years and years but for some reason, we have never gone. I was tired of spending lots of money on these haunted nights so when I saw that this one was only (“only”) $15, I penciled it in. Plus, the entire proceeds go to ANIMALS!!! We love that.

Also, that’s Henry’s “Leave My Woman Alone, Chainsaw Guy!“ face. Lol j/k, he moves out of the way for them.

Anyway, this was fantastic – so reminiscent of the ones I used to go to in the 90s with Christy and/or the LAME crew. I was laughing so much and one of the guys was wearing a Sloth mask and he followed me for a LONG WHILE and then growled, “SEE YOU LATER TONIGHT” and it was sinister yet HOT?!

There was a middle school-ish aged girl dressed as a dead cheerleader and she stole the show. I made sure to tell her that when I saw her outside of the trail as we were leaving (wait – she WAS supposed to be part of the trail, right? WAS SHE AN ACTUAL DEAD CHEERLEADER???) and she giggled and then skipped off. It was adorable.

The last haunt of the season was last Friday night – Wells Township Haunted House, and oh you guys know EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED THERE, LOL.

Honestly, though – aside from my WOUND – this was still one of the best haunts I went to all season, if not ever. I just love how balls to the wall it is, I don’t mind being touched at all; in fact, in one of the first rooms, someone was VICIOUSLY tickling my sides, like they were relentless about it. I was SCREAM-LAUGHING so hard into Henry’s back, literally almost peed my pants which is how you know it’s a good haunt!

I would not recommend this one to anyone with depth perception (lol, it me) or mobility issues because one of the scariest parts is not knowing where you’re going, if there are steps coming up (usually the have someone guiding you but there was one part where I had to toe the area in front of me and holler, “THERE’S A STEP!” to Henry who at some point got behind me and I don’t know what’s scarier: being in the lead or in the back!

Well, that completes the 2022 Haunted House Circuit. It was a good one, for sure, but you know…the older I get, the less people I can find to go to these with me – especially now that I almost lost a foot to a chainsaw guy. I’m sure that’s a sign from the universe saying: FIND GROWN-UP HOBBIES. Pfft, yeah no thanks!

Nov 042022
 

Friends. This happened tonight. I am home now and I think I’m going to survive but it was…touch and go for a while there.

Running into an acquaintance 15 years from now, probably not at a grocery store: “Whoa, you and Henry broke up? What happened?”

Me: “Well, a chainsaw guy at a haunted house….”


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Additional thoughts: this happened at the very end of the haunted house (which was 100% SO GOOD and I’m not mad about this, it was an accident plus we signed waivers so can’t go Full Karen on the place) and I knew it happened, could feel the pain immediately, and usually I would run like a scared deer from the damn chainsaw guy but I was legit frozen in place, hugging Henry, and then I just like, quietly limped away because I wasn’t sure at that point how bad it was and if my ankle would just like, split in half if I started to aggressively run. So I casually limped back to the car and then whispered, “I think the chainsaw guy cut my ankle and I’m afraid to look” to Henry who had no reaction because he was probably daydreaming about the gas station he was going to buy on the way home (“Mmm Slim Jims”). I risked a quick peek when I got in the car and IMMEDIATELY started screaming and panicking, trying to slather on bandaids with shaking hands while holding back bile-burps.

But now I’m home, wound is clean and bandaged, but I still won’t put any weight on it when I walk. I’m walking on the toes of the injured foot, but with the knee bent and then my other leg is like “let me bend a little too” so I look like a gimp leprechaun or something I dunno, OR SOMETHING.

I’m about to pass out. Chooch is disgusted and said there is no reason for this much drama and then he retreated to his room and Henry just like, left the house. I mean, ok leave me alone with an injury of this magnitude, sure. At least I have 4 wheelchairs at my disposal.

Oct 242022
 

I just realized that there is only one weekend of left for haunted housing and I am gutted. It never fails – October slips through my fingers faster than any other stupid month, I swear. I dunno why this shocks me every year?!

Here is a brief rundown of the last two weekends of haunts we did, plus a bonus shot of the new haunted house journals I stocked up on from Spirit! They had so many to choose from – I went in for just one because I only have a few pages left of my current inky tome (that was so stupid that autocorrect desperately wanted to change it to anything but that) but ended up leaving with these 4:

Is it weird that I am 43 and still carrying the torch I lit in 1996 with these godforsaken journals? Maybe. OK probably. But it’s a compulsion now. I literally have to jot down my thoughts on every haunt no matter what. Of course all the gory (LOL I AM SO HILAR TONIGHT) details are up inside those pages, but I always like to memorialize them a bit on here too mostly for ease of searching, like when Chooch and I are fighting over one that I say we’ve been to and he says no. My blog allows me to have victory much faster than dusting off old journals and leafing through the brittle pages.

(Suddenly they’re from the rare book section of the Smithsonian and not Henry’s old SERVICE trunk in my bedroom.)

Two Saturdays ago, Chooch and I went to Scare Manor. I went to this last year with Henry and LOVED it. But this year it was….the same but we went with three older broads that knew people there so everything happened to them and only like one part was fun for the rest of us. I try not to be whiny about that shit, but this was like $20 and not that long so I felt gypped – the chainsaw guy just let Chooch and me stroll right past and didn’t even bother with us! Also, I fell into a big divot in the parking lot when getting out of the car and back in to leave so that was annoying.

And then we went to what appeared to be one of the first Sheetz ever built because it was so small and everyone in there was weird and I was MAD.

The next night, Henry and I went to Demon House and I know, blog, you’re right – I literally told you a few weeks ago that I was writing that one off! But then I found out that they got new owners and it is better so we got some tickets on Groupon and went out to give it a whirl. Right off the bat, I was disoriented because they changed location of the shuttle bus!! It now picks you up at a different parking lot but we couldn’t find where, so we had to actually drive past Demon House and follow the shuttle bus back to the parking lot. That was weird.

As usual, they had a horror movie playing on the outdoor screen. This is the best part of Demon House, truly. You don’t have to stand in line! You get assigned to a group and you slink around the grounds, sipping apple cider by the bonfire, using the portapotty, grabbing a snack at the concession stand like the mom who was in our group and frantically shoveling it in her face when the bell rang and our number was called.

Then her husband asked the Demon House girl what movie that was playing over there. She didn’t know, so Henry and I said, “Evil Dead” in tandem and everyone just looked at us blankly. So, then she was like, “Let me ask these other clueless Demon House broads” because apparently, we weren’t a credible source.

One of the broads said, “Paranormal Activity” to which Henry and I were like, “HON THAT AIN’T IT” so then she quickly added, “Of if it’s not that, it’s Friday the 13th.”

“It’s Evil Dead,” Henry said to the guy in a tone that screamed, “Look bro, we look like we are of the same ilk, cut from the same blue collared cloth, constantly misplacing tools. You gotta take my word for this” AND I STILL DON’T THINK HE BELIEVED US.

I was screaming inside my face.

Assholes.

Anyway, Demon House was fine. There was one really big scare that I got because I was at the end and turning around to close a door so somehow that simple, everyday action found me with my guard down, and some scare actor was behind the door. Then he chased me down the hall and I legot threw my back out a little, so that happened.

Other than that, it was same-old. It’s a good one of the GP but I just really want more.

This past Friday, Henry and I went to TAVERN OF TERROR! It was my first time at Allen’s Haunted Hayride in 5 or so years and I definitely was fine passing up the hayride portion and just doing the walk-thru. Allen’s is like the OG hayride in the area and it’s OK! It just takes a lot for hayrides to really feel worth it to me. And the last time we were there, it was Allen’s inaugural season for the Tavern, so I was interested to see how it was holding up.

I was adamant about getting my Haechan penchant in this shot, lol.

Anyway, it was SO CROWDED there, being a Friday night and all, but hardly anyone was in line for the tavern! Probably most people get the combo ticket to do both, and then do the hayride first. We stood in line to buy the ticket almost as long as we waited for the actual haunt!

There were SO MANY young kids in line with us, which was under a canopy, and they were making my head hurt badly with their loud-ass mouths. I kept exclaiming, ‘WHY IS IT NECCESSARY FOR THEM TO SCREAM INSTEAD OF TALKING??” At one point, it got really quiet and Henry pointed out that it was because their group had gone inside. That’s when I realized that my ears were actually ringing in their absence.

We got to go inside just the two of us, and I am here to tell you that this was AWESOME. The scare actors were relentless, hilarious, and super sneaky. I loved that there were like, secret doors and openings, and it was actually amazing to see how they turned such a small space into a bunch of winding hallways and atmospheric rooms.

I was so fucking stoked about this the whole way home. I loved it!

Then on Saturday, all three of us went to Portals of Fear in West Mifflin. It’s done by a local youth group and listen Linda, those usually prove to be the best ones.

And yeah, as expected, this one was FUN, STARTLING, CHAOTIC, OLD-SCHOOL. I think I screamed, “OMG LOL” in every single room. And somehow someone there knew Chooch because at one point, all the kids started yelling, “Riley! Riley’s here!” and as you know, we never call him that so they definitely didn’t hear it from us! He said he has no idea how this could possibly be because he doesn’t know anyone from West Mifflin?!

Meanwhile, as the ticket lady shredded our tickets while giving us the rules before we went inside, my soul died a little and I couldn’t even pay attention to what she was saying, hearing her distant voice being pulled like taffy while I silently watched my ticket perish. I asked if I could have back just a piece of the ticket because I always keep my haunted house ticket stubs and she was like, “Oh no I’m so sorry I ripped them all up” and then she looked all around for someone to fall out of the sky with a solution. The guy sitting next to her said, “Oh, I can just get you a whole one if you want?” and he didn’t even have to plummet from the sky first. I practically screamed OH THANK U ITS FOR MY HAUNTED HOUSE JOURNALS WHICH I HAVE BEEN KEEPING SINCE 1996 and I’m sure that is a moment Chooch is filing away in the MOTHER, EMBARRASSMENTS drawer.

This Thursday, Janna and I (and maybe Chooch if he doesn’t have to work because he finally got a new job – at Dunkin’) will be going on our annual pilgrimage to Rich’s Fright Farm, and I still haven’t ironed out exactly what I want to want to do on Friday and/or Saturday. We’re considering going to Cedar Point on Sunday, and then next Friday is LIGHTS OUT at Wells Township Haunted House! And then….I guess that’s it.  For as many haunts as I’ve gone to this season, I will be honest and say that this October has felt kind of off and I don’t know why?! Other than NCT127 was right smack in the middle of that and it really stressed me and had my emotions on overdrive, so that could have a lot to with it. Oh, and Halloween Ends really was a joykill too

So far, I think Castle Blood and Crawford School of Terror are tied for #1.

Oct 162022
 

Henry, Chooch and I visited Castle Blood last weekend and had the most amazing time as always! It felt, to this dumbo blond anyway, to be even more challenging this season. If you don’t know, Castle Blood isn’t just your run-of-the-mill cheap jump-scare, blood&gore animatronics, chainsaw-finale haunted house. This place is full of the snarkiest collection of undead you will ever encounter at a haunted house. You don’t just get pushed through like sheep either – you stop in each and every room and have real interactions with the denizens, wherein you have to solve puzzles in order to earn one of three talismans.

I am blown away every year by the creative and ingenuity that goes into planning these challenges and the accompanying scripts. If ever you want to be knocked down a peg or five intellectually, this is the haunt for you! Some of these challenges have sincerely had me boarding the Struggle Bus straight to StüpVille, and this year was no exception. First of all, Chooch and I are too stubborn to work together so he kept taking over and wouldn’t listen to me, and then Dead Weight Henry just stood there contributing fuck all.

My eyeballs thought that this picture turned out OK at the time, but nope. Anyway, this is Chooch with one of our favorite denizens!

I still want to donate to have my name put on the crypt wall, but I haven’t decided what name I want to use. OHHONESTLY? APPLEDALE? It ain’t gon’ be ROBBINS, that’s for sure, lol.

Somehow, we managed to acquire all three talismans no thanks to Henry’s refusal to participate, Chooch’s bull-headedness, and my brain essentially shitting the bed. I am definitely starting to feel my age lately because I can’t retain simple instructions – someone tells me what to do in the simplest of terms, and I immediately have to turn to someone else and ask, “Wait, what am I supposed to do?” This happened a few weeks ago at another haunt where the ticket-ghoul told us to walk up the steps and do something and as soon as I got to teh second time, I hissed, “Wait, what?” and Chooch was like, “OMG are you kidding me.”

