Daniel Kramer
A demon/actor (or is it actor/demon?) scarfs it down before scaring the hell out of some visitors.

The Hunt for Haunts

"Are you ready to have some fun?" Jim Fetterly asked me.

"Sure," I answered.

The next thing I know I'm being led through the secret passageways of Screamworld, Fetterly's haunt. From peepholes and dark corners, I watched patrons surprised by actors and animatronics. I saw girls and guys jump, scream and make total fools of themselves. They were too scared to realize anyone was watching.

See, what you don't know about haunted houses is they're hilarious. Witnessing the mouths agape in fear, the screams, the clawing and the crying is really the best part. So, if you're going haunting this weekend keep in mind a laugh may be shared at your expense.

Wondering where you should go? The top three places in town remain Screamworld, Nightmare on the Bayou and Phobia, but check out HoustonHaunts.com. They offer a list of all the local haunts and even rated them.

Wherever you go, make sure you "go" before you leave. (My story isn't called "Haunts: They'll Scare the Crap Out of You" for nothing.)

Also, owners love feedback, so be sure to tell them or an employee about your experience. Haunting is not an easy job. I should know -- I tried it myself once...

A couple of years ago, I realized I was too old to go trick-or-treating -- but I was still all about Halloween. So my sisters and I decided to help my mom out with candy duty and had a little fun.

Trick-or-treaters would arrive to discover my sister lying in pool of blood. My mother and a detective (my other sister) would be going over the events of the night:

"All I saw was a man in a mask with a knife," Mom said, acting completely shaken up. Then, she'd hand trick-or-treaters candy and warn them:

"Be careful tonight; the guy who did this is still out there."

I'd be hiding in the bushes near the door. As the trick-or-treaters left, I would jump out wearing a reaper-type mask and wielding a bloody knife. I scared a four-year-old out of her fairy wings; however a group of teenage boys were not amused.

"You suck," one said.

And thus, my career in haunting was over. — Dusti Rhodes

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