CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Much as I enjoy a good scary movie or Stephen King book, it's been nearly 30 years since I willingly paid for the privilege of having fake monsters jump at me from out of the dark.
I was one of those kids who loved all things scary. Chiller Theater. Twilight Zone. Campfire stories. Tales from the Crypt. And I was also one of those kids whose bedtime ritual included wearing a cross necklace, checking under the bed and making certain the closet doors were closed tight (before sneaking in to sleep with her parents).
Until I was a teenager, the only haunted houses I'd visited were the school carnival kind with bowls of worms (spaghetti noodles) and eyeballs (peeled grapes) and a vampire with glow-in-the-dark plastic teeth and shoe-polished hair. And so, as a high-schooler whose date wanted to visit a haunted house a local radio station was hosting, I happily agreed, expecting it to be cheesy but fun.
Instead, it was an experiment in personal bladder control.
One that was just barely successful.
Somewhere close to the exit in that long-ago haunted house was a section of hallway with a false wall. Behind said wall, low to the ground, were a couple of guys laying in wait for ankles to approach that they could grab. I provided said ankles. And oh so very nearly dampened those hands.
It was my last haunted house.
Until last weekend, when my daughter Celeste's friend, Madison Suppa, convinced me a haunted trail would be an enjoyable way to spend our Saturday night.
Disparate from the childhood version of me, Celeste does not much like scary things. But Madi does. And somehow, Madi made being scared sound appealing and fun.