I love Halloween. I love it so much that I simply can’t do this HACK justice by expounding on all the different aspects of Samhain—believe me, I tried. So instead of telling you about my fanatical love of Ghostbusters, my childhood obsession with the supernatural, my teenage fascination with human myth, or my adult awareness of the how Magic(k) actually works, I’m just going to tell you about the greatest haunted hay ride ever.
My very first job was working at a haunted hay ride at the Buena Vista Camp Grounds in Buena, NJ. Our boss was this mean old guy who used to scream, “Where are my Mexicans?” referring to the cheap labor force that managed the grounds. For some reason he singled out me and my neighbor Phil as being the right people for a special assignment.
It was completely unique.
The wagon would go through the usual course of lame Halloween fare, the kind of stuff that people put up as decorations or how the corporations continually demystify the holiday. At the very end the wagon would take a long turn up a hill and ride far out to a giant warehouse.
Two Mexicans stood at the giant metal doors. The tractor entered the empty warehouse and the Mexicans would pull the giant doors shut. Inside, complete blackness. PITCH. BLACK. Suddenly, haunting classical music would blare from everywhere and a voice so well rehearsed, so perfect in its language, would tell a story about people who were murdered or something—it didn’t matter because it felt ominous. The music would swell and suddenly female voices blared in desperation. Bright white floodlights came on from all directions, blinding all the passengers in the hay wagon. Then the lights would go off leaving the half-blind passengers once again surrounded by darkness.
As the narrator continued speaking, our job was to sneak out from behind black tarp panels on the sides of each wall. In fact all the walls and floors were covered in black tarp. We wore all black and did a simple yet effective face job using only white makeup and baby powder. We’d crawl along the floor, straight up to the wagon, climb inside and either crouch in the middle or sit in empty spaces right next to unsuspecting passengers. The music would swell again and when the female voices wailed a second time, black lights went on. The already vision-impaired passengers totally lost their shit when we appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, right in front of their faces.
It turned out that this awesome experience was the brainchild of two guys from Millville who were only slightly older than us. One guy named Matt was the anonymous narrator. He sat in a small room that he’d turned into a mini-sound studio, complete with multi-track equipment and a speaker system he’d set up throughout the entire warehouse. All the lighting was hung on wires, presumably by the Mexicans. (Nope, still not tired of that joke.)
Unfortunately, the ride had its dark side. One time Phil was punched in the face by some poor bastard who simply reacted to incomprehensible terror that way. See, we all learned an important lesson working on that ride: All you really have to do is put a bunch of people in pitch blackness for longer than a minute and things could get downright scary. The managers worried about possible law suits, so the ride was closed down. Since then I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Corporations and conformists can attempt to lame-ify Halloween but they’ll never get rid of the Dark Spirit that lurks inside us all. Whether you love to scare or love to be scared, embrace it. You’ll soon be dead, and sticking around to haunt the living is just lame. Being alive is frightening enough.
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Towel Boy is a soul dirty bastard.