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Halloween Guide and Ideas
Halloween Guide and Ideas


We love a good haunt, we always have. Even as kids, all of us here at Halloween Online have loved getting the crap scared out of us but in a fun, this is all fake kind of way. We've all watched some of the grossest movies you can imagine, maybe only once, but we've seen them. We love Halloween and we love the scary part of it the most so don't get the impression that we are all a bunch of wimps around here. We've been underestimated before, much to the dismay of our tormentors because we always have a plan better than theirs as far as sneaky scares go. We like to scare the scar-actors and we do it just fine, thank you.

Haunted attractions are a big part of Halloween, whether it's the elaborate home haunt or the pro haunt that's been around for years. The rise in pro hunts is tripled over the last few years, going from around 1500 in 2006 to over 4000 in 2012. This is fun, scary, Halloween entertainment at it's best. But we've noticed a change over the past few years and as far as we are concerned it's not a good change. Haunts are devolving into what we consider to be nothing more then a horror movie on steroids with you as the tortured victim, unable to fight back. And that's what makes it wrong.

Theme parks offer thrills and chills during October. Knott's Berry Farm in California turns into Knott's Scary Farm during the night hours of October as does Universal Studios and it's Halloween Horror Nights. There have always been set rules applying to conduct of the scar-actors with the public, like the "No Touching the Guests!" rule, which seems to have flown out the window over the past few years. There are haunts all over the country that open during the Halloween season and they each seem to be trying to out-do the others for gore, scares and violence aimed at the customers. And the customers are just loving every painful minute of it.

While Knott's still holds to this policy, Universal Studios allows their scar-actors, which is the actors hired to walk through the park in full monster makeup and scare everyone, to touch, grab and manhandle customers. I experienced this personally in 1999 when an actor grabbed me and pulled me under his cape and ran off with me. While I wasn't afraid and was laughing the whole time, it was an inappropriate thing to do.

Earlier that month we had taken some of the crew to a local haunt in a near-by mall. We paid our entrance fees, and were ushered into a seated waiting area. Suddenly a character was upon us, trying his best to scare all of those who were waiting. He was doing a good job until he grabbed the ankle of one of the women that was with us and tried to drag her off the seat and pull her away by the foot. Two problems here: She hated being touched at haunts and wouldn't go through it after that which ended up in complaints to management and a refund and secondly, she has brittle bone disease and he could have easily broken her ankle if we hadn't stopped him. It ruined the night for all of us and we gave them a bad review on the site we had set up for local Halloween Haunts.

No matter how extreme a haunt wants to get they should never allow the cast to touch the customers. It's a hard and fast rule of haunts that has been around forever but something has drastically changed over the past 10 years and not for the better. These haunt owners, even though they post al kinds of warning have no idea if someone has a medical problem that may cost them their haunt or could lead to an altercation between staff and customers. If you see a sign at a zoo that says "Don't stick your and in the lion cage" are you going to do it? Chances are you will and the zoo ends up getting stuck for your stupidity. People don't always heed warnings, ever!

This brings us to the main objective of this article which is has society been so desensitized to guts, gore, torture and pain that they have a craving for it now?. Pro haunts and home haunts alike have thrown out all of the old rules and changed to fit our society, which as a whole has changed dramatically over the past few years.

The younger generations that are growing up are now what we call the "Who Cares" generation. They see life s so futile that they don't really see a future, at least not a good one, for themselves and could care less if they live or die. They are now are adrenaline junkies that will do anything shocking for a thrill and not take into consideration that they may die. Worse still  is that they don't seem to care if they die or not. Where did this come from? The breaking down of family life to the point that the parents work 4 jobs between them and act like friends instead of parents to their children? There us no family unit anymore, especially in large urban areas. You see this less in the farming states where families still stick together.

As we are more desensitized to gore, violence and brutality in the world, haunts are adjusting to fit what people want or what they think people want. We have noticed a rise in haunts that seem more based on the torture-porn horror genre and include paying customers in the fun. And not so oddly, the customers are literally eating it up. After all, we sit and watch it on TV every day, see it in video games, hear it in music and read it in books. I've never been one to agree that those things cause violent behavior but I do think that it may have an effect on a person that leans that way to begin with.

