, , , , , , , ,

Like clockwork pumpkin goes on sale at the grocery store, cider pops up at the farmers market and I remember how much I love to scare and be scared. Can’t help it. Maybe it’s hereditary. Growing up my sisters and I played dress up with homemade fake blood and spent our birthday money on creepy flea market dolls and broken antiques hoping they were haunted. We wrote, directed and starred in our own mini horror films that we never actually recorded because we didn’t have a video camera, but we performed them to our creepy dolls’ delight. White Gown, a story of a girl and her haunted dress, was a favorite to make up on our feet.

We never grew out of our love for horror and it seems like it was passed on to the next generation. My mouth-breather 3-year-old niece does the best zombie impressions when she sneaks down in the middle of the night to join us watching scary movies. Her older sister adds a monstrous twist or giant spider pet to her princess drawings. It’s a start.

My MoonPie unfortunately is not a big fan, a fact that often slips my mind. I can deal with him not being vegan, but I’m not giving up on pulling out the inner horror fan he’s hiding very deep down. Last night I had the brilliant idea to hide while he was brushing his teeth. Found a good spot near the foot of the bed. I guess I assumed he’d come out knowing I was hiding and would look for me, but he didn’t notice I was nowhere to be found, which doesn’t fill me with confidence should the THEY ever come for me.

He came in with an armful of clean laundry to fold. I’m crouched a few feet away just watching and it occurs to me there’s no way to make my presence known now without terrifying him. Oops. I didn’t want to give him a heart attack but at this point I’d gone too far to turn back. His eyes drift down and meet mine and I can tell he doesn’t register that it’s me. He screams, steps back, loses his balance and falls hard on his bum.

Good times! I laughed harder when our new downstairs neighbors came up in a panic because it was long past midnight. Hi. Nice to meet you? Being able to make noise anytime day or night is definitely something I’m looking forward to once we move.

Anyway, the sight of pure terror in his eyes and ensuing fall is going in the brain vault for next time I need to smile. It also reminds me of an article I read recently about a third response to extreme stress. I’ve heard of fight or flight, but didn’t realize freezing is a common one as well.

I flee when something natural happens like lighting striking when I’m far from home. When a movie is truly scary I pull my feet from the floor because everyone in my family believes serial killers hide under the couch and wait until you’re watching a scary movie to slice off your ankles. I even removed the little legs from my current couch so it sits flat on the floor and still pull up my legs.

Now that we’re approaching that special time of year for horror movie marathons, haunted mazes and night venturing, it’s probably a good idea to know which one you are and where your fellow adventurers fall on the spectrum. My sisters are a mix – two flee and one freezes. My MoonPie is apparently a sit-and-freezer. I’m not sure how this response is useful in an urgent situation. Maybe it’s the equivalent of playing dead.

I’m a little conflicted about bringing MoonPie along on some night outings. I mean, my season’s mantra is Fall behind, stay behind but I’ve never known someone who sits and freezes so well he could actually, accidentally be left behind. Perhaps he just needs some more training. With light wells, deep closets and an old unusable fireplace, our apartment is full of great hiding places. It’d be a shame to move before trying them out.