Screaming and fun


Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Bernas.

Mackenzie Bernas, Staff Writer

By Mackenzie Bernas

Akin to a shadow, I hang closely to my dad’s mustard-colored backpack while my friend trails closely behind. The sudden transition from scorching sunlight to the dreary darkness of a haunted house makes dread couple with excitement settle at the bottom of my stomach. My mind had already exhausted itself turning over every scenario a scarer could possibly take my heart by surprise.

As my eyes slowly grew accustomed to the dark, the beat of my heart, scouring every inch of the narrow hall with adrenaline as their power line, the first scarer welcomed us with a scream! The moment—supposed to incite exciting fear—was overshadowed when my friend who suddenly clutched my arm yelled…‘sorry’?

I know I was supposed to scream but all I could do was laugh as Daphne’s apologies continued throughout the entire Vault Overtaken haunted house. I think what did me in was her screaming about how our chemistry test grade was so much scarier which may sound insulting to the scarers, but to be fair, she did also yell compliments. This situation seemed to repeat itself with every haunted house and even led to a screaming battle between a scarer and her. Although the scarer’s grouchy voice said, “I won,” in the end, I’m pretty sure Daphne was the real winner.

Other family friends also accompanied me as we ventured willingly into Howl-O-Scream. I did question why my seven-year-old god brother was going through haunted houses when he came out drenched in sweat. His dad swore he was dry when he went in. Being seven years old  in haunted houses did have its perks though. When I followed him going into LumberHack, the scarers simply bent down to wave at him, but they didn’t spare any of that sweet mercy for me. Even though last year at LumberHack someone came outside with my aunt and chased her all the way up a hill, it ended up being ‘okay’ because the sunlight gave away too many scarers.

Ava and Sydney were some more family friends who tagged along which was lucky since these girls were screamers. I happened to follow them into Frostbite which turned out to be a discovery adventure of how high pitched screams can get. I was in a bad position for this haunted house since I held up the back of the group which allowed some guy to make a snake-like clicking noise directly in my ear. I wasn’t reacting out of sheer awkwardness, but he decided to just keep going so I had to smile politely and walk more briskly. Even though Ava and Sydney ended up crashing into a wall and remaining on the floor for a hard minute, everyone made it out alive.

After going through Demented Dimensions, the team was pretty worn out, but happy we could no longer relate to the vampire life of sunlight-hating since it was nighttime. After walking through scarers lurking the streets of Busch Gardens with Daphne practically painting a red ‘X’ on her back by running the moment she made eye contact and attracting even more scares, we made it to the tram. Since our first tram driver was named Scott and we came from Scotland, I thought this new driver wouldn’t be able to live up to Scott, but she proved me wrong. 

Her cheery voice aroused the tram to sing a song about her coworker Billy—pronounced like (Bill-lay)—to congratulate him, but I’m sure no one had ever heard it before. After much manipulation, we were able to manage just shouting “Billy!”  The tram grew in fervor once we heard Billy’s very raspy and low voice contrasting hard with his cheery coworker. After that, shouts of “Billy!” were heard long after the tram stopped. This was a super enjoyable night so don’t get confused and think you have to be scared at Howl-O-Scream. 

Just have fun!