I was feeling extremely nostalgic after we left last Sunday so the next day, I pulled out my old haunted house journals and photo albums to collect some ancient artifacts. If my records are correct, the first time I went to Castle Blood was in 1996 with my mom and best friend Christy. It was one of the original locations, and I remember standing in line in a room full of horror movie memorabilia and autographed pictures of people in the biz like Tom Savini and George Romero (probably – my memory is not that grand anymore, remember? I JUST TOLD YOU).

This picture must have been from the second time we went, when my friend Lisa came and my mom’s friend Debbie. I really miss that shirt I’m wearing BUT NOT THAT HAIR CUT.

I’m cracking up at the fact that I actually took my 35mm camera with me to haunted houses in the 90s and the actors were, I guess, just like, “Yeah sure” when I would giddily ask to take their pictures.

That’s a whole mood.

We learned that for this season, the Castle has actually incorporated some of the old costumes, like this one, as a throwback!

My friend Chris has served in the role of Professor Scrye for 25 years now, so this picture is definitely from more than 25 years ago! I can’t believe how long I’ve been going to Castle Blood – so long that I have the honor of calling many of the denizens (including the famous Gravely Macabre) my actual real life friends. If you would have told me that when I was a teenager in the 90s, I would like, “DUDE, NO WAY!” and then put my yellow Aiwa Walkman back on, blasting a mixtape that no doubt had at least 9 Bone Thugs songs on it mixed in with Gino Vannelli.

Please enjoy some ticket stubs now.

I’m sure I must have missed a season or two, and I know that 2020 was definitely a sit-out for us (I can’t remember if they were even open – I think they were but I was scared to chance it), but I have been around for nearly every season, multiple moves, cast changes, and eventually even started going to the no-scare matinees once Chooch came onto the scene:

Baby’s First Castle Blood Walk-Thru!

Getting to attend the Friends and Family Event one years was basically my crowning achievement! I remember going to work and bragging about it and everyone was like, “Wow, you have such a charmed life.”

I will never ever ever ever shut up about Castle Blood. It’s such a unique and spooky alternative to the corporate haunts out there. If you are someone who loves haunted houses but can’t get any friends to go with you because they’re scared, please suggest this one to them because while it is spooky (it’s located in a former funeral home, for God’s sake), it leans more toward the gothic Addam’s Family vibe. You *will* get heckled and belittled by the undead residents, and you *will* have your intelligence put to the test (literally), but you will have so much doing it. Get some co-workers together for a team-building experience! Take your kids/neighbor’s kids/grandkids/random kid from the corner for the matinee event!

Just trust me. Go get your tickets here. And tell them that Oh Honestly Erin sent you! (But if you tell BORIS*, he probably won’t care!)

*(MY FAVE. HE IS SO MEAN TO ME AND I LOVE IT.)

Oct 082022
 

Today is apparently National Haunted House Day so I guess it’s a good day to share some pictures of the haunts we’ve done so far this season!

Last week, we went to Haunted Hollow on Friday, and Infernum In Terra on Sunday, the latter of which has solidified itself in my short list of faves now that I’ve had two amazing experiences there in a row! Here are some pictures, first from Haunted Hollow:

I mean, he had the option to stay home but he CHOSE this.

I’m excited that it’s flannel and beanie weather – my favorite Henry OOTD!

This Beetlejuice did a great job projecting his namesake’s sleaziness, that’s for sure. I have never been called sweetheart and touched so much by one stranger in…well, it’s happened before but it’s been a while, lol. This place was OK. It’s a walk-thru, a non-scary hayride (it’s basically just a mode of transportation to get you to the outdoor section), a trail, and a very small corn maze. We had fun but I wouldn’t be pushing people out of the way to get back in line, if you know what I mean.

I didn’t realize until later that Chooch was using an ear of cob (given to him by a scare actor in the maze as a prop), lol. It’s actually still sitting on our kitchen counter.

The next one is 100% worth the drive to WV (not that far from us, actually):

Look, one day one of our descendants will be thankful for all these dumb selfies. MAYBE.

I wonder what selfies will be like in the future…

They had a really long debate about how to scale a barbed wire fence, how tall the ladder would need to be, the probability of breaking bones upon landing – it was all very boring for me. I need to make some friends.

But yeah, all the details are in my HAUNTED HOUSE JOURNAL as usual but this one is incredible. When it comes to my style of haunted houses, I’m all about the cozy October feels, the 90s nostalgia, the perfect blend of giddiness and fear and this one checks all the boxes. It reminds me of the ones that used to be a dime a dozen around Pittsburgh in the 90s – at the YMCA, firehalls, abandoned schools. I’m not trying to say this is hokey or cheesy – just that they put more emphasis on the scare actors (they all seem like high school students) than some fancy Hollywood set design with no one in the room to scare you.

I loved it! The highlight was when I couldn’t bend down to walk through a corridor/tunnel that had one of those damn black inflatable things lining the top, so I dramatically fell to my knees while screaming, “MY BACK HURTS I CAN’T DO THIS” only to be face-to-face with a “dead girl” on the other side who broke character and laughed at me.

Then last night, we went to Crawford School of Terror!

We’ve been going to this one since it first debuted onto the scene several years ago (I think we missed one season) and I can honestly say that this one gets better and better without selling out (well, it’s definitely seen a bit of a price inflation since the early years, though, I’ll tell you that much!).

It used to be $15, according to my haunted house journal! And last year it was $20! It’s hard for me to say if *any* haunted attraction is worth this much but I will tell you that I walked out of there not fussing about the admission price at all because it was SO FUCKING GOOD.

Henry waited outside since it was more expensive this year and we have our Newark (ughughugh) trip in a few days. Thank god one of us is economically conscious. But really, when you’re a family who is really into haunted houses and tries to go to as many as possible every season, it gets extremely expensive. We’re not poor BUT WE AIN’T RICH either.

You guys. This was the first one is A WHILE that had me so scared at one point that my heart was galloping, and I actually walked through the last portion of the three-level school with my hand clamped firmly over my chest, chanting, “OMG OMG OMG.” Lol. I’ll just tell you that there was a hide and seek portion. And there was a song playing. And there were no lights. And, that song. OMG that song. :/

You know they did it right when we came out and Chooch strode right over to Henry and started telling him stuff about it. You know, Mr. “IDK I Guess Mmm”? He actually had a lengthy verbal review!

This is another great example of a place that stacks their haunt with kids (mostly kids, some adults) who put their whole-ass heart into it. And the rooms are decorated SO WONDERFULLY! I don’t think there was a single room that didn’t have a scare actor in it, nor was there a single room where I didn’t scream my face off. I love this place SO MUCH and was so amped on the way home that I actually declared that I would consider going back there again – IN THE SAME HAUNT SEASON. That almost *never* happens unless it’s Castle Blood!

Fuck all those commercial cash-grab haunts that pay for the “Scariest in America!” title. I’m done with Hundred Acres Manor, been done with Scare House (save for last year when I had a temporary lapse in judgment), and I’m even over Demon House because while at least there is a Groupon for this every year so it’s not that expensive, it just doesn’t live up to the hype or its potential. They have such a great space and what they *do* have set up inside the house is cool, but then it just gets really boring/lame/anti-climactic. Like, there’s an entire clown portion that never gets updated and it is sooooo dumb. But I do like their ticketing system where they give you a group number so you can roam around, get food, watch a horror movie in the outdoors theater, sit by a fire, and wait for your group number to be called. So much better than waiting in a fucking line. I HATE LINES. I mean, who loves them? Find a line-lover, and there’s the real monster right there.

Well, this is getting rambly and Henry has some chores that I need to supervise. I will be back with more haunted check-ins later on in the month!

Sep 262022
 

Before I start this post, I want to express my sadness for the terrible events that took place at Kennywood, the night after Henry and I were there. Honestly, nothing related to gun violence is shocking or surprising anymore, but it’s still very much sad and maddening. It’s very fortunate that no one sustained life-threatening injuries, but the fact that a gun was even able to make it into Kennywood at all is a huge problem. The part that made me angry-laugh was that I actually thought, “Well, it sounds like it was at least just a regular gun and not an assault rifle” Because that’s where we are right now in America, I guess. “Thank god it was a least-bad type of gun.” “Oh, thank god it was just a dispute between people who knew each other and not a random mass shooting.” “Thank god that person was ‘just shot in the leg’ and nowhere worse.” I could go on and on but it’s the same effing story every damn time. Come the fuck on, America. 

I hope everyone involved have speedy recoveries and no PTSD, though that’s one hell of a hope. :/

I haven’t been to Kennywood’s Fright Fest, or whatever they’re calling it now, since 2006. And as much as my appreciation for Kennywood has grown over the years, I gotta be real here: I am REALLY glad we didn’t pay for this. Since it was the Pass Holder preview or whatever, the crowds were fairly light and but the lines for the haunts were pretty long. I would have been a lot angrier about that if we had paid to get in.

I’ll save the haunt reviews for my WRITTEN JOURNAL that no one cares about, but I’ll just say here that we only did two – Villa of the Vampire and Malice in Wonderland – and the cemetery walk-thru.

The best part of Villa was standing in line (we did this right when we got there, well, ok, after Henry peed, so the line wasn’t too outrageous yet, maybe 25-30 minutes) was watching this little boy get totally pwned (do the kids still use this word? and by kids, I mean people who are now probably 35?) by the clowns at the entrance to one of the scare zones. He was acting so tough until one of them chased him and then he let loose the mots high-pitched shriek YA’LL EVER DID HEARD. He was super entertaining, especially when he asked some old man if he could borrow his cane to beat the clown!

Highlight of the Villa: Luca, the vampire in the beginning that I immediately imprinted on, and the old ass Vamp King who descended from his throne in order to get in my face and ask me to be his Queen.

“Sure, I’m single,” I shrugged.

Everything else was dumb and by “everything else” I mean the absolute nothingness that happened.

The sign was cool though.

Honestly though the best part was getting to ride the coasters, boiiii. Here we are in line for Jack Rabbit which was almost a walk-on.

Also – Chooch didn’t go with us because he was SO TIRED. And also, HIS PARENTS ARE LAME.

After this, we waited in line for the Alice in Wonderland thing for AN HOUR. Maybe longer. Apparently, it’s an upcharge on normal operating nights? I mean, there was a ticket booth, so I dunno. The line was pretty uneventful except for:

  • annoying teenagers who bitched about their Pepsi tasting like Not Pepsi, Maybe Poison but still drinking it, taking pictures of each other for a solid minutes using the .5x option.
  • little kid crying because he lost his spider ring and I totally knew where it was in line because I remember staring at it and willing it to come to life and infecting me with venom while Henry was talking about something dumbz0rz, but then his mom walked back through the line until she found it so I didn’t get to be a hero :(
  • seeing one of the scare actors and realizing he used to work at Castle Blood.
  • two skunks scuttling around the Steel Curtain area, looking for a food. An old man security guard kept watch.
  • Old Man Security Guard asked the line attendant, “Is that group going in next?” she said yes. “Can I go with them?” she said yes. Now annoying teens with their annoying selfies and Poison Pepsi were going through a haunted house with a POPO lololol. They looked very not happy about this but the hilarious thing is that my takeaway from his exchange with the line attendant was that he was on his break and just genuinely wanted to check out a haunt. See what all these civilians were lining up for.

All I’ll say about this one is that immediately I was S T O K E D. The actors were very made-up, super into character, the room designs were immersive and creepy-whimsical, there were genuinely good jump scares, the Tea Party room was chaotic as it should be, there was a really great mirror illusion involving a banquet table, the Queen was scary….all of this happened in the first 5 minutes, so much to pack in! And then after the Queen, the exit to the Steelers County courtyard.

The end.

An hour in line for 5 minutes inside.

NOPE, KENNYWOOD. That’s not how this shit works are you new???

I would have been PISSED if I paid to get in, first of all, and then paid extra on top of that.

Man, so much potential with this one!

Then we had pizza and I was served some old-ass corner piece that was about 3/4 crust and Henry was like, “Do you want me to ask them for another piece?” and I said, “no” in my pouty tone, but then Henry asked anyway and the 12-year-old kid working was like, “I just put in a new cheese pizza, if you don’t mind waiting” and you know what? I did mind waiting, so I took my dumb crust piece and sulked off. Henry picked the pepperoni off of his slice and gave me half because he didn’t want the night to take a turn.

