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Over this past weekend, I participated in conducting a Haunted Mansion for our organization’s fundraiser. I was second chair to the event as I have not been involved in an endeavor of this magnitude. It was a learning experience to put it delicately. Our actors were superb. We had a handful of people frightens to tears, a sign of a truly scary haunted house. To our pleasant surprise we even had quite a few people return to the ticket line after running out screaming!

According to our casual verbal survey our two most popular vignettes in the haunted house was the live 13 yellow foot python with his handler under black light, faux flora, and a fog machine. As our haunted house was “at your own pace” many people were allowed to touch the snake, if they inquired, but the handler never invited such requests. Upon feeling the reptilian muscles ripple underneath their fingers and snake’s head turning to hiss at them always resulted in the desired effect. Incidentally the very next vignette our other scariest conoction. It was simply a bare chamber with an adolescent girl with long hair crying in the shadowy corner, as her crying grew louder she looked up as if possessed and scream at the top her longs flashing twelve-inch long black talons. She would run at full speed shrieking up to the barrier and stop breathing heavy and acting crazed, her ripped nightgown and dripping blood becoming evident. Occasionally, she would jump the barrier into the walkway just to be truly terrifying. Achieved!

As a result of tending to the myriad of last-minute details, I only acquire a dozen pictures. How dreadful of me! Having time to photograph the event or delegating someone as a photographer was just one of the lessons learned that night. Others included not accepting last-minute assistance as they tend to be unreliable, no matter how well-meaning. Also using explicitly directions when addressing the all-teenage production crew is absolutely vital. Needed items were lost and not found until the following morning as others no one seem to know the whereabouts of the elusive Three Boxes.

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