Last year, Halloween 2010, we took a trip to the “Wicked Woods” haunted house, in Glen Burnie, Maryland. At that time, our daughter, Jewelia (below), was five. Her brother, Jordan Jr., just turned three.
“Wicked Woods” sets up as an insane asylum. There are crazy dead-looking people walking around that were super creepy. These characters wear superb costumes and the acting is great, too. I was even scared.
Jewelia didn't like them, either. She thought they were going to take her from us. She would never see us again.
I said, “No, they are people like us just dressed up to look scary.” She was still scared. We were going to leave, but our daughter pleaded for us to stay, insisting she could handle the haunted house. Her father and I really didn't think it was a good idea, as she was scared just walking around the field. We went to the exit, where the actors chased everybody out with chainsaws, thinking she would change her mind.
We felt, since she is scared of the dark and noises in the house, seeing the chainsaws would definitely change her mind. Well to our surprise, as people ran out screaming and some even crying. Jewelia said," Can we go in now? I can do this I just have to be brave." We looked at her and said, “Did you see how scared they were? They were big people I don't think your old enough yet.”
She said," Oh, yes, I am. You promised me I could go this year." I looked at my husband and said, "You are going to have to take her cause Jordan is to young and I'm afraid to go, anyway; if you want to take her go ahead." We went over to buy tickets and the seller said, "We don't recommend children under 12 going in this house."
Jewelia begged and we bought the tickets. Jewelia and her father waited in a line for an hour. That was just to get in the door.
During the wait, I walked around with the kids. After about 45 minutes, Jewelia told me she was too tired. She thought she might not like it after all.
I told her, "Your dad is in the front of the line, now. Let’s stand with him.” She told him what she had told me. She was no longer sure she wanted to tour the scary house.
Her dad bought the tickets and waited, in line, an hour. At the door, the usher said, "Are you sure she can handle this, it's pretty scary." When he said that, the look on her face said it all, but they went in anyway.
Jordan Jr. and I waited, near the exit door. We heard someone screaming as if he or she was dying. I was hoping Jewelia wasn't that scared. A few moments, later two girls came out, shaking and crying; they ran to their mom. They were so frightened they couldn’t finish the tour.
I heard them talking about a little girl who was just walking around giving high fives to the monsters. I knew there were no other little girls in the scary house. I asked if the two, who had just come out of the house, if the little girl, high-fiving the monsters, was with a big man. They said yes.
I asked her if Jewelia seemed scared. They said no and asked how old she was. I said, “She’s five years old.”
The mom, of these two frightened little girls, said, "Wow, your daughter is braver. My kids are 18 and 21 years old. They couldn't finish."
As Jewelia and her father were leaving the haunted house, everyone else was running from the men with the chainsaws. Jewelia and her father casually walked out, as if no one was chasing them. It was funny, how nonchalant they acted.
I asked Jewelia how she liked the scary house. She was excited and said, “I want to go in again. I forgot to give the scary witch a high five.”
A great many children, women and men came up to us that night. To a one, they said they couldn’t believe she didn't cry. “You have a very brave little girl,” was a common comment.
The next day, Jewelia was telling everyone how brave she was and how much she liked the scary house. She couldn't wait to go the next Halloween.
Now, it's Halloween 2011 and she is super-excited to go again, but her request this year was can I go to a longer tour. She's still scared of the dark and noises in the house, but we told her Halloween is supposed to be fun. The point of it is to be scared and laugh about it afterwards. This is how she is able to handle the haunted houses.
Jennifer Bennett lives in Maryland.
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