While we were eating, Old Man Security Guard strode by, shoveling the last quarter of a pizza slice into his bent back head and then stuff the paper plate into one of the clown trash cans in Kiddie Land.

“Wow, he is literally having the best night ever,” I said, watching him meander off toward another haunt. Love that for him.

Terrible haunts aside, it’s always nice to be at an amusement park on a chilly fall night, fog in the air, creepy lighting illuminating the paths. The scare zones were pretty fun, I will say.

This is actually where the shooting took place the next night. :(

Everyone knows by now that the real reason we went that night was to ride our One True Love, Phantom’s Revenge. <3

There were two young girls in the row next to us and the older one was seamlessly roping me into their conversation. She was telling me ALL KINDS OF STORIES like how Black Window broke down recently and everyone got stuck upside for an hour. I went along with it but Black Widow doesn’t go upside down and I’m pretty sure she’s confusing it with Aero360 which got stuck for 5 minutes earlier in the season.

I also told her I liked her shoelaces and Chooch would have been melting into the ground from the sheer force of the secondhand cringe.

But OH BABY Phantom in the pitch darkness on a chilly night, plummeting into darkness…this is the best part of Kennywood. This is why enthusiasts ALL OVER THE WORLD have Kennywood on their bucket list.

So damn good, it’s almost disgusting.

And it was FLYING that night. So smooth!! No back-crunching!

After that, we did Exterminator – lights out! I love this ride so much but the last couple of times I rode it, I started to not love it as much. Well, my love rebloomed last Friday because this was hands down the best ride I’ve ever had on it. I was scream-laughing SO HARD, ask Henry. Go on, ask him!

What else – we rode SWINGSHOT which has replaced Aero360 as my favorite flat ride. I love that stupid ride so much and I can’t believe that it was actually the LAST TIME I was at Fright Fest in 2006 that I ride it for the very first time with Kara and then quickly vowed to never ever ever ride that fucker again. I’m so glad I let Chooch talk me back on it when he was younger because wow, a trip to K-wood is not complete without at least one ride on this thing. My only complaint is that I am CERTAIN the cycles are shorter  now and that makes me sad.

Also, I thought my ex-boyfriend Jeff was riding this with us but my eyes are bad and it probably wasn’t him. I mean, I haven’t seen him since the year we broke up (2001!!) so I wouldn’t really know what he looks like aside from what I see on Insta.

One more ride on Phantom and it was 10:30 already. Park closed at 11 but I was SHIVERING and Needy Chooch was texting us for food, god it’s always something with him!! J/k we love that pest.

Henry thought I was getting in line to go through the Vampire thing again and then we had a big laugh about that, lol.

The facade was so nice though! Maybe they just did a half-staff thing for pass holder preview but if that’s the case, that’s pretty rude.

P.S. I forgot about the cemetery. It was very very very tame but I enjoyed this ghost bitch wading in the green-lit fountain.

Sep 172022
 

The rest of the evening in the Dells was spent doing spooky stuff. Well, some might find the word “hokey” to be more accurate lol. Shockingly, the Dells is kind of like the dollar store knock off of a tourist trap town so while places like Pigeon Forge and ugh shit what is that main drag called in Niagara Falls? You know the one. CLIFTON HILL! While places like that gouge your wallet and practically start in on your organs, the Dells had a lot of really stupid attractions that were only $5! So since we had time to kill, we bit.

First, we went to the Haunted Mansion on the main drag. It was….a place. No live actors, nothing super memorable. When we came out, there was a group of people standing on the sidewalk, contemplating. “Was it any good?” they asked. I hesitated MAJORLY and I think that was all they needed, because I could see them glance at other but then I added, “I mean, there aren’t any scare actors in there or anything,” and they all collectively made a FUCK THAT air expulsion and walked away.

We made a quick stop to this river walk thing but didn’t go very far because Chooch was whining about wanting to go back to the room to charge his phone because god forbid he might some amazing message in the MEXICO SQUAD group chat, so we turned around just in time for some man to ask me, and I do mean me because he only locked eyes with me,  “Does this go down to the river?”

I shrugged stupidly and said I didn’t know, then mumbled, “WTF do I look like, the Wisconsin Dells docent??”

Oh I know what happened next – the big fight about ice cream. LOL.

Our hotel had coupons for $2 off this Ghost Outpost thing so we grabbed some and headed on over. I had seen this mentioned on various WHAT TO DO IN THE DELLS YouTube videos and had hoped it would be cool like the one in Gatlinburg.

NO! IT WAS SO STUPID! JUST LIKE THE LAST PLACE! The only good thing is that it ended up being only $3 a person with our SUPER 8 coupons lol.

I dunno what got into Henry but he was like, “Let’s do this one too” and so we walked over to the Lost Temple which…I have no idea wat the point was but it was dumb too. Super low quality but then suddenly, singing tree:

I just honestly have nothing else to say about these two places. Avoid them? There. Two word review!

Finally, it was time to check in for our 8:40 reservation on the GHOST BOAT! I can’t believe I got Henry to sign on to this because he usually like YOU TWO CAN DO IT, I’LL DROP YOU OFF. He really hates spending money on things like, Tight Wads Gonna Wad Tight, you know? But when we were at Mt. Olympus earlier that day, he was like OK FINE and this was like HOURS after I had originally suggested it, and not like right after one of my nagging sessions, so this tells me that it was on his mind of his own accord and that he secretly really must have wanted to do this.

Please note: this wasn’t like one of those $5 haunts – this was an actual river boat ride at night, with a haunted walk. I think it was around $40/pp so this was more of a splurge but when in Wisconsin Dells, amirite?!

First off, once we went inside the Ghost Boat waiting area, they took pictures of each group so I was really stoked because we don’t have many family pictures that aren’t selfies. There were long pew-like benches set up in a serpentine manner inside the room and we were told to go all the way down as far as we could and take a seat. I really liked this set-up because it was ORGANIZED and assured that you were going to get to board in order of arrival. Frequent visitors to this dumping ground of the Internet will note that I am notoriously high-strung when it comes to standing in line, getting good spots, losing my spot, dealing with line-jumpers, etc. So props to the Ghost Boat people for doing the Lord’s work on this one.

HOWEVER!! There was OF COURSE that ONE group who decided that they were going to just waltz right up to the front when it was time to stand up and have our tickets scanned so that we could then walk down to the loading area. They completely skipped past all of the benches and tried to cut through along the side but the ticket scanner, AKA MY HERO, was like “no can do, back of the line for you” and I actually did a fist bump out in the open because I feel like more often than not, people in that position just roll over for line-jumpers! This was a fairly big group too – I feel like there were 8 or so, some extended family sitch, I dunno.

I was happy because not only were we far enough ahead in line to sit on top of the boat, we also snagged the last row of three seats in the very back. I’m a back of the boat/bus/coaster type of bitch, as you know.

The boat ride portion was really fun! Well, for everyone else. For me, I was too busy obsessing over the semi-big spider that was on the move RIGHT NEXT TO ME. I couldn’t lean back and relax like everyone else – I had to sit twisted at an angle, with my back up against Henry’s side, never taking my eyes off the railing. Some spooky recording was playing, relaying the ghostly story of the lake or whatever, but I legit missed the whole thing, my arachnid focus was *that* intense.

However, I was aware of the part of the boat ride where the engine was cut off so that we could glide between a cavern thing which Henry just told me was basically THE DELLS. It was really cool yet incredibly eerie at night. The water sloshing against  the rock walls just added to the vibe, like we were in a live action horror film, at the point where something was going to go terribly awry. To be honest, this part alone was worth the price of the Ghost Boat.

I took this picture earlier that evening when we returned to the river walk and walked the whole way down (I can now go back in time and tell that man that no, it does not actually take you all the way down next to the water). The boat went all the way straight back into the trees and then the dell stuff happened. Henry said he looked at pictures of it online, daytime pictures, and the part where the boat slipped through was “actually really cool, we should do it during the day next time.”

HE SAID NEXT TIME. WE’RE GOING BACK, Y’ALL.

Anyway, the next part of the excursion had us docking and walking up a slight hill where we all gathered outside of a restroom. This bathroom break took FOREVER. It was so annoying. I also got stuck standing near the Line-Jumpers and that was annoying. They thought they were going to be FIRST but guess what? Where they were standing wasn’t actually the starting point of the trail –  it was off to the left and we had to walk down steps. So since I had been standing to the left of them, I got to go before them HA IT’S WHAT YOU DESERVE, ASSHOLES! While we were standing there talking to the guide, someone pointed out that there was a spider on some man’s back. He swept it off and then the guide STEPPED ON IT and I immediately panicked.

“What if that was my spider,” I hissed at Henry, who mumbled, “That was not your spider, wait, I thought you hated that spider?”

“I mean, yeah, but I also spent the whole boat ride trying to make sure it didn’t die and I feel horrible if I did all that just for some bitch to boot-stomp him!” I wailed.

“It wasn’t the same spider,” Henry sighed.

You guys, the actual haunted trail wasn’t exactly “scary” because our group had like 80 people, I swear to god, and the scare actors were fine and all but how scared can you really get when you’re in a group that large? We were toward the front of the group at least so that was good. Literally had no idea what was going on because it was dark, foggy, creepy blue lights were blinding us at every turn…but at some point we entered what literally felt like a cavern and I was seriously concerned about bashing my head off the side of a rock formation.

Henry was very concerned about the safety measurements of the walking portion of the Ghost Boat, as in, were there any?

“How long have they been doing these tours? It doesn’t seem very safe. I could easily see people getting seriously injured out there,” Henry said the next day in the car en route to the next destination. I mean, he’s not wrong. The couple in front of me didn’t realize there was a ramp to walk on and kept walking next to it, ground-level, which appeared to have some sort of drop-off next to it. They realized they were going the wrong way before they turned into lemmings walking off a ledge into a gorge.

I got singled out at one point as usual – no matter how big the crowd, they will always single me out. The person asked the little girl behind us if she knew me and Chooch’s names, and she said, “Um, Dylan and Elenor” and then when the ghost person asked Henry what they were, he said, “Dylan and Elenor” and the little girl was like, “OMG I WAS RIGHT??” and from that moment on, I became acutely aware of her presence and the fact that she never shut the fuck up. Lowkey hated her, especially because she kind of looked like RUTHIE from 7th Heaven.

UGH.

RUTHIE was so fucking annoying!

That who show was so fucking annoying!

We had to walk back the same way we came, which meant going through the weird cavern part again. Chooch said one of the scare actors hit her head on the rock and THE WAY THAT I AM NOT SUPRISED YO.

Of course it ended with a chainsaw guy, possibly the only chainsaw guy in the history of chainsaw guys that ever failed to scare me. Probably because before he went back and grabbed his chainsaw, he was casually walking along with the front of our group, talking to everyone. Of course RUTHIE turned on the dramatics though and screamed shrilly while pushing her way through all of us.

Ugh.

Back on the boat. It was a different boat so I had no way of checking for my spider. This time, the very last row of seats was just a two-seater, so we had to sit in the row directly in front of that. In hindsight, I wish Chooch and I had just grabbed that last row and made Henry sit somewhere else because TWO PEOPLE FROM THE LINE-JUMPER GANG sat there and they were so very utterly annoying. Definitely in their late teens/early 20s, and part of that generation that talks just to talk. Nothing either one of them said had any weight or meaning to it. Just lots of, “Yeah”s and “Same”s and at one point, the girl part of the duo talked about her sleeping preferences while the guy interjected grunts of agreement here and there. And they both had REALLY STUPID VOICES. Like, the voices of stupid people. Sorry if you think that’s mean BUT THIS BLOG IS A SAFE SPACE FOR ME TO PLUNK OUT MY HONEST THOUGHTS. These kids were fucking STUPID. Especially when they were trying to act like astrologists and the guy was like, “I watch <some science show> and am basically a scientist now.” SIGH.

These poor stars. They had so much to say about them.

Anyway, that was the whole boat ride back, trying so hard to not listen to their basic conversations but being unable to get away from it since they were talking at a volume 5x what was appropriate for a nighttime boat ride with strangers.

Then I made Henry pay $28 for a portrait package so now we have like 12 copies of this photo. Guess some lucky people will get one tucked inside this year’s Christmas card.