Kinda makes you wonder about the world we live in today. We just happened to be watching some Halloween shows on the Travel Channel that they've put out the past three years, The Halloween Crazy series. It started out with 2011's Halloween Crazy, then 2012's Halloween Crazier and to top it off, 2013's Halloween Craziest Travel Guide. We hadn't seen the one from last year so we all got comfy and started watching. By the end we were just shaking our heads and had a long discussion. Haunts have changed dramatically in just 3 years. Even the younger people in our crew thought that some of the haunts that we had just seen were way too much. It featured the two houses that we talk about below and to be honest, we were all feeling like we needed to have our brains cleaned when the show was over.

There's a new genre of haunts now, like "Blackout House" which started with one house in New York in 2011 and then added Houses in L.A. and Chicago the next 2 years. For 2014 it's just New York and L.A.. If you look at these cities, it's not hard to figure out why they do so well. You have large, diverse groups of people that live a more thrill seeking lifestyle that's far past the fringes of society. A trip through this house can only be called a paid experience in humiliation, degradation and torture, takes a person through their worst or maybe fondest nightmares, each area more extreme than the last. The customer is groped, molested, forced to come into contact with human feces, and touching the private parts of the customers. Their motto is "It's time to change the rules again". Who's rules and why change them?

From their website for the L.A. House: "Please note that you may encounter fog, strobe lights, complete darkness, crawling, stairs, loud noises, water, physical contact, and simulated sexual and violent situations. Limited amount of tickets available." From what we've seen the simulated sex and violence isn't a maybe and it didn't look fun or entertaining unless you tend to be submissive, like to have a sheet of plastic wrapped over your head, be forced up against a wall and threatened by a nude man, be made to squat on a floor covered in human feces and have it rubbed in your face by a nude woman. Check out the videos for yourself, although they don't show too much, and see what you think. It is for ages 18 and above, so you have been warned, unless you like the whole S/M - B/D experience and want to pay for a 25 minute session. Personally, we aren't into it and don't want to experience it for Halloween, thank you very much.

A home haunter doesn't have to go by any rules like a pro haunt does and some of them take a huge advantage of that. One of the home haunts featured on the same show was like watching a bad torture-porn horror movie like the Saw series, Hostel or Tourista. McKamey Manor is located in San Diego, California. The website says: "Be warned, this is not your standard (boo) haunted house. This is an audience participation event in which (YOU) will live your own Horror Movie. This is a rough, intense and truly frightening experience. You must be in GREAT HEALTH to participate. Last year's haunt was absolutely nothing compared to the new MCKAMEY MANOR."

It also states that they can come into physical contact with you but you CAN NOT touch them. They limit it to groups of two to four people since they take you individually and give you a good going over. Each group lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. We see that they are now open year round on the weekends, by appointment only. That means people like it so much, his business is doing so well that a  lot of sick puppies want to go play the game all year long, coming from all over the world. We've been told that the McKamey's are the nicest couple you could imagine when not literally scaring the crap out of people. Admission to the house is four cans of dog food or one large bag, which they donate to Greyhound Rescue groups.

The owner of the haunt, Russ McKamey, who leads each group personally along with his four helpers, start out by having patrons handcuffed to trees and screaming in their faces, throwing fake blood all over them until they are in tears and begging to be let go. Inside, he grabs people from the group, and pushes the person into a chair which locks their head into a cage device that fills with fake snakes, spiders and buckets of fake blood. In the show that we saw. the poor guy is screaming to be let out, that he'll be good, and so on. A woman is grabbed and strapped into a chair that has a giant saw blade coming at her while the man screams orders at her and questions her like a POW under attack. It's not fun to watch yet when interviewed after coming out most of the people seemed to like it. What we don't understand is why anyone would like it. It's like Third World style brutality.

That gets into the whole of society and how we've become so desensitized to gore by seeing it on the evening news, in horror films and in everyday life. When you hear that someone was beheaded in the Middle East, we used to be horrified. Now you hear about it and it just goes right through you. If you have never seen an actual beheading it probably brings up thoughts of a guillotine type death but it's far worse than that. A human head does not come off easily especially when it's being sawed through with a large knife. It is not quick and painless but long, drawn out and horrifying and if you see one I can guarantee that you will never forget it.

So, to end this, how far will society as a whole go on it's fall into decay, it's lack of empathy and what was once called "The Dumbing Down of Americans"? I guess time will tell. I can see a future where we live in a real life world of Grand Theft Auto, we are almost there already. Halloween will lose it's innocents and kids won't remember what fun it used to be, of course the kids of today have already missed out on that anyway.



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