Monday, October 27, 2008

Scary stories to tell in the dark

Ok, so actually, this post is about a scary story that happened in the dark.

(By the way, do you remember those books? Scary Stories to Read in the Dark? My cousin had one, and maybe a sequel. But I digress.)

(Tangents! I has them!)

We took Anna Marie to the Haunted Hayride at Cedar Hill Farms on Saturday night. You remember that little debacle, don't you? How I paid $30 for 10 tickets to that place, hoping to use them on Anna Marie's birthday, only to be turned away at the door?

I called last week to find out exactly what it was that I could do with those tickets. Turns out, not much: one attraction for each ticket, either the Haunted Hayride, or the Trail of Terror, or the Corn Maize.

Oh, and we could also do paintball, but the only ones in our group with insurance were the kids (thanks, CHIPS!) and I've seen what those balls of paint can do to a bloke.

We settled on the hayride. We knew it didn't start until after dark, and we knew that there were live actors, but we were totally unprepared for what we were about to experience.

Several trailers were loaded up, with bales of hay around the perimeter and a clearing in the middle. We (and by we, I mean my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, my three-year-old step-niece, and the three of us) sat near the front of the trailer, close to the tractor that pulled it.

The man from the farm told us that if we felt the need to "go somewhere" it needed to be the floor of the trailer, not the side.

Duly noted.

We start into the woods, where it was pitch black dark. And then, it began.

Every few minutes our trailer would slow down, flash its lights, and stop. And someone would come out of the darkness and get all up in our grills, growling and roaring and generally making menaces of themselves.

Some of the actors actually came up into the trailer, and walked among us.

After what seemed like an eternity at each station, we'd start up again.

So, I'll just own up RIGHT NOW to the fact that I was scared. I'm not ashamed. I will admit to swatting at an actor in a werewolf costume, because he kept leaning into my face and growling.

I am not proud.

Anna Marie started out OK, but after a few minutes (and in my mom's lap, no less) she was getting pretty hysterical. I had already moved to the floor of the trailer, and when she didn't stop crying, I had her come down with me. Mom got down too, and the three of us huddled together and tried to calm her down.

There were mad scientists, and murderous rednecks, and the obligatory guy in the hockey mask with the chainsaw - but I didn't see much of it from the floor of the trailer, and I had to keep from screaming myself so I wouldn't startle Anna Marie more.

Finally, after the longest 20 minutes of my life, we were back at the beginning.

We went to Wendy's for some warm food and LOTS of light, and I had to hold Anna Marie's hand in the back seat the whole way there and then the whole way home.

She was so upset - she just kept crying, and saying she couldn't stop thinking about the hayride. I prayed with her, and quoted scripture to her about how if there's anything good, or lovely, or true, etc., that we should think about those things. And I gave her a list of "pretty" things (as we call them) to think about. And somehow, she got to sleep that night.

But I wasn't so lucky. All I could think about was how scared my child had been, and how I was the one who had put her in that situation. I felt just awful.

(By the way, the three-year-old was crying when we exited the trailer too, and there was a six-year-old near us who had spent the entire time with her head in her dad's lap and sat up at the end saying "What happened?")

She seems to have recovered (though she just told me that she was still thinking about it) and I have a new not-quite-New-Year's resolution: to THOROUGHLY investigate things before I get us into it!


wendster said...

Wow! That haunted hay ride sounds like it was super scary.

That was a good call giving her the list of pretty images to hold in her mind.

Well ... the good that came from this was probably the desensitization to scary creatures (they HAVE to be less scary the next time you see them, yes?) and the resolution to check things out a little closer. But come on ... who would think that a FARM could even POSSIBLY be scary.

Did the corn maize have scary things in it too?

I'll bet the rest of the family enjoyed it, so I'm sure it wasn't all a wash.

wendster said...

Of course praying was a WAY good idea too. Almost forgot to mention that. It brings such a spirit of calm.