Saturday, October 29, 2011

Memory Lane: Haunted Houses

I hate haunted houses.  It's true.  I hate them.  I also hate scary movies and I hate being scared.  Honestly, I think the truth is that I am scared often enough in my life, and I often see awful scary things at work that I'd prefer to just live life as blissfully as possible.

I can remember watching The Mummy -- not even that scary of a show, maybe even "suspenseful" is a better word.  I just remember thinking "I hate this, I hate feeling like this.  I hate being here, I hate this show."

And frankly, I haven't watched many movies like that for a long time.  Silly, but true.

BUT, once upon a time I participated in a haunted houses - when I volunteered at the Utah State Mental facility.  We were required to volunteer there when I took an abnormal psych class.  And wow, was it an eye opener.  Me and my friend Melanie worked in the beauty shop.  Mostly we just did old lady's hair in curlers, etc.  It was kind of sad and ridiculous as I think about it now.  We had no idea what we were doing, but we did show them love, and I guess that's all that counts.

But, back to haunted houses.  While I wasn't thrilled about it, we were able to earn a TON of volunteer hours in one night if we went and helped out with it, so go we did.

Yes, I did spell that wrong, and yes I have
scrapbooked since college.  I am amazing. 
It is official.
Here's the best thing about that haunted house -- besides the fact that it was outside in this creepy castle-type atmosphere, which was really cool.  The mental patients were involved.  No, it wasn't the ones that were in there for murdering people, but you don't know that -- Joe Schmo who just walks through.  Is it Hilary, BYU co-ed, or is it Dan Lafferty, accused of killing his own sister in law and baby niece? 

Plus, they had a bunch of really great makeup and hair people so you really wouldn't know.

I loved screaming people's names as they came through, they'd get so freaked out.  Good times.

Ok, turns out maybe I like to be the scare-er, not the scare-eee.

I had to do a rotation in the same hospital about 2 years later.  And boy, were those people glum.  The state had decided that it didn't portray the right image for the hospital.  It wasn't fair to mock mental people in that way, so they shut it down.

{sad face}

The patients were SO sad. They loved doing it.  They loved having something that was theirs that they could work on and contribute.  They knew that it was a REALLY scary haunted house and that they could do something that cool.  The really sad part is that this brought in a LOT of money to the state mental, and all of the money was earmarked for them to do fun things outside the facility, which takes a lot of money to do.  You have to have the staff to help go, you have to have vans and of course the price of places to go.  It's expensive.  And now they weren't going, at least not going very often.

Do you think the state looked at that, do you think they thought about how sad they'd be or how it would hurt their lives.  Unlikely.  They just felt like they weren't being PC enough.

And so maybe the scariest thing is politics.  Maybe the scariest thing is not thinking about how decisions affect people.

Ok, no, haunted houses are scarier, but only momentary. 

Anyway, anyone else remember the state mental haunted house?  Did you go?  Did you wet your pants?


  1. I hate haunted houses (except the ride at Disneyland :) but that place was the is by far the most scary!!

  2. That is the one and only haunted house I have been to. I'm not a big fan of them either. Having done some rotations there during school as well I had a lot of the same feelings about the people and the closing of the haunted house.

  3. I hate that Utah State Mental Haunted House. Do they even have it anymore? SCARY!!!


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