Haunted House Do's and Don'ts

Haunted House Do's and Don'ts

A spooky season guide to keeping yourself and others safe through the adrenaline rush of haunted houses.
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It's about that time of year again. You probably have already started to see the "Halloween" aisles opening up at the local Walmart, or seen the spike in pumpkin flavored food and drinks. With Fall comes my personal favorite time of the year, haunted house season! In fact, I actually am a current actor who has been screamin' and scarin' for 4 years now. That being said, I've picked up a couple of do's and don'ts for the guests that either has never been to a haunted house before or have and want to enhance their experience. Sometimes, the best tips for the spooked come from the spooker themselves.

1. Do: Let yourself be nervous

It's okay! The whole point of a haunted house is to be put in an uncomfortable area and let your adrenaline take the reins. We see hundreds of people come through and are just as nervous as you are, if not more. Let yourself be scared. It's more fun!


2. Don't: Think you are safe in numbers

We get it, you come with your group of friends and everyone wants to be in the middle so the monster that "pops-out" won't target them. The truth is, no matter where you are in the group, you aren't in the clear. The safest place to be would be in the back, but even then the actors with chainsaws would be chasing behind. Whoever is in the front will probably set off a trigger to a loud noise or make an animatronic jump out. Bottom line? The actor will scare whoever is closer or seems the most nervous. There is no "safe zone". Sorry.

2. Do: Act chill

Unless of course, your goal is to be a target, don't try to act tough. Trust me, it's a lot more amusing for the actor to get a scream out of the guy (or anyone really) who's acting like they're immune to everything. More often than not, the tough ones are the first to take off down the attraction screaming and leaving everyone else behind. You know who I'm talking about.

3. Don't: Hit the actor

Usually we can tell who swings at us out of surprise and are genuinely sorry for doing so and who's trying to look cool. We get it, you get scared, it's a natural instinct. But we come home with many bruises and have to spend the next explaining them to everyone else. If you have a tendency to throw hands whenever you're spooked, try to keep your hands in your pockets. If you're instinct is to fight or your goal is to hit us, please hangout at home.

4. Do: Tell an actor if you need to leave

Haunted houses aren't for everyone. But really, the only way to find out is to actually go to one. If you feel uncomfortable and do not think you can complete the entire attraction, please tell an actor. It's dark, it's loud, we can't tell the difference between someone who is genuinely enjoying being scared and someone who is unhappy. Just ask them for the nearest exit, no big deal.

5. Don't: Bring children

I think it goes without saying that anywhere with blood, darkness, screaming, and weapons is not a good place for children to be. It's still controversial what age is the right age to let a kid to a haunted house since really it depends on the kid themself and if they feel like they are mature/ready enough for it. Young, frightened children are not suitable as it ruins the attraction for others and many times actors cannot use the right discretion that they normally would out of costume around children because of the darkness and loud sounds. A good rule of thumb is any child under the age of 7 and/or cannot even watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, usually isn't ready yet.

6. Do: Wear the right clothes

Wait, haunted houses have a dress code?! No, not exactly. But please be mindful that you're probably going to be walking a lot so it would be a good idea to wear comfortable shoes. Unless you're on a hayride, in which just be sure to wear anything you wouldn't mind getting covered in pieces of hay that you'll be finding for the next month. Dark clothes may seem like a smart hiding technique because we can't see you, but guess what? We've developed a keen sense of night vision from being shielded from light for so long. So like the fake vampires are practically real to be honest. Comfy clothes, everyone.

7. Don't: Touch the actor

Isn't that the same as hitting the actor? Well, no, technically. By "touch" the actor I mean a few different things. Number one, please don't hit them at all. Most actors cannot touch you, it's only polite and fair that you also keep your hands to yourself. Also, please don't touch the makeup. It's more awkward than you think to have someone stroke the blood on your face to see what it "felt like". Please, refrain.

8. Do: Laugh

Funny things happen, it's okay to not feel scared if you're not! Sometimes your friend gets so scared they run into a wall. It happens more than you think. It's okay to laugh about it, it's all part of the fun.

9. Don't: Hit on the actors

Yes, a different kind of hitting this time. I wish it wasn't such a large problem that I would have to add it on to this already long list, yet here we are. Actors are actors for a reason. They are not there to get your number or to go out on a date with you, and it is incredibly rude for you to point out how "attractive" they are (serious or not) while they are covered in blood and screaming their head off. Seriously, there's a time and a place and the middle of a cemetery is not one of them.

10. Do: Go on a haunted house date

You'll both be screaming and crying and running, it's a great time. Honestly. If the date goes well, your sense of cooperation and teamwork is already strong. If it doesn't then hey you still got to go to a haunted house. Fall dates are the best dates.

11. Don't: Knock it before you try it

Haunted houses are supposed to be scary. If you lock yourself in the mindset that you won't enjoy it because it's scary, then you won't enjoy it. Go in with an open mind, you may end up loving them or even working there like I did. It's all about how to approach the situation.

Now, if you are uncomfortable with situations like that or anything within the house may be a trigger, please, by all means, don't feel forced to go to one. But if you are willing to give it a shot, more often than not you won't regret it. Remember to keep yourself safe, others safe, and the actors safe along with these tips and tricks I have mentioned above. Happy spooky season everyone, I'll be seeing you on the other side of the drop window.

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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Summer Jobs Are The Absolute Worst And You Know I'm Right

The only thing that sucks more than moving home for the summer, is finding a job for the summer.

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I understand that working never tends to be something we necessarily want to do, but working in the summer is especially dreadful. If you ever moved back home for a summer, you might be familiar with these few reasons ALL summer jobs suck.

Summer jobs want stability- not experience...

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If you told me I'd be able to find a summer job easier as a high school student than a college student, I would've laughed at you. Why would it be easier to get a job in high school when a college student is more qualified and experienced? It's because high school students will still be around for the school year, and not all college students will be. Summer jobs don't care. Broke college students do though.

Summer jobs want stability- not experience. Previously, finding a job in high school was never a problem for me. I applied, I waited, and I was hired. Now it's like a place of employment sees "college student" on an application, and they burn it at the stake. Employers only want to hire you if you'll be around for the long haul. Consider yourself lucky if you went to college in your hometown or close to your hometown. Switching jobs because of school sucks.

Plan ahead or you're SOL.

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College students are busy, and the last thing I had in mind during the winter semester of my freshman year was to plan ahead for a job months away in a town I didn't currently live in. I guess that should've been one of the main things on my mind.

Summer jobs also want you to have plans for your summer employment long before summer arrives! What a surprise it was to me when everyone around told me that you need to apply at most places in the winter to guarantee a spot in the summer! Who knew working at an ice cream shop was so competitive?

Working in the summer just sucks.

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When you finally get hired at your last choice of employment because that's all that was willing to hire you, (at a noticeably lower rate of pay than you requested), you're pretty grateful to be working again. You also usually have to start working more and right away because of the time off due to being unable to easily find a job, so there goes your whole summer. Soon you will watch out the dirty pizza parlor window as your friends drive by on the way to the beach.

Nobody wants to spend their entire summer working, but that is the price to pay as a broke college student. The money isn't great. Your job isn't great, but hopefully you can still make the best out of a shitty situation. Yay working!

The bright side of summer jobs is that they're usually pretty easy and effortless. It might suck to get up and do the same thing for low pay every day of your summer, but it's not hard to scoop ice cream for a few hours and then hit the road with your best friends while you complain about your terrible jobs and stay out all night just to get up and do it again the next morning.

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