I do really like this picture even though we look like 3 strangers picked at random to stand in front of the Ghost Boat backdrop. AFFECTION? WHAT IS AFFECTION? I’m actually surprised that Chooch as least smiled but Henry looks like he’s our warden, ready to break out the taser the moment one of us tries to flee. Look at that balled-up fist!

Nov 082021
 

My beloved haunted house tattoo was TINGLING this year. I will be honest here and admit that the last couple of years leading up to 2020, I felt myself falling a bit out of love with haunted houses. It’s a combination of my friends outgrowing it, and then the ones who really do love it moved away (Laura, I miss you so much, but especially in October), so it would usually end up just being me and Chooch, sometimes Henry if the haunt wasn’t too $$$ (Henry is a tight wad, you guys). And then it was just kind of like the same old, same old. You know?

But then 2020 happened and even though some haunts still opened during the pandemic with precautions in place, none of us felt like risking it since vaccinations weren’t happening yet.

So I don’t know if taking that season off was what needed to happen for my heart to grow fond again (lol) or what, but this year reignited that flame and my heart was once again a motherfucking farm bonfire next to a queue for a haunted hayride.

That being said: shit son, this past weekend was rough because I knew deep in my heart that it was time to accept the fact that Halloween/haunted house season is officially over. I mean, it’s always Halloween in my heart and of course it doesn’t have to be with the TikTok kids and influencers call “spooky season” to be able to enjoy horror movies but we all know that majority of haunted houses call it quits on the last weekend of October.

However! There are a handful that extend the creepy fun to the first weekend of November so we took advantage of that!

One of those was Scarehouse. I have a HUGE CHIP ON MY SHOULDER with this one and have actually removed it from my “must visit” list about 10 years ago or so. Long enough ago that Chooch has never been there, let’s put it that way. I started going to this haunt in its inaugural season and followed them through two? three? location changes. And in the beginning years, it was decent! But like Hundred Acres Manor, it grew too big and then they started paying for the “best in Pittsburgh” title and it turned into a shit show. For a while there, they were even  the most expensive haunt in the land and it pissed me off because we would wait in line for upwards of 2 hours just to be herded through like cattle in way too large groups so it just wasn’t scary or fun.

But they moved to ANOTHER new location this season and I figured, “OK FINE I WILL GIVE IT A CHANCE BECAUSE I AM A FUCKING SUCKER.” Plus, you can buy tickets in blocks of time so you’re guaranteed to go in within that 30 minute block – allegedly, anyway. I was correct in assuming that it wouldn’t be crowded on a Friday night post-season so there were only about 5 groups ahead of us and it moved speedily.

I *almost* ate crow that night because they sent everyone in with just their own group, no cattle-herding, and the first part of the haunt was actually pretty cool. I was like, “OK SCAREHOUSE, I SEE YOU.” But then after the first 5 or 10 minutes, about 10 groups had caught up with each other and it was a major traffic jam. Everyone was just slowly shuffling through and next to nothing was happening. Also, I get that their new location is inside a half-desolate mall and I think that part of the theming was like 1990s post-apocalyptic shopping mall rave? I literally have no idea and that actually sounds really cool written down but in reality it was a fucking snooze.

If they could expand upon the beginning section, fucking figure out the pacing issue AFTER 20 YEARS OF THIS BULLSHIT, and I dunno, make it actually scary, then I will go back. But this ain’t it, Scarehouse.

“And that’s exactly why I waited out here,” Henry said when we rejoined him in the empty food court, bloated with complaints that needed to be filed. Oh and also I fell inside one of those stupid inflatable things and have a huge bruise on my knee, so double-fuck you, Scarehouse. The best part of that night was going to a nearby Target afterward and buying a Christmas train cat scratch pad thingie for Drew and Penelope, to add their gigantic collection of cardboard Target cat houses.

However!! The next night while Chooch was at work, Henry and I went to Wells Township Haunted House in Brilliant, Ohio. I always see this one in the listings but I guess the fact that it says “Ohio” always deterred me because in my mind everything in Ohio is at least 2 hours away. This is less than an hour from Pittsburgh though!! It’s actually kind of near Dark View, which we LOVE but sadly didn’t make it to this year.

So, we almost didn’t come to this one because it was a lights out tour and, having never been there before, I worried that it would be a bad “first time” experience. However, our other WE’RE STILL OPEN THIS WEEKEND! option was Haunted Hills Estate in Uniontown and they too were doing a lights out tour. And the big draw for that one is their challenge trail so I thought it would be kind of dumb to go there and miss out on that portion because it seemed like that wasn’t happening. Finally, I was like, “OK, I’m calling it. We’re going to the one in Ohio. At least it’s something to do.”

Because honestly, I have been having so much this season with Henry! It gives me hope that even once Chooch is out of the house, we still have a chance of having fun together! Maybe! Lol!

We got there a bit before 7 and it was really nice because you get assigned a group # once you pay, so just like Rich’s Fright Farm and Demon House, you can mingle about and not have to stand in line for an hour+. They had some hobo fires going and I was practically climbing inside one, I was so cold. (If this was an “out loud” story in real time, Henry would interrupt this part to mumble, “It wasn’t that cold.”) They had super loud hard rock playing on giant speakers with the corresponding music videos projected onto the side of the building, which kept us entertained. Plus there were some monsters milling around too, and at one point the chainsaw brigade was unleashed so waiting for our #16 to display on the LED sign was not a boring activity.

Um, you guys? I get it now. I know why they’re #1. This was the best one I went to all fucking season, and even  the last several seasons if we’re being honest. Possibly the best one since my BELOVED VICTORY HAUNTED SCHOOL SHUTTERED ITS DOORS. I’m not sure if this was just because of the “lights out” liabilities or if it’s always like this, but we had to sign a waiver before entering, and then Henry was given a glow stick to help illuminate the way.

And from the moment that door shut behind us, it was a TOUCHING FREE-FOR-ALL. I don’t think I have ever been touched so intimately in public by so many strangers before, honestly, and I know it should seem like this would be something that me, of all people, would be highly opposed to, but there is something about being groped in the dark in a haunted house by “monsters” that is EROTICALLY  THRILLING TO ME AND CLEARLY I HAVE SOME NICHE FETISHES, most of which revolve around Halloween / haunted houses, I guess.

Henry said they barely touched him at all, but sometimes his beard would get stroked, and I was like, “Oh shit, Mary, they were all over me!” He just laughed and said he noticed. I fucking loved it though. Like, I am giving you my money to scare me (safely though, I won’t do any of that hardcore shit where they give you a safe word and make you do disgusting things – I know my limits) so fucking scare me, bitches. And they did, from start to finish! I screamed my face off and laughed hysterically through the entire building and I couldn’t stop talking about it the next day.

The pacing was *CHEF’S KISS* too. Those actors knew how to run that shit and made sure we either chased through or stalled at various points so we never caught up to any groups until the very end, which (no spoilers in case you feel like going next year!!) was understandable because of the way it ended.

According to their website, being touched there is not just a “lights out” thing but something that they do on regular nights, but the guy who gave us the run-down of the ruled that night did say that with the lights-out tour, the groups are smaller to make it more intimate and it sounds like the regular haunted house tours are guided? So I will definitely be returning next year on a regular night (Henry said we can probably do that one and Dark View on the same night – double-haunt nights are a 1990s throwback dream!) to see if I still think it’s the best one but in any case, I think I will be adding their lights out event to my regular rotation!

OMG I was so pumped after we left this one. What a fucking way to end the 2021 season! And hilariously, I almost made an Instagram post last week giving a shout out to my top haunts of the season, thinking that the ones I went to this past weekend likely wouldn’t change my rankings. Wow. WOWOWOWOWOWOW. I was wrong on both ends, because I added a new top #1 AND and a new “worst” to the list, even though let’s be real, I expected that shit from Scarehouse, lol.

What a season of exceptional scares, high-throttle giggle fits, and acting like a brand new high school couple with Henry!

Nov 032021
 

You know, even though I smashed up the car earlier in the day on Friday, the weekend was still OK. I mean, as long as I could get myself to stop dwelling on it! We kicked off Halloweekend by picking up Surly Son from work on Friday evening and then driving out to a new-to-us haunt in Ellwood City called Fearscapes. Apparently this is its third year but I had never heard of it. Chooch didn’t notice the door when he got in the car, out of the car at the haunted house, or into the car after the haunted house. Captain Obliv.

There were only around 3 groups of people in front of us but they were waiting a good 10 minutes before sending the next people through. Luckily, it was a dry, mild night and we were entertained by a pig-man who liked my jean jacket.

No, not Henry! Like, a guy wearing an actual pig mask.

Chooch was “so tired” because he went to school “all day” and then worked for 2 and a half hours. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD, SONNY BOY.

Anyway, it was a good haunted house! Well, I wouldn’t call it a haunted “house” as much as a haunted “attraction,” and I think that’s what it was billed as anyway. I don’t want to give anything away but I’ll just say that it was definitely one of the more unique haunts I’ve walked through and there was a special appearance by The Stolen Stitches that was super entertaining! I think if they could just expand a bit and add some more rooms, make it a bit longer, it would be even better. But, at only $15 a ticket (hey, that’s cheap in hauntland), it was pretty exceptional.

I just have been having so much fun going to haunted houses with these guys this season, to the point where it really feels like I’m a teenager again. I don’t know if it’s simply because we took a season off due to covid or what, but I was admittedly losing some of that Hallow-lust over the last several years.

Afterward, we went to Sheetz so Mr. Workaholic could get food, wah wah wah, and this was when he finally noticed that something was amiss with the back door. Henry was getting gas so as Chooch and I were walking into Sheetz together, he was grilling me about the car and I snapped, “Your dad did it OK, it’s actually none of your business, why do you care so much???” and he cried, “Oh OK, as if you probably weren’t pissed off too when you saw that he smashed the car!”

(FYI the car IS NOT SMASHED….just…dented a bit.)

So then later I heard him interrogating Henry about it and Henry shouted, “I HIT A PILLAR OK DROP IT!!”

SEE THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I DIDN’T WANT CHOOCH TO KNOW WHAT I DID. He turns into AggroDad!

My favorite part of all of this is how quickly one little “fib” has spiraled out into A WEB OF LIES. This is jumping out of order, but the next day, Henry parked the car in the driveway instead of the lot across the street like usual, and I freaked out because now the neighbors were going to see The Door. He was like NO THEY WON’T but then his kid Blake came home with his fam and IMMEDIATELY asked Henry “What happened to your car??” Because Blake and Chooch talk every day, Henry had to tell The Lie to Blake now, as well. I heard him say it too, totally effortlessly. “I hit a pillar.” And then he changed the subject, lol.

BUT!! Blake’s BFF works with Henry as a driver. So when he saw the car this week, Henry had to tell him the same thing. And now that this kid knew The Lie, Henry had to continue weaving the messy web all over the Faygo Factory. And of course, since he works with all Big Manly Men, they are all grilling him with additional questions, such as, “Did you tell the cemetery after it happened? Why not?” and Henry just mumbles,  “Because I’m a dumb ass.”

THIS IS SO STUPID YET HILARIOUS TO ME! I mean, it’s not funny that we now have to wait a full month before the shop (or “fixer people” as I like to call them) can take our car in, and that’s only if they’re able to get the new door by then since the car is a 2021 and apparently parts for brand new cars are hard to get, I am learning so much from Henry’s Big Accident.

Meanwhile at Sheetz on Friday, some man kept bending over to look at snacks and was like thrusting his ass out so far that I had to keep going down other aisles because there was no room to pass him. Apparently, he was stealing beef jerky (according to Henry).

I took this picture of Henry doctoring his Sheetz cold brew because I needed a picture to go along with a caption talking about how, in a moment of frustration from Chooch and I following him around the store, he sighed in exasperation and said, “I love you two to the death, but it’s like you’re attached to me by a rubber band.” LOL it’s so true though. We’re like that old ass Nintendo game, Lemmings. If Henry walked off a cliff, we’d be right behind him.

Well…lol.

On Saturday, my Halloween sampler from WeVegan Eats arrived and everything was DELECTABLE. My favorite was the big ass taro cookie sandwich.

One of these days I will go full vegan. Right now I’m about 70% vegan, 100% vegetarian. But I take the full-blown vegan option anytime I’m out and I haven’t eaten real cheese at home in over a year now at this point. (CHAO is my fave vegan cheese brand, in case you were wondering. It is fucking delicious.)

