I wanted to take a break from talking about myself and my favorites of my books (because, hello narcissism) to tell you about something that has been haunting me for days.

Sort of.

Y'all know it was Halloween last weekend, right?

Okay. So let me set the stage here. My oldest daughter is eleven, and I feel that she is getting too old to be trick or treating. It's increasingly difficult to find costumes of what she wants to be that aren't oversexed hooker versions, and I just don't want her dressing like that. Not to mention, we never actually eat the candy anyway. Last year she stayed home with me to hand out candy while her dad took our youngest trick or treating. And this year she was going to do it, too. But ... we still wanted to do something big, something fun, something "grown up" to replace the old trick or treat tradition.

"So," we thought, "why not go to a haunted something and get the hell scared out of ourselves?" She loved the idea. I loved the idea.

We began planning.

I looked up several different places, including one that's apparently so scary you have to sign health waivers before you can get in. You know, in case they actually prove that it's possible for someone to be scared TO DEATH. That particular place has five separate attractions, and if you actually make it through all of them, they give you a refund. And I think they don't let anyone under 18 in or something.

Because they take scaring people VERY seriously.

Unfortunately for them, I don't like urine running down my legs, so I chose to look elsewhere.

Frightworks? No, they recommend no one under 12 years old. Hmm. Stumped.

But then, what about the haunted trail at Cherokee Caverns? It's local, it's not too costly. They recommend no one under ten. Perfect!

So we set off on Friday October 30, in company with my cousin Dana and her little charmer of a son. He's the same age as my oldest daughter, so these two have literally grown up together, and they were excited, although I'm not sure anyone was as excited as me.

We get there, we check in, buy tickets, wait in line. And then it starts. Outside, you guys. In the woods. At night. And all I could think was, "Screw all the scary stuff! Don't they know there's bugs out here!?"

We go into this beaten little shack, get told a creepy story about an old abandoned town run by a man who lets the townsfolk stay around (as long as they keep luring in "fresh bodies" for him to "experiment on", of course), and we go out through the back door. In the dark. In the woods.

And I'm the caboose.

It's Dana's son, then Dana, then Josephine, then me. So of course I'm noticing every rustle of leaves, every crunch of grass. From behind me. Because someone is following us. Scarily. Of course.

From this point, everything becomes a foggy haze of alternating fear and amusement, so I can't remember which order all the creepers came in. But here's the rundown, as best I can give it.

There was a clown, because why the hell not? But not like a circus clown ... sort of like circus meets Saw movies, whatever that creeper's name was. Jigsaw?

Anyway. That was fun. Not. I think my poor kid will never see clowns the same way again ... and she's got these big gorgeous eyes that used to be the purest blue and have now gone a bit green, and let me tell y'all, I thought her eyes were going to POP. OUT.

But that was just the beginning. I got startled a lot, but I didn't really feel the first licks of genuine fear until a guy watched us walk by without trying to get us. He welcome us to town, and welcomed us to dinner.

To BE dinner.


It was after that that the chainsaws started.

And I mean, I've joked a lot over the years about the size of my booty, and I've joked that if someone could just cut it off ...

Y'all, it's pretty FREAKING scary when someone actually tries to. In the dark. In the woods. While your kid is screaming bloody murder.

I swear, I was running with my ass tucked in so far, I probably looked like I didn't have one. My ass was pulled in like the curve side of a comma. My body was a parenthesis. I ain't kiddin'.

Then we walked into this room, all creepy with a tv on that just had static on the screen like the old days when channels would actually go off the air. The guy in there was standing next to a sink counter,  cutting up body parts with a machete, and everything was covered in blood. The counter, the walls. The guy.

He was pretty chill, though, he didn't even try to be scary. He just turned to the curtain behind him, looked at us, and opened the curtain for us to pass through.

Except he used his bloody machete to do it, and the space was so small we almost had to rub up against him to get by.

I won't lie. I got chills. I shuddered a little. I might have pushed Joey a little to make her go faster when I realized the guy was still behind me.

And then more chainsaws. I remember A LOT of chainsaws.

But I'm pretry sure that's the best $26 I've spent in a long time. I can't wait til next year.