Friday, October 31, 2003

All Hallows Eve

I think we're just passing out candy quietly tonight; nothing too exciting. Each year around Hallowe'en, the local papers seem to find a good regional ghost story/urban legend to pump up the fear factor. This year, The Washington Post has a good story about the Bunny Man Bridge [version 1 | version 2] near Clifton, Virginia. It's a pretty creepy tale, but there's one a bit closer to home for us.

A few blocks away from our house (not so close that you can hear screams, however) lies Goatman Hollow, a haunted house in its second year. Apparently it is quite good, but we haven't gone yet. The Goatman is Prince George's County's primary haunt* and he's usually described as a dog-decapitating man-goat chimera [version 1 | version 2 | version 3 | version 4]. It's a pretty gruesome tale, told well in the links, so I won't go into it here ...

Actually, I don't know if we would go through Goatman Hollow anyway. I haven't been too fond of haunted houses ever since I was a little kid and my dad took my brother and I to a Knights of Columbus (or some other organization's) haunted house. I don't remember too many bits of it, except a few scenes with an arm being cut off and other assorted bits of gore. When we got to the end of the haunted house, I was happy to see the "good" witch who was handing out candy and who told me that there wasn't anything else scary ... she lied. A wolfman jumped from among the tombstones outside the haunted house at us. I ran back in and threw the candy at the witch.

In college, I helped stage a haunted house a few times. We were lucky those never led to any real dangers: A giant maze made up of black plastic sheeting (like what would be used to keep weeds down in a garden or beneath a brick patio) with lots of candles and college students in various states of sobriety. I'm a bit shamed to admit that we used the same trick (it must be a common feature of haunted houses) of getting people to think it was all over before giving them one last scare ... in our case a maniac with a chainsaw (chain removed) and/or a weed trimmer (spool removed).

*It might not be fair to call the Goatman the primary haunt of the county or even of the northern part of the county. A few towns away from us is Cottage City, which is where the events that The Exorcist is based on occurred.

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