Saturday night, Henry the Car Wrecker and I went to Crawford School of Terror in Connellsville. I HAVE BEEN HAVING THE BEST TIME HAVING HAUNTED DATE NIGHTS WITH THIS OAF, even when he basically wears the same flannel every single time because it’s essentially his “jacket.” We listened to the Black Queen the whole way there and I felt super content. Like, how have we been  together for 20 years and still actually like each other? BRB I’m crying a little.

Um, I’m going to be RULL BRAZEN here but I think this is the BEST HAUNT I went to this season. I was laughing and screaming my fucking ugly face off all the way through it and even Henry was smiling and admitted that some of the jump scares were effective.

But my favorite part was “Georgie,” the weird swamp-mummy thing that was running around outside the school with some short kid in a large suit and old man mask on. His handler I guess? Henry said that Georgie was actually the name of the weird sock-doll thing that he was carrying around, but a bunch of kids were calling him Georgie and kids know it all, so.

At one point, I turned to Henry with my hands clasped over my chest and he knew exactly what I was going to say: “I think I found my new Vlad.”

For those of you who are lucky enough to not be forced to hang out with me IRL, especially in The Younger Years, here is an excerpt from one of my old-ass haunted house journals where I met Vlad for the first time. OMG in 2003!! I have obsessed over him (and this haunted trail which has long since been defunct) ever since. The things I latch on to, tho.

[Original content edited heavily to achieve brevity]
Friday, October 31, 2003
Igor’s Fright Shack
Accompanied by: Hoover, Corey, Keri and Dean

My company and I walked down a torch-lit trail and were met up with our guide. He was wearing a tattered suit and surgical mask, and was hunched over. He jumped around like a monkey and had a raspy voice. We deduced that this was going to be one of those haunted walks that comes complete with a story. We were supposed to be paying attention but Dean was crying like a kindergartner on his first day of school. That made it a little distracting. On top of that, Keri was singing love songs to her breasts.

Our guide led us into “the hollow” which was some sort of tunnel covered with plastic. Once we got to the end, the lights went off and monsters arose from the sides. It was cool. Dean peed himself. Silly Dean.

After we emerged from “the hollow,” my life changed. Here, we met Vladimir, Igor’s project. Vladimir came running down a hill at us, grunting and moaning. Poor Vlad. He was all kinds of fucked up. But as we all know, based on my current and past boyfriends, looks don’t mean a THANG to me, g.

I fell in <3 with Vladimir at that moment. It was instantaneous. My Vlad made me forget all my troubles and for that brief moment, it was only me and Vladimir, running through a pasture of emeralds and homefries. It made my heart swell.

Everyone else continued walking down the path but they were invisible to me. Vlad was all I could see now. His beautifully marred face, one eyeball hanging out of the socket, twisted mouth. What’s not to love? He continued walking with our group, right next to me. Staring at me with those magical eyes. He stretched out his arm, and I stretched out mine, but he was too far away–I got lost in the shuffle of our group and Vlad retreated.

Hold on a second, my eyes are filling with tears of lost love.

[Blah blah blah – technical haunted house stuff because I’m a loser]

We walked onto a covered bridge which smelled weird. Like coal. There were two coffins and someone climbed out of one, which of course, was expected. But given the atmosphere of Igor’s Fright Shack, it still made me jump.

Once we made it across the bridge, monsters started coming out from everywhere and our guide urged us to hurry into the safe confines of a small building up ahead. Corey was pushing and yelling and telling everyone to hurry up because the monsters were closing in on us. But one of those “monsters” was Vladimir! I tried so hard to stay out there with him, but Corey shoved me through the door and our guide locked it. I could see a glimpse of Vlad’s sweet face through the dirty windows and I almost cried. He’s so misunderstood.

Once our guide had all of us safely inside the room, he ripped off his surgical mask and revealed to us his true identity — he’s Igor! I was aghast! I had no idea; oh betrayal, piercing my heart like a broomstick, broken in half so the sharp shards of wood break off inside of me. Or something.

[And then there was a maze and Keri, being her ego-maniacal self, pushed her way to the front of the pack so she could control things.]

Hurray for Keri getting us out in one piece. We should have a parade in her honor.

When we emerged from the shack we realized we were the last group to go through and all the monsters, along with our guide, were beginning to congregate out front by the bonfire.

I searched the grounds for Vlad so I could give him a parting kiss or perhaps take him back to the shack where he could impregnate me with our tawdry love child. But alas, no Vladimir. I’ll forever love him. Now I know what true love feels like.

Igor’s Fright Shack gets five gigantical thumbs up, and Vladimir gets a whole lot of things that will remain undisclosed. Thank you.

I remember that night like it was yesterday, sulking the entire way home and exhaling loudly to make sure Corey and Henry were aware that my heart was breaking. Henry’s remedy? “I’ll take you to Kmart and we’ll find a mask just like Vladimir’s for you to make out with.”

Guys, this is literally what you’re missing out on when I say things like, “SORRY, THIS IS RESERVED FOR MY HANDWRITTEN, PRIVATE HAUNTED HOUSE REVIEW JOURNAL.” Such literary  treasures, I know.

Well, anyway, that was Friday and Saturday of Halloween Weekend. Not too bad, if you ask me.

Oct 262021
 

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!

Castle Blood: The Ultimate Halloween Adventure

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.

Oct 242021
 

I just feel like doing a good ol’ fashioned free-form post today to clear my mind so that’s, that’s just what we’re going to do. Because I said so.

Chooch didn’t have school last Monday, and I was CONVENIENTLY off work (he was like, “YOU DID THIS ON PURPOSE” – who? me?) so I woke his ass up early-ish because I wanted to go out for breakfast. We didn’t have a single BREAKFAST CLUB MEETING all summer because I didn’t feel like fighting to wake him up early and also because…apathy.

But I had been wanting to go to Mediterra Cafe in Mt, Lebanon for quite some time and Monday seemed like JUST THE DAY FOR IT. I already knew that I wanted the 4-Grain Porridge because I love feeling like a fairy tale bitch eating a hot bowl of sludge on a toadstool in the forest. And this shit always fills me up more than more decadent offerings.

Idiot Chooch was like, “I DUNNO, I GUESS THE BREAKFAST SANDWICH” because he is 15 and is unable to do more than just glance at a menu and pick the first meatless thing he sees. I’m surprised he was able to lift his face up from his stupid Discord chat long enough to get his eyes to focus on off-screen words.

Can we talk about this pumpkin spice latte, though? It cost the big bougie bucks and I initially blanched at that because I’m not the biggest PSL (ugh) fan, and I think that Starbucks’ is especially overrated. But this? HOLY. FUCKING. COW. (Literally have never said that in my life, btw, but this latte brings out the potty-mouthed farmgirl side of me I guess.) This was so rich and smooth, none of that synthetic syrup flavoring, with actual SPICES in it. I love a cafe that makes their own pumpkin spice lattes!

I literally have not been able to stop thinking about this cup of hot pumpkin-patched heaven since Monday. I gotta get back there. I’m off all this week so if anyone wants to meet me out there at any point, holler at me, she said into the void.

The only downside to this is that my company left much to be desired. 15-year-olds, man. You just never know what you’re going to get. Some days he can be so talkative and willing to share details of his life, like how some of his friends are having this really stupid feud, or he’ll show me the website he’s been designing for his coding class without me having to ask. Other days, you can’t even ask him a simple question, like, “Are you hungry?” without having your head lopped off with his scythe-tongued retorts. Woo hoo, these years are awesome! My mom was like, “This is payback” but joke’s on her because he’s not even a tiny bit as terrible and gruesome and volatile I was at that age, so.

I mean, I think 15 was the age my mom called the cops on me and tried to have me committed, and I haven’t had to do that to Chooch yet so I think I’m winning this game.

In other Chooch news though, he has been a work-horse for McDonald’s! Part of me can’t believe he’s so into this, but then I remember how money-motivated he is and all the years he spent playing games like Diner Dash and whatever, which has clearly prepared him for the real thing. Lol. He asked to work the max amount of hours allowed for a minor but you can bet your apple-bottomed ass that I am keeping a close eye on this and the second it starts to affect his schoolwork, Mommy’s stepping in.

Anyway, he was on Drive-Thru yesterday and asked us to stop by.

Why is he like this!??! Henry was like, “Doesn’t he know there are cameras everywhere? Idiot.” Lol. Anyway, he reminds me so much of how my brother Ryan was at that age, it’s almost uncanny at times, although I don’t remember Ryan having such a shitty attitude, lol.

Oh and for all that “independent son” talk I have been spitting lately, he lost his work visor (“I left it on my floor so I would know where it was!” he screamed, and like—oh well?) and that thing Henry handed him in the video is a one-time trolley ticket thingie because DUMB ASS lost his student ID which he also needs to ride public transportation for free, so that’s actually the whole reason we were visiting him because I said, “Look bud, MOMMY AND DADDY are going to a haunted house tonight so don’t be calling us to cart your ass home.” Parenting is a fun time.

In NATURE NEWS: We have been terrorized by a family of BLUE JAYS and now Henry is having to buy twice as much peanuts because it’s like fucking hunger games out there between these Blue Jay assholes and my beloved squirrels. Henry was like, “Maybe we should see what blue jays like to eat so they’ll leave the peanuts alone” and I was like OK LET ME RESEARCH THAT SHIT, HEY GOOGLE… and of course what I discovered was:

PEANUTS ABOVE ALL ELSE ARE IRRESISTABLE TO THE LITTLE FUCKERS.

I mean at first it was cool. Like, woo hoo there is a blue jay, wow, oooh. But now they come in trios and they scream bloody murder out there. Like good Lord, take the fucking peanut and leave, you greedy bastards.

So now we’re trying to devise an anti-blue jay feeder for the squirrels, literally the reverse of what people are usually trying to accomplish lol. I just love my squirrels so much! They have been a big bright spot in my life during pandemic times.

And the cats are just like FUCK OUR LIVES.

What else. I finished Season 3 of In The Dark. WHAT A RIDE. That show is so ridiculous and implausible but the cast keeps me coming back. And I just found out it was renewed for a fourth season!! I also started Season 3 of You yesterday so I’ll be dipping into that some more while I’m off for my annual HALLOCATION this week. I dunno what else I’m going to do with myself because the weather is supposed to be dreary and rainy so my plan to go on a million walks has a huge hole in it now. Maybe…mall walks? Lol OMG I’m such an Elder.

Really loving CL’s new music! Here is a great one for you to enjoy on this lovely October Sunday:

She is the fucking queen, legitimately.

My life lately just consists of work, squirrels, and haunted houses. My hand has been straight cramped this month from all the actual writing I’ve been doing in my haunted house journal. It feels so good to be doing this again after taking the 2020 season off because of Covid/not being vaccinated. It’s also been fun going to some with just Henry this season too because it makes me feel like Erin & Henry: The Early Years. We actually first started dating exclusively in the fall of 2001 and I wonder if he was just like, “OK cool, we will go to 2 or 3 haunted houses, I guess” when I was like, “Just an FYI, I am OBSESSED with haunted houses.” And then BAM, I’m presenting him with a list of haunted houses, prices, and dates found in my annual Internet haunt research, while I’m dusting off my haunted house journal.

Like no, dude. I don’t just “like” things. I FUCKING LIVE/EAT/BREATHE things or hate things. There is no in-between.

Well, on that note, I have some stuff to do around the house, things to recap in said haunted house journal, rainy walks to take, books to read, and a haunted house to go to tonight. So ciao for now!

Oct 182021
 

Lol ok it wasn’t quite truly outrageous but it was really nice, nonetheless. I’m just Erin, not Jem, after all.

It is rare that I am in good spirits for an entire weekend without any mood dips or irrational thoughts or, I don’t know, the seam of my sock setting me off. But this was one of those rare weekends where not even Henry’s breathing was getting on my nerves. What the actual fuck, amirite?

Let’s start with Saturday. I was still jonesing for pumpkin ANYTHING after building that pumpkin patch on Thursday; you’d think handling all those pumpkins and getting scratched and scraped by their stems would have completely turned me off but no. I needed sweet pumpkin SOMETHING in my mouth. I saw on Instagram that Valkyrie Donuts had vegan pumpkin pies on hand so I sent Henry on over to Bellevue to procure a pumpkin pie for his princess.

It looked so good! And it was OK! I really liked the texture. But it didn’t have me turning cartwheels in the pumpkin patch of my mind, if you know what I mean. I think also that I’m just very hard to impress in these older years.

