Viewpoint: Haunted houses can be fun; watch your step once inside

By Abigail Loop

Haunted houses are a legitimate rite of passage for Halloween. You go through them with the expectation to get scared while people in creepy masks chase you and gory props are set up to add to the aura of fear.

However, while everyone can appreciate a good scare now and then, I’ve found out through some unfortunate experiences that going to a haunted house sometimes tends to leave participants a little worse for wear.

We all know what we like to do when we go through a haunted house. Cling to whomever is next to you, scream your head off and pray that you don’t trip over anyone or anything in the ominous darkness.

When I went into a haunted house with my friends last Halloween, this is definitely what we did. While, we did cling to one another and scream, putting one foot in front of another without hitting anything seemed to be a problem. Almost the entire maze through the house was in darkness.

Imagine my surprise when I got out of the house and saw my my friend’s face covered in blood.

Had she been attacked by one of the masked “ax murderers” chasing us? No, she had just run face-first into a pole. It was so dark, she couldn’t see the pole when we were being chased. The look on people’s faces was priceless as they took one look at her, changed their mind and stepped out of line to enter the house. Little did they know, a pole was the real culprit in giving my friend a broken nose.

Accidents such as these can happen when you’re running fearfully through dark rooms trying to stay alive. Darkness isn’t always the problem though.

Another haunted house took a different approach. Strobe lights were used in various rooms, giving flashes of dead bodies and, of course, creepy masked people.

While strobe lights can be disorienting, it was a little more than that for a friend of mine. She blacked out, because of the flashing lights, and had to be dragged by friends through the remainder of the house. An accident like this is just another reminder that some normal aspects of haunted houses can lead to more severe consequences.

Dragging an unconscious friend through a haunted house is not what most people envision when entering and I’m sure it makes running a whole lot more difficult, especially when trying not to hit walls, props and maybe even poles. Also, if I was a person standing in line to enter a haunted house, I’d be pretty freaked out to see an unconscious person being dragged out.

Haunted houses are meant to scare us for fun. Sometimes, though, the fun we expect to have getting scared results in getting injured. While I personally have never gotten injured in a haunted house, I did embarrassingly push over a fake wall prop holding up a set as a guy with a chainsaw ran after me. No one was hurt, but I’ve found the potential for something to go wrong when you’re in a haunted house is pretty high.

So as you go through haunted houses this Halloween season, watch out for those hidden poles and those flashing lights. I think they just might be more dangerous than the guy behind you cranking up a chainsaw.

Abigail Loop is a junior journalism major from Brownsville. She is a reporter for The Lariat.