As anyone who knows me will tell you I am not a great fan of scary things. I have seen only a couple of horror movies in my life. I saw part of Halloween in college. I think Amy may still have bruises from that. When Jurassic Park was due out Amy decided that if I had read the book it would not be so bad. So we read the book, at least part of it was read aloud while I painted the floor of my workshop. As it turned out that just made it worse, because I anticipated each of the scary parts of the movie. The only good news was that we'd waited a while to see it and there were only a couple of other people in the theater so there weren't many witnesses to my yelps.
I also startle easily. Many years ago I was a nanny for a family with 9 and 12 year old boys who discovered this tendency and proceeded to take advantage of it. The hallway from my room to the kitchen paralleled the pantry. This provided the perfect spot for the boys to hide and jump out to scare me. It took several months of almost daily scares before I got wise to this and was able to anticipate it.
There is, though, one scary event which holds a special place in my heart. The neighborhood I grew up in was home to a number of fraternity houses which housed students from the college where my father worked. One of these fraternities put on a yearly haunted house in the days before Halloween. The scary things in the house were not designed to scare the pants off of the children who went through it, but to give us a small fright.
The haunted house was an anticipated event. It ushered in Halloween, and was all about us as children. I don't remember an adult ever going through it. We would line up on the porch and sidewalk outside the fraternity. The anticipation grew as those who'd been through did their best to convince us that it was too scary for us. And finally it would be our turn.
In the darkened interior of the house were ghosts, and vampires, and bowls of eye balls, and things that dropped from the ceiling to startle. It was okay to scream when startled, that was the point. If you survived the scares the kitchen offered a steaming cauldron of cider and witches offering trays of doughnuts.
It's been many years since my last trip through the haunted house. These days I don't even watch the commercials for scary movies. But if I was given the chance to be 10 again and take the walk through that haunted house I'd do it. The goosebumps that haunted house raised were good ones.