OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, allow me to proceed. Sometimes I feel like Linus waiting all night in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin, while everyone else loses the faith.
Hey, aren’t you going to wait and greet the Great Pumpkin? Huh? It won’t be long now. If the Great Pumpkin comes, I’ll still put in a good word for you! Good grief! I said “if”! I meant, “when” he comes! I’m doomed. One little slip like that could cause the Great Pumpkin to pass you by. Oh, Great Pumpkin, where are you?
–Linus, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”
I know, most of you are as excited as I am, if the lines to all of the local Halloween stores and boutiques are a While waiting in line for tickets to one of those kid-friendly pumpkin patch, corn maze, fun land attractions, I was talking to one of my girlfriends about how these events have become so kid-friendly, they’re almost bit dull for the adults.
Sure, I love watching my grand kids play on the kiddie games, pet animals at the petting zoo and drink cider by a warm bonfire. But, with so few adult related activities, the grown-ups are just, well, bored. Hayrides at sunset are lovely, don’t get me wrong, but nearly every activity involved sitting or watching, unless you happen to be a kid. That doesn’t mean all holiday revelry need revolved around those pint-sized candy consumers. My girlfriend and I decided we needed a pre-Halloween adrenaline rush to get us old gals livened up. Enter my personal favorite Halloween event: the essential tour of Halloween Spook Alleys.
The spook alley love affair started for me as a kid. My parents drove us out to an old farm in the middle of nowhere, late at night. The spook alley started off ingeniously by separating the parties (briefly) by a seeming accident. Suddenly, you’re seven years old, all alone in a rickety old barn, and the only light is at the far end of the barn…the only way to get out is to walk through it. Like most seven year old little girls, I was convinced I was going to die. But, I mustered up the courage, and started walking. And, just when I thought I had made it to the end home free, of course, a masked maniac jumps out from behind a deserted car, his chainsaw roars to life and I scream and run…right into the arms of my mom, who immediately starts laughing. Oh, he scared me, too, she said. Once it was apparent that it was a ruse, that you could safely have the dickens scared out of you and live, I was hooked.
There are few things in this culture that give Americans much chance to get their blood pumping…we are comfort creatures. We have comfy couches and cars, we don’t have to cook our own food, and when we do break into a run, it’s usually not because we’re being chased. To that, I say, one antidote is a trip to a few spook alleys. Take a chance…shake off the fear and complacency, and bring back a little of the fearless wild kid inside you. The worst that could happen is you wind up getting pictured looking like the people freaking out below, but even that should give you a hearty laugh. Big or small, taking steps out of your comfort zone is good for all of us…even that long lost seven-year-old girl shaking in her Disney Princess costume.