I love Halloween. I think it dates back to my theatrical roots, when I played Maggie in the Heritage Theatre Company play Maggie back in 1986. Or maybe it dates back even further than that, when I used to play pretend with my Barbies. One year my best friend and I created an alternate Barbie universe, placing our Barbies in various spots around my parents’ yard (Look! Barbie battling GI Joe! Climbing the giant pine tree! Oh no! Buried in a rock avalanche!), then tried to charge the neighbors $1 apiece to see “BarbieWorld.” (The only person who came was our paperboy.)
Halloween is the only time of the year when you’re encouraged to be someone else; the only time of year when your creativity is really in the spotlight. I have painted my face green as the Grinch and I have worn a mustache as Hulk Hogan (It was fun yelling “Watcha gonna do when the Hulkster runs wild on you?!” Not so fun trying to drink a beer with a handlebar mustache getting in the way.).
And while I hate scary movies, I’ve realized that it’s fun to be scared when there’s no real threat of harm and no twisted plot to obsess over later (I’m talking to you, The Exorcist).
Living in a state that boasts Anoka as the “Halloween Capital of the World” (with a parade and everything!), it makes sense that so many people really get into the “spirit” of Halloween in Minnesota. Lucky for us, there are numerous Halloween attractions and events throughout the metro.
A few years ago I was scared out of my mind at the Trail of Terror in Shakopee. The haunted house was you-can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face pitch black. Just try not to get behind a group of teenage girls. I think I temporarily lost hearing from the screaming.
I’ve also heard that the Haunted Basement at the Soap Factory is terrifying for adults (understandably so, when there are talented artists behind the scenes), but lo and behold, the tickets are all sold out.
Other attractions include The Mounds Theatre on the East Side of St. Paul, which is, according to their website, “recognized as one of St. Paul’s most haunted locations by the many psychics and ghost hunters who have visited it,” the Dreadwood Haunted Forest in Hudson, Wis., Nightmare Hallow Scream Park at Running Aces, the Dead End Hayride at Pinehaven, Frightmares at Buck Hill, the Wabasha Street Caves Ghosts and Graves or Caves and Graves Tours, Scream Town in Chaska, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Fright Farm Haunted House and Shadows and Spirits of the State Capital. (And I’m sure I’m still missing some!)
For the younger kids who think the scary stuff is a little too scary, there’s Zoo Boo at Como Zoo (recommended for children 3-10), Blackout at Nickelodeon Universe, where the park will be transformed with unlit rides, black lighting, and fog effects (complete with appearances by Spongebob and Patrick, Dora and Diego, and the Backyardigans), and numerous Halloween events planned at nature centers, community centers, and museums, so check with your city to see if a kid-friendly event is planned.
The Halloween countdown is on. I’m excited. Are you?
P.S. Save your Heath bars for me. Those are my favorite.