Then while Henry was PRIMING THE FRAME FOR MY SEOUL SUBWAY SIGN*, I finished watching Midnight Mass. Oh man, that gets a big HELL NO from me. I’m sorry if it’s your current netflix fave, but the writing, the monologues, and oh FOR FUCK’S SAKE THE ACTING, was excruciating. I really have enjoyed other shows by Mike Flanagan in the past so I was extremely surprised by the amount of ire this series drew up from the depths of my soul. Every fucking time there was a scene with, coincidentally, Erin & Riley, I was snoozin’. The convo they had about death? The way Riley was looking at Erin with that fucking creepy puppy-eyed love-drunk visage? Oh god, no just fuck off.

The only things I liked were Bev – I mean, obviously I hated her character, which was the whole point, but that role was played to perfection. And nothing exciting or even the least bit interesting happened until the penultimate episode, at which point shit hit the fan and I was like, “OK, Mike Flanagan, let’s gooooo” but that wasn’t enough to redeem the series. There is no excuse for the 5 episodes leading up to that, being so dreadful.

Oh, and the Sheriff. Loved him.

Chooch worked from 1:00 to 8:45 both days over the weekend, so Henry was like, “Fine. I will take you to a haunted house since you have no friends” and I was like, “Wow, thanks.” It was weird though! When was the last time Henry and I went to a haunted house, just the two of us, like it was a date?! I mean, I could check my haunted house journals but you don’t care and to be honest, I don’t either, IT WAS RHETORICAL.

Duh.

I even had a GOING ON A DATE TO THE HAUNTED HOUSE ensemble picked out! I will have an entire post with the dumb photoshoot I did to promote this shirt, but for now, here we are, lol.

We went to Scare Manor, which is set up in a field behind an actually haunted building called Hill View Manor. It’s been featured on just about every popular ghost hunting TV show in existence. You could buy a combo ticket to tour the actual manor as well, but we opted to just do the haunt since the manor is open most of the year for tours.

I won’t get into the nitty gritty because I save that for the haunted house journal, don’t you know, but this place charmed my face off. Henry and I were the first people to go through and they sent just the two of us, which always makes this shit better. But this place was OLD SCHOOL. The scare actors were so into it and the set designs reminded me so much of all the haunted houses I loved when I was in high school in the 90s, back when there were so many little charity ones all over and they were cheap enough and close enough that you could go to two or three in one night and wake up  the next morning with NO VOICE from all the hysterical shrieking.

This one tickled me so much that I felt inspired to go back inside the waiting area to let the people at the ticket table know that we loved it.

“Would you be willing to film a testimonial?” the ticket lady asked and I was like, “HO HO HO no.” But then she was like, “IT WILL BE FINE, JUST A QUICK ONE” and I was like, “Um….” because I hate saying no so I was like, “OK haha, fine” and she was like, “Yay let me just call the lady who does that” and then that lady appeared (Lisa I think was her name) and she was like “COOL GREAT I’M JUST GOING TO HAVE YOU STAND OVER HERE” and she made this big production of turning down the lights and putting her flashlight on her phone to illuminate us and now every single person waiting for a tour had turned around to watch, like, “the fuck is happening over there” and Henry muttered, “Thanks a lot, Erin” and I was like, “I will just let you do all the talking since I suck at this” but then Lisa started recording and suddenly PRIME TIME ERIN came out and I was super into it.

I mean, in my head I was. I have no idea how this video turned out because it’s now Monday and nowhere to be seen.

Then we came home and later that night I told Chooch to wash the dishes and he said, “I worked all day” so that was cool. I’m surprised it took him nearly a full week of working to drop that line on me.

The next day, Henry and I went to Many More, an Asian market in the Strip. I needed some more Korean popsicles for the G-Dragon popsicle art I’m making and Henry needed to buy boring stuff like produce. They had a new-to-us KitKat flavor though and I think it’s my new favorite?

It’s like wheat cracker or something? And the chocolate part is like this delicious and mild golden coating and I am so sad that  this isn’t a standard flavor.

Then I found out that there isn’t just one new baby Buddy, there are two! Here’s one chilling with Girl Buddy (aka Mom Buddy) while the other babe was noshing on our windowsill. Before I took this picture, Henry and I had just come from Giant Eagle and I saw Girl Buddy foraging in our front yard, near the street. I knew that they were out of peanuts but we had just bought more at the grocery store, so I crossed the street and said, “Buddy! Come with me! I have peanuts!” and she fucking FOLLOWED ME DOWN THE SIDEWALK TO THE PORCH, where she then skittered around my feet impatiently while I opened the bag of peanuts.

I felt like this was truly Next Level squirrelling. My dream is for them to eventually sit in my lap where I can pet them while they eat their peanuts.

Let’s see, what else. Oh! Henry and I started season three of IN THE DARK Friday night so we watched some of that off and on over the weekend. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to have this show back on my TV! It was such a sleeper hit for me when I accidentally started watching it on Netflix last year. I  got my friend Megan (aka my Logging Partner), to also watch it and she too was like, “DID YOU SEE SEASON THREE IS COMING!?” Guys, this show is so good. I mean, it’s outrageous (like me and Jem) but so fucking good and dark and funny and suspenseful and the CHARACTERS!!! Felix forever!!!

Henry took me to another new-to-us haunt later that night! Thank god we actually like each other or else we’d be fucked now that the Child Buffer has been removed. I know it’s only been a week and I’m not saying that I’m happy to have Chooch out of the house with a job or anything like that, believe me, but I’m also KIND OF excited at the idea of like, doing couple things again. I mean, not that we didn’t go out without Chooch in the last 15 years, of course we went to concerts and things like that, but it just feels different now? Kind of cute? Also scary because at the end of the day it only means we’re getting old? Lol. Ugh, just be happy, Erin. Enjoy it, Erin. Don’t cloud it with negativity, Erin.

Anyway, in that picture up there, you can see the WORLD’S TALLEST SMOKESTACK, located in Homer City. We were driving through farmland and as we came up over a crest in the road, that fucking thing became visible and I started screaming, “AHHH WHAT IS THAT??” I took this picture when we were further away so it’s not as scary but I literally felt like I was dumped into a 1950s sci-fi movie for a second.

Anyway, we went to Scary Harry’s which is a little over an hour away in Homer City, whatever that means. I have always seen this one come up in haunt listings but for some reason, we have never gone. I had it on the list for this season because I was looking specifically for haunts that are open on Thursdays and Sundays because those are preferable nights since the crowds are low. A lot of haunts cut back their hours to just Fridays and Saturdays this year, presumably because of the pandemic/being short on people. But Scary Harry’s is open on Sundays so this is the one I chose. Plus, $15!! I swear, that’s actually a really good deal in the haunted house world.

We listened to Alexisonfire the whole way there because I have been on this Riot Fest nostalgia kick lately even though Riot Fest turned dumb so we no longer go. But the three times we did attend were a lot of fun (well, mostly for me) and I will never forget the way I felt when I saw Alexisonfire perform there. I also associate them with fall too so it seemed like the perfect musical accompaniment for an hour-long ride in drizzling rain and chilly temps.

Waiting in the rain!

It thankfully stopped raining by the time the place opened and for the second night in a row, we were the first ones in! Again, I’ll save the play-by-play for the journal but this one exceeding expectations, too! I thought it was just going to be some dinky haunted trail but it was so much more than that and I will say that I can’t really think of another haunt that used audio as a scare device as effectively and in an array of different scenarios as well as Scary Harry’s. I mean, there were times when a sound scared me more than the live scare actors, and there was also a certain area in the “saloon” that had me panicking and screaming, “HENRY WHERE ARE YOU OMG I HATE THIS HELP” lol. It was SO GOOD. We even bonded a little bit with the other much younger couple (from Punxsutawney!) who got stuck going through with us, and we had a nice chat with the parking lot worker afterward because when a haunt is actually good, I love to tell someone who works there because I would want to hear good feedback too if I was affiliated with a haunted house! This is always the time when real, authentic Erin comes out and is suddenly a functioning member of society who can use her words without stuttering or being awkward. Man, I missed that Erin. Wish she’d stick around full-time!

What a delightful weekend, honestly.

Oct 082021
 

There is nothing quite like a Friday in October to get the butterflies in my belly all boisterous. I love this month so much!  I am going to write about FIVE THINGS today that have me in a GOOD MOOD, which means I can’t write about the ongoing DOMESTIC DRAMA on the other side of Hot Naybor Chris’s house, because that is not very good mood-inducing and is actually just very sad and depressing so we’ll save that one for a rainy day, literally.

  1.  Autumn always has me thinking about that good ol’ goth chatroom I used to frequent back in the late 90s, Darkchat (don’t Google that because whatever you’ll find is 100% NOT where I used to spend my Internet time!). I was living in my first apartment, this was back in 1998, and didn’t have a computer of my own. My mom had just bought this BRAND NEW THING called WebTV where you literally used your TV to connect to the Internet. I started going over there late at night after I was done working (at EchoStar lolol) just so I could fuck around on this Internet thingaling. I literally cannot remember how this happened, but as a joke I found this goth chatroom and thought it would be fun to infiltrate and pretend I was goth except that I immediately made a ton of friends and realized that I actually kind of fit in there. WHO KNEW. Anyway, my little bro Corey, who must have been about 9 at the time, started going to this chatroom too, using the name “Franklin” (literally after the Nick Jr cartoon about the turtle) and would enter the chat by saying, “Good eve, all.” I just thought about this the other day and was cracking up so bad because I don’t think anyone realized an elementary school kid was so very deftly holding his own in a chatroom-full of brooding goths. This into has nothing to do what I’m about to say next but I just wanted to share it because I thought it was so cute! But the real point of this is to say that “Franklin” grew up to become PITTSBURGH’S #1 REAL ESTATE AGENT! THAT’S MY LITTLE BRO, YOU GUYS!!! I am so proud of him and look forward to the day when I can really push him to his limit with my very specific criteria of: COTTAGE CORE BUT ALSO TURRETS, ROOM FOR HENRY TO BUILD SECRET PASSAGES, POTENTIALLY HAUNTED.

2. Speaking of being PROUD of people younger than me, our very own Chooch has his first job interview today after school. This kid has been salivating at the prospect of getting a job since he was like 10. He is money-hungry, ambitious, and self-motivated the nth degree and now he is finally of age to get a part-time job. Neither Henry nor I have told him that he has to get one – this is all him. He went around collecting job applications on his own, got the necessary shit from the guidance office at school, and even went to the fucking Board of Education in Oakland on his own to get his student work permit. (I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HE NEEDED TO DO THAT, THANK GOD HE HAS ASKED ME TO LIFT NARY A FINGER IN THIS WHOLE PROCESS.) And now, today after school, he has an interview at a nearby McDonald’s where one of his friends also works, which he is able to easily access via the T. On one hand, I’m like, “Where did this child come from” but then I remember that I also was super into the idea of getting a job when I was in high school and applied EVERYWHERE which is how I memorized my SSN# and never forgot it. However, when I did eventually get a job, it was at the dollar store at the mall. On my very first shift, I got into an argument with a customer, went on my break and never came back. Never bothered to get another job in high school after that lol. Last night on the way home from a haunted house with Janna, he was calculating how much his paychecks could potentially be if he gets the job and how he will take $20 out of each paycheck for afterschool spending money and save the rest. Please let him always have these values, oh god, please.

3. Speaking of HAUNTED HOUSES, Chooch and I went to Rich’s Fright Farm last night with JANNA. It was only my second time hanging out with her since Pandemic Times started, and Chooch’s first! Anyway, even though she was 40 MINUTES late getting to my house last night, Chooch and I managed to forgive her and we all had a WONDERFUL time. I forgot hw cathartic it is to push her into chainsaw guys and scream JANNA LOOK OUT every 2 seconds. My chest actually hurt from screaming and laughing so hard AND it wasn’t crowded so at all so that was a big relief because even though I had my mask, who wants to be herded through a haunted house with a crowd of people who may or may not be vaccinated, NOT ME. This place used to have a SLIDE that was really well placed so that when you reached the bottom, not only were you a bit disoriented, but now you’ve got monsters in your face. I remember specifically the one year we landed ourselves right in the middle of a bunch of undead debutantes twirling around at a BALL. It was amazing and creepy.

I call this one: JANNA EXITS THE PORTABLE POT.

