Worlds of Fun’s Halloween Haunt, the West Bottom Haunted Houses — you name it, I’ve done it, all while dragging a conglomerate of screaming teen girls behind me. My daughter is impressed that none of the shenanigans at these places scare me. I don’t even jump when a “vampire” sticks his bloody hand in my face.
I do, though, offer him some hand sanitizer and a baby wipe from my purse.
To me these so-called haunted houses are for wimps. If you want to scare a middle-aged parent, you’ve got to come up something that trumps what we’ve already endured. So far, these “bone chilling” residences have nothing on the terror associated with raising a family.
Get ready to scream, brace yourself for unimaginable fear because here’s a tour of House of Horrors: The Parenting Years.
Your journey of doom begins in a garage where an attempt must be made to put a screaming, inconsolable, thrashing baby in a car seat. After that nightmare, you then get in the car and are forced to listen to said baby scream, at a decibel level that exceeds the sound of a jet taking off, for at least 30 minutes.
When you mercifully escape the garage, you’re chased by a Zombie HOA board into a kitchen where it looks like abdominal surgery was performed, but come to discover it’s only pasta sauce that exploded after being left on the stove for too long. You’ll shriek when a crazed, sauced-covered woman chases you around the kitchen with a steak knife and a half-filled wine glass, begging you to help her clean up the mess because she’s has to drive soccer carpool in less than five minutes.
You manage to flee the deranged mother only to slip on some angel hair pasta and slide head-first into a bathroom where the smell of what surely must be the stench of death saturates your olfactory system. As you’re fighting back gagging, you simultaneously scream when a man pops out from behind the toilet, waving his hands, full of Clorox wipes, in your face, wailing about potty training a toddler with bad aim and a temperamental bowel system that favors explosive diarrhea.
Running for your life, you head for what looks to be a darkened family room, but instead is a torture chamber. You fall again because what you thought was carpet is really 4,389,073 Lego bricks spread out over the floor. Right when you think the pain can’t get any worse your hand is speared by a Harry Potter Hogwarts castle Lego turret.
Slowly, you attempt to get up but are forced to lie face down in the Legos by mini humanoid life forms that want to use your body as a play mat for their My Little Ponies and Thomas the Tank Engine trains. These persistent creatures continue with their foul deeds by violating all four treaties of the Geneva Conventions as it relates to the treatment of prisoners by incessantly chanting, “Play with me?” while the Barney song coupled with a rap version of the Sesame Street theme is played on a continuous loop.
Finally, you break free and run up the stairs and go through the first door you see in an attempt to hide from the small but fierce minions. Alas, this room is even worse! You’ve entered teenage girl hell. Mounds of clothes are piled on the floor so high to scale them would require the assistance of a Sherpa. There’s also a shrill, Kardashian-ish whine coming from the bed. You don’t see the girl making the sound. All you hear is complaining that is so vile you know it has the power to steal your very soul. As you bolt for the door the disembodied voice moans, “I’m so tired. I hate my life. Our Wifi sucks.”
A fight-or-flight surge carries you back downstairs, and as you race past the family room careful not to make eye contact with the tiny ones, you head for the basement. You hope this is where you can finally make your getaway. But oh the humanity, the travesty! There’s a 20something who has made this subterranean dwelling his home! Six figures and counting spent on a college education and here lies the remains of adult child working retail at a GameStop until he can “figure out what he really wants to do.”
As you trip over video game controllers, boxer shorts and yesterday’s late night snack plates, you pray for deliverance from this room of dashed parental dreams and give it everything you’ve got, and then some, to make it to the sliding glass door that will lead you away from this terror-topia. You hit the yard and rejoice, thinking you’re free, until you trip on a bike that was thrown in the grass and are knocked unconscious while the family dog sniffs your privates.
Scared yet? I know I am.