My love of all things horror passed down to my kids. Like me, my daughter was exposed to horror at a young age when her babysitter’s six-year-old daughter put Chucky on for them to watch. She was four.
And I questioned why she never really played with dolls…
For me, my first foray into the land of horror was a combination of things. My mom, an avid beach lover, took me to Ocean City, Md. when I was four. Not only do I remember being tossed about in a wave, but I have memories of my first haunted house experience. It was a shack on the edge of the pier, a “frightfully fun” attraction that probably cost my mom money to get into. Let’s take a trip back into time…
It’s 1974. The sun beat down on reddened skin, the thick straps of a pink Inchworm tank top the only protection against the elements. Your legs are tired from walking in all the sand, so your mom picks you up and carries you to the end of the pier, the amusement park you begged to visit. Money is replaced by tickets, and you get excited. Mom has a surprise first, though. She heads towards the building with words on it you don’t understand. Trepidation fills your little body, but you trust your mom.
The door opens to pitch black. You scream as something brushes against your skin. The tears start falling, yet your mom continues despite your terrified cries. Darkness surrounds you until a faint light breeches the path up ahead. Now a soft yellow glow reveals stone walls and the passage out. You quiet down a little now that the darkness is left behind. An opening looms on your right, one of those double doors covering it. The top half of the door is open, and your mom peeks in.
“Ah ha!” the witch cackles as she jumps out from behind the door. Her fingers glide through your dangling hair. Your terrified screams shake the building and the proprietor shows your mom a quick exit out.
People stare as your wails continue while your mom hustles down the pier, your ever-vigilant eyes focused on the building you’ve just left.
It will be 44 years before you do another haunted attraction, and even then, you’ll be the highlight of the wagon ride as you spend more time leaping into other people’s laps than you do sitting in your own seat.
And that, my friends is how you make a horror author. 😉
As a mom though, this is the first year I’ve even considered allowing my youngest to do the Haunt at our local amusement park. He still sleeps with a nightlight. He still needs to turn a light on to come down the steps, even if there is light shining at the bottom. He voluntarily watched the tv edited version of Final Destination 3. He really wants to be a clown or Purge for Halloween. He wants to read all the scary books with promises of “I won’t be scared. I won’t have nightmares.”
Yet he still sleeps with the nightlight on, making sure his dresser drawers are closed and not blocking the light.
Hmmm… Am I creating another generation of horror crafting?
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