4. The other day, I found the little Flatwoods Monster figurine I bought at the Flatwoods Monster Museum a few years ago when we were on our way home from Dollywood. It was in one of my billion purses, none of which I have been using much over the last year and a half since I don’t go anywhere aside from amusement parks these days. But anyway, I was so happy to find it because I thought it was LOST. I put it on my very special Souvenir Shelf, which is one my fave spots in the house because, well, isn’t that why we buy souvenirs? To be reminded of the fun we had in awesome places?! I’m super into souvenirs, even if it’s just something simple and cheap like a magnet (although, hello inflation – magnets aren’t very cheap anymore!!). Anyway, here is my Souvenir Shelf! Also, Henry cut this shelf from neon acrylic!

That penis-shaped thing is my favorite, lol. It came on top of a bottle of medicinal wine from Jeonju, South Korea. I guess you’re supposed to drink from it. Most of the stuff on the shelf is from Korea, but there’s also stuff from Japan, Italy, Morocco, Toronto, Australia, and a seashell from Wildwood lol!

5. Do you guys ever have that thing happen where you think of something that you haven’t thought of in a really long time and then it comes up 2 or 3 more times in the same week? I used to know the name of that phenomenon but now I forget. Oh what’s that you say? Google it like a real professional blogger would? OK hold please.

Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (a.k.a. the Recency Bias or Frequency Illusion) The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, otherwise known as the frequency illusion or recency bias, is a situation where something you recently learned about suddenly seems to appear everywhere.

Ehhhh…..sort of? In this case, it wasn’t something that I just learned. We were watching Squid Game last week and I made some offhand comment about how the character Kang Sae-Byeok resembles, in a way, the OG Swedish Pippi Longstocking. It’s the shape of her face and freckles that does it, I think. Of course Henry was like, “Um OK sure” because we never agree on anything. But then, after I said it, I was like, “Aw, Pippi” in my head because I loved/hated that when I was a kid. It was actually quite terrifying!

OK, so then a few days later, The Best Realtor in Pgh texted me and was like REMEMBER WHEN I WAS OBSESSED WITH PIPPI LONGSTOCKING, THE SWEDISH ONE? And I was like, “Bruh.”

THEN!! Yesterday, my beloved TOP from BIGBANG posted this on Instagram:

WHAT.DOES.IT.MEAN? Aside from that I need to re-watch this as an adult, pronto.

Bonus Friday Fact: My birth dad’s last name was actually Pippi!! Thank god my mom remarried when I was so young so that I didn’t have to go  through school as Erin Pippi. Granted, now I go through work days being erroneously called Kelly in emails by people outside of the department, but whatever. I’ll take that, I guess.

Also!! Chooch is an idiot and fucked around in Oakland after school instead of getting right on the bus to come home for his job interview, resulting in Henry having to meet him at the T-stop near McDonald’s so that he could change his clothes in the car, and he made it into McDonald’s right on time…..for them to tell him the interview needs to be rescheduled.

For tomorrow.

When we will not be in town.

NEVER MIND!! Henry just called me and apparently they’re doing his interview now after all.

Oct 032021
 

Oh hello, Monday. You cunt.

I had a great weekend but thanks for breaking up the party, motherfucker.

What did I do, you ask, you piece of shit weekday? WELL, LET ME TELL YOU.

ERIN GETS HER HAUNT BACK

Dude. We didn’t go to single haunted house last season. I know that a bunch of them were open, as were amusement parks, but without vaccinations happening at the time, we opted to keep staying home even if that meant missing haunted house season for the first time since, god, the 90s probably. But this year, we are READY! I couldn’t imagine making my comeback at any place other than the famous CASTLE BLOOD. You have to know by now that this is my favorite haunt, the one closest to my heart, the one that has my ultimate allegiance. It’s creative, original, intelligent, unique, OOAK, A+ haunting, do recommend. 

I was so excited that I kept changing clothes and screaming WHAT ABOUT THIS OUTFIT DOES IT LOOK GOOD and Henry was like “We are just going to a haunted house…?” but it felt like PROM FOR ME OK. Erin’s BIG NIGHT OUT. Getting made fun of. Screaming her face off. SOLVING PUZZLES. This is what I was born to do and I wanted to make sure I had the appropriate uniform to show the haunt world that I’m back AND I AM READY TO BE SPOOKED.

Chooch took this for me and was really happy to assist. But you figured that.

We “let” Chooch invite two of his friends and I was stoked because they were FRESH BLOOD. The one kid is younger and not very well-versed in haunts so he was like WHAT IS THIS PLACE and IS IT REALLY HAUNTED and EXCUSE ME SIR BUT WHAT IS A GYPSY. He had questions. Lots of them. He was also the worst teammate! The whole point of Castle Blood is that you walk through the place talking to (or getting yelled at by, in my case, usually) the Denizens. Somewhere along the way, there are THREE  TALISMAN revealed to you and you have to solve puzzles, make trades, bat your eyelashes (in my case, usually) to earn those talismans. Some of these challenges can be super mind-boggling so if you’re planning on heading out to the Castle at some point, choose your companions carefully. We almost failed because our group was so dense!

But wow, it felt so good to be back there again and to see so many of our undead friends!

I was really excited to bring out my haunted house journal and scribble out the full deets but I COULDN’T FIND IT, DOT DOT DOT TO BE CONTINUED.

I wrote an actual review of Castle Blood several years ago and you should read that and then go purchase tickets.

Castle Blood: The Ultimate Halloween Adventure

After chatting with our friends outside the castle for a bit, we stopped at Sheetz where a bunch of high school kids was loitering because…football game or something. OMG why are teenaged girls so freakishly robotic these days?!? Poor Sheetz was full of frigid vibes and the stench of cheap F21 body spray.

There was a group of them in there who all looked the same, same dead-eyes that bore right through me, same vocal fry monotone, same super-contoured makeup. I was standing there waiting for my PUMPKIN CHAI thank you Sheetz for having semi-imbibable chai, when one of the drones shambled by, looking straight through me with her weird rhinestone-embellished icy eyes, and croaked, “heeeey” to another group of girls, who responded with an equally bored “heeey” and then they just stood there and one of them was like, “I’m going to go outside-UH” because they punctuate all of their sentences with a “just took a swig of La Croix” air expellant. It’s like Valley Girls on anti-depressants, I truly do not know how else to describe this bizarre form of communication these strange suburban teen girls have created.

When the one girl walked away, the other two girls rolled their eyes behind her back. Then the same thing happened with another Gen Z Droid when she did her weird pigeon-walk over to the group and engaged in soulless banalities.  “They all hate each other,” I said to Henry, not even whispering. “Every single girl hates each other secretly.” Then we watched as they all peeled off their faces to reveal their true lizard selves.

THE FANS

I spent a great deal of time on Saturday relaxing and walking around the ‘hood. On one such walk, I encountered these dumb children sitting under a sign that said FANS FOR SALE. Literally, I thought they were selling, like, old box fans and I wondered if their parents knew, but it turns out they were slinging handmade paper fans. I stupidly stopped and took my headphones off instead of acting like I didn’t hear their cries of Desperate Salespeople and then, and I don’t know why I said this, but I did: “I don’t have money on me but I will come back.”

I’m a lot of things. I’m a kid-disliker for one, this we all know. But I am not a LIAR. I literally hate lying so much and I also hate breaking promises because I have had these things done to me so many times growing up that yes, yes I WOULD like some dip with those chips on my shoulder. I thought you’d never ask.

The younger of the two was going to let me pick a fan and pay later and as I was shaking my head and rejecting this offer, her sister (?) was stage-whispering, “Like a presale? I don’t think that’s a thing!”

Smart girl! Don’t give the sweaty stranger anything in advance!

But now I was determined to go home and get money so that they can have a little bit of faith that not all grown-ups will lie to them. I was pretty far from my house so by the time I got home, I was all out of breath and huffed to Henry, “Give me $2.”

“For what?” he asked, like OK dad, didn’t realize I needed to hand over a ledger of how I’m spending your money, but cook on. He actually had to get a dollar from Chooch who is never happy to part with his cash, and I could hear him upstairs asking, “WHY does she need it?” and Henry just mumbled in response. Henry was on his way out to THE STORE when this was happening so I hitched a ride with him because those bitches (lol they’re like 5 & 7) live about a 30-minute walk away and guys, sometimes I get tired.

So we roll up to their house and now they have collected some other child who is hovering on the sidewalk on her bike, watching this transaction go down. So, I thought I would be nice and buy two fans from them, hence the $2, so that they could each have a sale, but GET THIS:

The fan that I wanted was $2!!! “It’s because it’s the best one,” the older, I-Don’t-Believe-In-Presales one said curtly.

Are you effing kidding. What a fucking racket. So I let them pick two $1 fans for me and this is what I got:

When I got back in the car, Henry was like, “Oh. Wow. That is….not what I thought they were going to be.”

The next day when Chooch got in the car and saw them, he was like, “The fuck are these?” And when I explained it to him he yelled, “You BOUGHT these?!”

Yeah, with YOUR money, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I should have asked if they were under warranty though because one broke already. Like, can I go back to their house and ask them for a replacement piece of Scotch tape? How does this work?

SQUIDS OVER COASTERS

We had actually planned to go to Dorney Park on Saturday, but I woke up on Saturday IN A MOOD. I was high key PMSing, and lowkey wanting to finish the last two episodes of Squid Game, so I made the executive decision of staying home (and also because I decided that I would rather wait until next weekend and go to Six Flags Great Adventure instead, lol, my ambition is so dumb). So like, I don’t know what else to say other than if you haven’t watched Squid Game yet, what is wrong with you. It’s crazy to me how insanely popular this has become in the US because god forbid we let other countries do a thing better than us, amirite. But it’s also NOT surprising because as someone who watches a ton of Korean shows, I know how amazing Korean actors are. (I mean, one of my favorite actors of all time has a small cameo in this series and I was screaming!)

There is SO MUCH I WANT TO SAY about this and it is literally all I have been able to talk about (thank god Henry and Chooch also watched it or else I’d be talking into the void as usual) but I will just say that it deserves all the praise and accolades it’s been getting, it’s worth the hype, FUCKING RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT KOREA IS CAPABLE OF PUTTING OUT SOLID ENTERTAINMENT, THANK YOU.

Basically this is how I feel though:

Me, for the last 6 years, screaming into the void: WATCH KOREAN TV SHOWS, THEY ARE AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING!

Everyone: ……………..

TikTok, in 2021: Watch Squid Game yo.

Everyone: OMG I AM WATCHING THIS KOREAN SHOW AND IT IS ACTUALLY* GOOD.

*Yep, gotta qualify that with an “actually” because Asian stuff is supposed to be lesser than,  you know.

Ugh.

Also, I drive Henry when we watch Korean stuff together because I can’t get my brain to turn off “must learn this language: desperation mode” and I am constantly straining to parse out what is being said versus what I’m seeing in the subtitles and it is FRUST-to the-RATING. For instance, I kept screaming, “THEY JUST SWORE THERE BUT THE SUBTITLES ARE MAKING IT WATERED DOWN WHYYYYY” and I thought it was just me being ridiculous but this Korean guy I follow on Twitter had a whole thread-rant about it on Saturday and was like, “They are clearly saying Korean swears but the subtitles are making them sound like Napoleon Dynamite” and I was dying because yeah, I got that too.

Ugh there is so much more I want to say about that, because even from a remedial language-knowing standpoint, there was enough that got dropped in the translation for even me to notice. I don’t think it would really affect anyone else watching it though, it is a PHENOMENAL show regardless and I am so proud that my favorite country in the whole wide world is getting its time to shine.

But yeah, I started to watch Midnight Mass after finishing this and can confirm that Squid Game has ruined me for all other TV shows for a bit because Midnight Mass is like a heaping pile of steamed shit after watching that fucking masterpiece.

(THE DYNAMIC, UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS, THOUGH!!!!!!!!! Oh god, my HEART.)

BRB, scheduling an appointment for my Squid Game tattoo.

EH, DONUTS

Also on Saturday, we got vegan donuts from Valkyrie but they were just OK because my PMS Palate was being PERSNICKETY, and also Henry lowkey fat-shamed me and then tried to say he didn’t and then got mad at for being mad at him and that was a whole thing that happened Saturday before Chooch even woke up for the day.

