A killer clown smirked on the invitation. I knew instantly, this was no place for me.
“But it’s Worlds of Fun,” my friend said.
“Nope. I’m scared. I’m not doing it.”
My friends spent the morning texting me, trying to convince me that funnel cake and disco zombies would make these haunted houses worth it. It’s just an amusement park, they insisted.
For them, October is everything goth and glam and gory. For me? If it doesn’t involve dancing, candy and cocktails, count me out.
This isn’t campy craziness in the Planet Snoopy kiddie area. And it’s not the Worlds of Fun of a decade ago when October was only kind of spooktacular with a few spinning rides, creepy costumes and fun house mirrors. And even then, I brought three friends to keep me grounded.
Now, Worlds of Fun’s haunted houses are all about the supreme scream. The park warns you not to bring anyone under 14 after dark. Fourteen? That’s how old I was the last time I purposely entered a haunted house. A ghoul jumped out and grabbed me, and I screamed. I also involuntarily took a swing on it and ran.
Fear makes me want to fight and flight –– in unision. That’s just how I roll.
A couple of years ago I went to a costume party dressed as a Camp Crystal Lake counselor from “Friday the 13th.” No one told me about the “haunted stairway.” As monsters hid in the shadows of curtains I literally yelled a warning: “Don’t touch me or jump out. I hit.”
So I don’t think the 13 “Extreme Haunts” at Worlds of Fun are for people like me. Especially not the newly frightening Blood on the Bayou, a cursed mansion on the hill where tortured spirits await. No thank you, boo.
Another new scare at the amusement park: Hexed. As entertaining as the Witches of the East and West sound, I am not here for their band of maniacal monkeys.
“Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun is like no other Halloween experience,” Brent Barr, corporate director of entertainment, said in a statement. “We dress up over 500 screamsters in Hollywood caliber makeup whose sole purpose is to torment and terrorize the patrons of Worlds of Fun.”
My friends? They cannot wait for the sun to set at Worlds of Fun this weekend. Me? I will not go anywhere intentionally to be petrified unless Jesse Eisenberg is going to save me, a la “Zombieland.” Or at least Daryl Dixon of “The Walking Dead.” Did I mention I once screamed and ran in a corn maze? A CORN MAZE.
I’m the kind of scared that even driving through the West Bottoms at night this time of year gives me goosebumps. My friend Michelle used to have movie nights in her loft down there, just around the corner from the widely celebrated KC haunts Beast and Edge of Hell.
No matter how many times I visited her, I ran at full Scooby-Doo and Shaggy speed from the gravel lot to her building.
So have fun, thrill seekers. I’ll be at home watching my DVD of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte. No screams necessary. Unless I run out of Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins.
▪ Every weekend in October is for the wicked at Worlds of Fun. Thirteen “Extreme Haunts” after 6:30 p.m. and scare-free fun during the day for the family. Tickets start at $35. For more details, visit WorldsOfFun.com/haunt
▪ Thursdays to Saturdays through Nov. 7, the charming and chilling West Bottms trio (The Beast, Edge of Hell and Macabre Cinema) are ready to scare you into insanity. Tickets to a single attraction start at $27, and there are a variety of combo tickets. For more, visit KCBeast.com, EdgeOfHell.com or MacabreCinema.com.