Monday, October 30, 2006

"Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light." ~ Dorothy Thompson

Of course fear is what Halloween is all about so in the spirit of the season Amanda and I went to the Nashoba Valley in Massachusetts last night to a place called Witch's Woods, a Halloween Screampark and Haunted House, that is apparently quite the popular attraction.

Under normal circumstances, there is no way that I would even consider driving almost 100 miles on a school and work night to go to a converted ski area with the express purpose of being scared but the circumstances were special in that the outing was part of Tegan's 16th birthday celebration. Tegan is one of Amanda's cousins who lives in Shirley, Massachusetts with my cousin Becky and her husband Glenn (my former brother-in-law) and their other daughter Vicky. As they live a little over an hour from here, Amanda doesn't get to see her cousins nearly as often as she would like so when she was invited up for this outing I couldn't very well say "no". Well, I could have but I knew she really wanted to go and what kind of mother would I be to deny her child the opportunity to get the beejeebers scared out her so I could simply sit home and watch Desperate Housewives? Sigh ... That said, it was off to Massachusetts shortly after I got home from work.

As a side note here, let me just say that I absolutely positively hate driving through Worcester, Massachusetts. Hate may seem like a harsh word to use but in this case, I feel that it is truly justified as that is one of the worst cities I have ever driven through. I've driven in New York City, I've driven in San Francisco, I've driven in Seattle, I've driven in Chicago and countless other big cities. I have mastered the intricacies of driving in Southern California which generally involved switching between the 5, 405, and 210 at very high rates of speed. But out of all the places that I have driven, I despise driving through Worcester the most. Talk about taking your life into your own hands as soon as you hit the City limits! My father always said that Massachusetts had the worst drivers in the country and it seems like every single one of them drives in Worcester! If it were possible, I'd throw the car into auto-pilot, close my eyes, and cower in the driver's seat until we got to the other side but unfortunately that's not possible so instead I grab the steering wheel a bit tighter, pick a lane, and hope for the best. For me the scariest part of the whole night was simply the drive through Worcester!

By the time we met up with the cousins and over to Littleton, it was good and dark (thanks to that hour-early thing we previously discussed it was really dark!) and the place was packed with people looking to have the daylights scared out of them. The first major fright came at the ticket booth when Glenn shelled out $22 each for 15 tickets! I'm sure Glenn would rather have a vampire sucking the blood from his veins rather than having that kind of cash sucked out of his bank account but his oldest daughter would only turn 16 once and he seemed to handle it quite stoically with only a slight grimace rather than the blood-curdling scream that would have escaped from my throat!

From there it was off to the four various parts of the Screampark - Castle Morbid, The Keeper's Crypt, The Haunted Hayride, and Nightmare Mansion. Various screams and moans could be heard as we waited our turn in line - and that was just from the kids that had come to help celebrate Tegan's birthday! Amanda had no trouble fitting right in with Tegan's friends and seemed to have an absolutely wonderful time. Even though I was freezing, hungry (stupid me forgot to stop to get something to eat on the way up), and not even remotely scared it was worth the trip to see Amanda having such a good time with her cousins. Even though I'm far from being her age anymore, I remember how much fun it was to get together with my cousins for special trips and events.

Around 8:30 we took our leave from the group as we had over an hour and a half to drive back to Connecticut but if Amanda could have had her way we would have stayed right until the very end and beyond. She took quite the liking to Nate, one of Tegan's friends, who seemed to like most of the same things that she did and even knew how to dress (i.e., he had chains on his pants and a shirt that Amanda declared she wanted to steal). Again, even though it's been a very long time since I've been 14, I haven't forgotten what it's like to meet a cute guy and hate to go home but alas, that's exactly what we had to do so after good-byes to her new friends we started began the trek home.

Driving south through Worcester wasn't nearly as bad as the trip north as it was getting fairly late and everyone else was apparently home watching Desperate Housewives so I was able to relax my grip on the wheel a little bit. We arrived back home around 10:30 and even though it was late and we were both tired (and I was still cold!), Amanda declared it to be a great trip and she was glad that we went.

Oh, and for the record, she wasn't scared at all - as she said "it's kind of hard to scare someone when they're into Goth anyway, Mom". Oh yeah, I forgot that! Happy Halloween!


  1. Anonymous9:59 PM EST

    I shall steal that shirt!

    and the chains too!

    we need to go back up there soon >.>

    and I wanted to play with the dead girls playing jump rope and singing ring around the rosie...

  2. Anonymous11:22 AM EST

    As a transplant to Worcester from Norwich, I feel the need to defend Worcester driving. But then I remember that there's a reason I live little over a mile from where I work.

    That said, picking a lane and staying in it is the best one can do on Worcester roads. And something us Massholes don't do often. Yes, all you readers, we are Massholes. That is how we drive. Most of us unfortunately look at the term as a badge of honor rather than the insult it was originally meant to be.

    And also as a recent transplant, I was debating going to Witches Woods this year. I found myself unable. Is it worth the trek is one is say mid to late 20s rather than teens?

  3. Driving through Worcester doesn't bother me if I stay on the highway. But if I happen to come upon any of the exits with misnomers like "Kelly Square" (when they are actually the most convoluted, dangerous traffic CIRCLES in existence), then I, too, want to take the close-my-eyes-pray-for-the-best-and-just-gun-it approach. However, it's better than Boston. Much, much better. In Worcester, at least people don't confuse red lights with yellow on a regular basis.

    Anyway, Happy Halloween to you and yours! And Desperate Housewives was great this week. This whole season is fantastic. I had to watch it on this week because I missed the regular time slot, too.

  4. I would say that Witch's Woods would probably be okay for someone a little over the age of 18 or so but beyond that it's hard to say. If people jumping out of the darkness and screaming in your face scares you then - yes, it's a great place to go! They do a very nice job and the people that work there seem to quite enjoy it but I thought it was just a bit over-priced (and I wasn't the one paying!).


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