Ah... October... One of my favorite times of year. Wnhy, you may ask? Because it's "Haunted House Season"!
A mere 40 miles north across the PA line, some of the most awesome haunted house exhibits come to life this time each year. I try to see as many of them as I can. So far this year I have seen:
-- The Eastern State Penitentiary. It used to be a prison for hard-core criminals in the 1800s. The warden was a Quaker who thought that 20-30 years of solitary confinement was what would rehabilitate people. It actually drove the inmates stark, raving mad. A section of this historical site is now a haunted house exhibit filled with Undead prison guards, zombie inmates, rats the size of dogs, etc. Very kewl.
-- Halloween Park: This year, they combined two smaller haunted houses into one very large haunted house. This one feaures several dozen locked rooms that require the visitor to figure out the right triggers for getting the doors open. It's a thinking man's haunted house.
-- Field of Screams. This haunted house exhibit got a modest upgrade this year too. The owner discovered what a wonderful product is propane! So many things puff great gouts of fire at the visitors now. Very exciting. A Frankenstein section features the biggest Jacob's Ladder I have ever seen. There's a hay ride and two haunted houses. This year,one of the haunted houses has a section that has been converted to look like a very run-down 5-star hotel from the late 1800s and features a goul on a wire (it must be the most awesome job there -- to fly around all night tormenting people, hee hee).
Oddly enough, all these wonders (and more) are found in southern Pennsylvania. Here in Maryland, we don't really have such things. But it's worth the drive.
As a cultural side note, it cracks me up how the pagan holiday of Samhain has evolved into the secular holiday of Halloween. In Samhain, the Veil that seperates the material world and the spirit world is the thinnest. It's also the Wiccan "new year" from a liturgical standpoint.
Hopefully next weekend I'll have the $$ for "The Haunted Mill" or "Jason's Woods".