(I’m sorry but one of those was supposed to be French Toast and it actually tasted disgusting. And the one I was most looking forward to, Caramel Apple Pie, tasted like I made it. Like I got a previoulsy-made donut and poured some canned apple pie filling inside of it and then charged a bunch of money because: vegans. Our first two visits to this donut trailer was exceptional so I dunno if it was my mood or what.)

Then I made a garland out of these pumpkins I bought at Target (OK fine, Henry did it) and I love that they match the colors of the kitchen, lol.

CRYING IN THE OFFICE

OK Sunday started off sad. It was suggested to us recently that we might want to go into the office and start bringing stuff home because even when/if we return to WORKING IN PERSON WITH PEOPLE, we will probably have much less office space because the Firm is looking to pare down its real estate. I had a feeling that maybe I left my haunted house journal there because I used to take it to work during the Halloween season to try and write my recaps during downtime and I thought that perhaps I just left it in my desk after the 2019 season.

Henry came with me because I figured I better bring some stuff home (like the entire box of shoes I keep under my desk – Henry was like ARE YOU KIDDING ME, WHERE DID THESE SHOES EVEN COME FROM like they hatched under my desk from rogues Peds or something) and I actually cried a little in the elevator on the way to the 10th floor. It was my first time back there since the middle of March 2020!

Anyway, I threw out a bunch of papers, old candy (super sad face), took down all of my magnets and brought them home to live on the fridge (HOLY SHIT YOU HAVE A LOT OF MAGNETS, WOW, YEAH, WE DON’T GO ANYWHERE Henry exclaimed when I kept plucking more and more souvenir/travel magnets off my cabinets and into a bag), and then even though I knew it would be like twisting the knife in my already bleeding heart, I ventured over to the area where all of the GLENNS live.

OMG I’m sad again.

Oh! And my haunted house journal WAS NOT THERE.

MISSING HAUNTED HOUSE JOURNAL

So my journal was still missing and Henry was like, “It has to be in the house somewhere. We will find it. I am big strong man. Woof.”

He was tearing up the basement because we thought maybe it ended up in a box when we were redoing the coffee table (we, lololololololol). Meanwhile, I went into my bedroom and opened a desk drawer, and there it was, lying fully exposed, right there, lol. I yelled down to the basement to let Henry know that he could call off the search.

“Where was it?” he asked, and when I told him, he said, “Oh so it was where I was about to look two days ago but you said, ‘No, it definitely won’t be in there, don’t bother’?” and….yeah, pretty much. LOL.

A GOOD OLD-SCHOOL HAUNT

I wanted to go to another haunted house on Sunday (I try to avoid Saturdays!) but I wanted something to new-to-us and also something that was reasonably priced so that Henry would be more willing to join us. I am really depressed at how none of my friends (at least my local friends) enjoy haunted houses. I miss the 90s and early 00s when we would cram into Lisa’s Jeep and hit up two or three in one night and then drink coffee at HOME COOKIN’ until 2am. Don’t get me wrong, I like going with Chooch but now that he’s wanting to bring friends with him, I feel like such a fucking lame-ass tag-along. Like, oh Chooch please let Mommy hang out with you and your friends, please, I’m desperate.

But anyway, I digress. I’ll just place an ad on Craigslist for Halloween friends, I guess.

I found a listing for this one haunted house in Wheeling, WV which is only about 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh AND it was only $15 which is a STEAL when it comes to haunted houses in 2021, you guys. A real fucking steal.

We stopped at Sheetz for dinner on the way, and clearly, Sheetz is part of the spooky process. Henry was being a diva and didn’t get any food, just iced coffee. OK, America’s Next Top Model.

We got to Infernum In Terra right when it opened and ended up being GROUP 3!

Pre-Haunt Selfie – Henry was behind us in the portajohn and if you don’t think I have regERTZ about not waiting to snap the pic until he emerged, then you are dead wrong because I have been dwelling on this all day to the point where I cannot wait for my next chance at a do-over.

I don’t want to put too much in here because I still have to write about it in my JOURNAL and then I won’t be inspired to give it my all (seriously you guys writing hurts my hand so much these days) but I am happy to report that this was

JUST

MY

STYLE.

Old school, low-tech, volunteers giving their whole hearts. I fucking loved every minute of it but my favorite parts were when Satan’s wings hit Henry in the face and some monster called him an Old Man. Also when Chooch was chosen to go to confession and confessed to stealing a pencil…from a desk.

Not even from a store.

From a desk.

At school.

I gushed about how much we liked it when we emerged back at the ticket counter. Usually, I will also blabber on about how I’ve been keeping a haunted house journal since 1995, etc etc but COVID has made me even more anti-social than I was before.

On the way home, Henry stopped at ANOTHER Sheetz and got a meat stick and meat roll.

“I hate the way you breathe when you’re eating meat,” I scoffed in disgust.

“Yeah, it’s him thirsting for more,” chimed in Chooch the Backseat Pest.

“Well, it’s mostly bread,” Henry mumbled. “So fuck off.”

Then we talked about Squid Game the whole way home and it was really a really nice Sunday Night Outing to the Haunted House with Family.

I hope the rest of October is this nice. I mean, minus my PMS pissiness. That was mostly Saturday though. I’m already back to my STANDARD, LOVEABLE SELF.

Sep 242019
 

Aside from my weekly meet-up with Jiyong (she forced me to speak Korean and it was chaos), Saturday was pretty low key, but Sunday was the perfect Autumn Eve…even if it was 87 degrees that day.

One of the flavors at Sugar Spell Scoops for the weekend was Iced Pumpkin Loaf and Chooch was like WE HAVE TO GO. I was interested in that, but also Dunkaroos which is the flavor that Chooch got the first time we went to Sugar Spell and I had major remorse for not ordering it.

Janna wanted to go with us and then also, at some point over the weekend, Chooch asked if we could go to a haunted house also, and I was like, “BOY WHAT A DUMB QUESTION.”

I mean, of COURSE we can go to a haunted house!

But first, ice cream.

I indulged and had TWO SCOOPS. And thank god I did because that Iced Pumpkin Loaf was out of this world good.

I imagined it was just going to taste like pumpkin pie ice cream, but it ACTUALLY had the same flavor profile (lol I’m professional now) as an actual pumpkin loaf, the rolled kind with the cream cheese icing in the middle? YES, THAT.

And the ice cream even had a soft icing glaze in it, which completely elevated it to another level. You can see the glaze in my photo!

And the Dunkaroos was Halloween edition (“Oh, it just means we put Halloween sprinkles in it,” the totally awesome brains behind the freeze said when Chooch asked her what the difference was between that and the regular Dunkaroos flavor) was so delicious, and for lack of a better word: FUN. It really tastes just like Dunkaroos which makes me yearn for my lunch boxes of yesteryear (although my mom went through a heavy phase where she made me salami sandwiches every day and the lunch boxes during that era became so permeated with that stinky, greasy meat stink that they were unsalveagable).

(I had one super awesome lunch box that was also a radio and everyone was jealous of it.)

Janna wanted the sundae of the day but ordered it wrong and ended up with a scoop of the 3x Chocolate with marshmallows. She was pouting about that for a bit and I was like, “Why don’t you just go back up and explain that you actually wanted the sundae. I’m sure she can just dump it into a bigger bowl, add the toppings, and charge you the difference.” I don’t know what Janna did but she came back with her scoop dressed with sprinkles and chocolate syrup, which still wasn’t what the sundae was supposed to be, but she seemed content with this so I didn’t pressure her further.

I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO GET THE ICE CREAM OF THEIR DREAMS BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE HEARTBROKEN AT THE ICE CREAM SHOP.

Anyway, Janna the Carnivore was like I Can’t Believe This Is Vegan so you’re welcome, Sugar Spell, for bringing you a new cult follower.

(Honestly, I can’t give this place enough accolades. Not only is the shop a real stunner, but the owners are so down-to-earth and happy to please, and, most importantly, the ice cream is exceptionally wonderful! I have had some bad vegan ice cream before, but this stuff is like YEAH BOIIII.)

While we were there, “Eye in the Sky” by Alan Parsons Project came on and I had a Real Moment. That song is a huge part of my life and I was eating ice cream that reminded me of elementary school — the only thing that could have made it any better would have been if it was Saturday morning and I was sitting in my Pappap’s den eating my ice cream while watching cartoons.

Yeah, I was really feeling some things.

After this, we went to Freddy’s Haunts in Aliquippa. Now, I haven’t gone to this place in probably 5 years or so, because the last several times were just “meh.” But this used to be in my annual haunt rotation for years and when I saw that it was open on Sundays, I figured I’d give it another chance. Besides, Chooch had never been to this one yet!

It was still light out when we arrived, so we hung out around the bonfire (which wasn’t necessary since it was still like 80 degrees) and Chooch was happy because there were two dogs hanging out.

Chooch needed the dog to be in the background.

Some older man who reminded me of if Glenn was dressed like a scarecrow came over and sat near me and started telling me that they were trying something new this year with the bonfire, and that they were just waiting for it to get a bit darker before opening, and that “his guy” was in there inspecting it right now, etc etc. Then he told me the name of the two dogs out there, and also the names of four other dogs, but he kept forgetting the names and so that took segment of the conversation took some time.

Anyway, barely anyone was there but I kept getting anxious because no one was standing in line and I needed to make sure that people who came after us weren’t going to go in first and I promise you, no one gave a shit about this, but I was shaking with I HAVE TO BE FIRST jitters.

There are a lot of things I hate about myself, but this is probably at the top somewhere near my all-consuming body dysmorphia and inability to snap my fingers.

Everytime someone came out of the building, I would start to stand up, ready to sprint over to the entrance, but then they would go back inside. I can’t help it!!

Meanwhile, the DJ was playing a bizarre mix of N’Sync deep cuts, country, and 90s R&B. Michael Jackson’s “Jam” came on at one point and I got so nostalgic, like Dunkaroos all over again, because that song brings back memories of This One Time when I was probably 14 or 15 and my brother Ryan and I were out with my mom, who needed to stop at the grocery store (Giant Eagle) before going home. Our German Shepherd, Rama, was with us so Ryan and I stayed in my mom’s Explorer with him, when suddenly!! “Jam” came on the radio and Ryan became possessed by the need to dance so he got out of the car and started writhing maniacally in the middle of the parking lot, while scream-singing along and I, already giddy, started laughing even harder and then Rama was barking wildly because people were walking by the car with their carts and basically it was pandemonium, or “just another day with the Kellys” if you ask any of my friends from back then (like Janna – she can tell you some stories!). So all of this chaos is happening – car radio blasting, my 10-year-old brother dancing in a grocery store parking lot at night, the dog woofing – and I finally crossed the threshold and peed my pants. Like, really peed them. And then there was nothing I could do but wait for my mom to come out from the store and take us home while I sat in my warm pee.

I texted Ryan that moment to see if he remembered and he said: The old giant eagle where best buy is right lol idk why but i still remember that too.

YESSSSS.

And so I shared this story with Janna and Chooch and then Janna started talking about a stabbing, which really killed the mood.

But then finally someone came out and opened the gate – I think they should have also rang a dinner bell to let us know for sure it was time, but I guess the act of opening the gate was enough. We were going to be nice and let this one family go in first because they were there before us, but the mom was like, “You guys can go ahead of us, we don’t want to go in first!” and the angels sang on high.

After we bought our tickets, we wound our way around to the actual entrance of the haunt and Scarecrow Glenn was there waiting for us. He started telling us some insider info about what was going on behind the scenes and I blurted out ARE YOU FREDDY and you guys guess what it was Freddy! After all these years, I finally met Freddy!

As you may know, I keep a separate paper journal for my haunted house recaps because I am Le Loser, but I will say that Freddy’s redeemed itself on this September night in 2019 and that my favorite part was when I had enough of Chooch acting like a bad ass and constantly making me go first because he thought I should “face my fears,” so I said, “OK tough guy, you go first for a while then!” and then when he yelled, “FINE! I’M NOT SCARED!” and started to walk ahead of us, I swung my arm out to hold Janna back and we stood there, watching him walk down this path alone, mouthing off the entire way (I fucking swear to god, that child never stops yapping), when a girl came out from the side and made him scream like a little baby—it was SO PERFECT. Especially when he realized he was alone, haha.

My throat hurt from screaming my face off and laughing which, you know, are the symptoms of a REALLY GREAT HAUNT.

Henry had a great night too because he got to be all alone in a quiet house watching whatever boring shit he has in his Netflix queue.