Don’t even act like the rest of the year isn’t just a waiting game until Halloween, when we get to see spooky skeletons and eat tiny little candy bars. One thing is for certain, though — our haunted houses just ain’t scary anymore! They aren’t REAL enough, you know? I want therapy bills for years when I cough up my hard-earned $18 for the local spookshow. But you can leave it to me, your resident haunted house guru, to inject some real fear up in this house! Here are the five elements I’d use to build a perfectly terrifying haunted house. And PLEASE, if you do anything, read all of this list in the voice of the Crypt Keeper, for maximum spooks.

Schedule it at 2PM on a Tuesday

It’s easy enough to go enjoy some artificial scares on a Friday night, but let’s ratchet up the TRUE horror — doing it on your lunch break right when the Big Report is due! Forget ghouls and cannibals — will your boss understand if you don’t get back on time? Can you stay late to make up the time? IT’S A MYSTERY OF HORRORS.

Plant parking spot snipers in the parking lot

modern haunt parking

So you’ve made it to the Haunt in one piece with enough time to let your worries about the real world fade away into obscurity. It’s time to suspend your disbelief, right? Think again, bucko! Let’s harken back to your community college days of spending an hour looking for a parking spot. Time is ticking, and OH! There’s a spot. But that jerk you’ve passed seven times slides right in before you can take your foot on the brake. Ooooh, and he’s looking for a fight. You’d better look right past him, pretend you never wanted that spot in the first place, and move along as the horrors continue!

Crop dusters in the line

modern haunt queue

Finally! You made it! You’re out of your car, you’ve paid too much for a ticket, and you’re in line (or “on line” for you east coast weirdos). But wait a minute. What’s that smell? Oh, yes, you smelt it, but you couldn’t possibly have dealt it. Now, now, you couldn’t bring yourself to break the social contract and actually talk about… *looks around*… flatulence in public? To strangers? No, you know better. You’ll just have to bear it and pretend like nothing is wrong. Everything here smells wonderful.

Curate a very specific playlist

We’ve assaulted your nose-holes and tested your patience, but you’d better believe we’ve got an attack planned for those ears. What’s that you say? You’d rather NOT hear “Sweat” by Inner Circle on permanent loop throughout the haunted house? It’s an unspeakable horror: you’ll never be able to listen to reggae ever again! Hell, you’ll be lucky if you can watch Cops without breaking down into tears!


modern haunt costumes

Our final nightmare is something so horrific, so barbaric, it’s the crux of the entire experience. Are you ready for… actual human contact? Hmm? Sure, our actors will jump out from behind a curtain, but you’ll find no blood, no gore, and no latex masks. It’s just Jerry from down the street, clearly fallen on hard times but too proud to talk about it. You’ll have to make small talk with him to pass the time! The week IS going by slowly, Jerry. It IS unseasonably hot, Jerry! NOOOOOOO!!

What ghouls and goblins do you deal with every day? Let me know on Twitter!

Tyler Davidson
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