Boo

Whenever my twitter notifications start blowing up it can mean only one thing – someone is talking about scaring people. And that someone is usually me, Cindy Warren, or Jessica Buttram. Who knew that social media would let those of us with a passion for frightening friends and family celebrate this well-honed skill together? ONLINE? It’s a technological miracle, really.

There are some among us (Ricky Anderson) who feel it is cruel to hide under your child’s bed and jump out unexpectedly, or lurk around a corner as they exit the washroom unaware that you are about to pounce. To those people we say “it builds character.”

And so, in honour of Ricky and Halloween we will share our favourite frightening stories with you, kind readers.

Be afraid

Let us begin with Scream Queen, Jessica.

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There’s something so rewarding about crouching in the dark lying in wait so long your muscles start to cramp and you suddenly have to pee like SO BAD. I never have to pee as urgently as I do about ten seconds into hiding.

My son is my favorite to scare. He’s ten now, and naturally skeptical. My daughter, age four and a total wimp, just cries when I, or her brother, try to scare her. Just the other day when I picked her up from preschool, I hid in the girls’ bathroom right outside her classroom while she grabbed her stuff from her cubby, and before I could even get a good crouch going she ran out into the hallway in hysterics. I’m hopeful she’ll outgrow that reaction, but meanwhile, scaring my daughter makes me feel like the terrible parent I am for hiding in the dark peeing myself.

And my husband is virtually unscareable. He’s the worst. The one time I can remember actually successfully scaring him, he just sat up a little and said, “you scared me,” so the payoff isn’t even worth it.

But my son is a FANTASTIC mark. His reactions are emotional GOLD. He is the reason just last week I crouched behind his dirty, smelly basket of laundry for like, TEN MINUTES waiting. He’s the reason I’ve bought a pack of adult diapers. (Just kidding.)

I’ve tried to get it on video for this post, but the lighting is always pretty bad, and the video always turns out shaky from trying not to pee. So here’s just a little taste of the joy I experience.

Again, he is ten, skeptical, and alllllll prepubescent boy. Timing is EV-ER-Y-THING with his scares. It has to be in a dark or dimly lit room, and I have to space them out just right so he doesn’t expect them.

Frightened rage looks a bit like this.
Frightened rage looks a bit like this.

I realize everyone responds to fear differently. Like, I squeal and literally jump in the air. My daughter has an emotional breakdown. My husband shatters my dreams of being a professional scarer.

My son, however, screams and tenses up with a pure and unapologetic RAGE. The fury that flashes across his little face is AMAZING. I have no doubt he is more Fight than Flight, and if he were to ever TRULY believe there was a monster in his closet, I guarantee he would instinctively try to karate kick it before running away. In the split second before he realizes it’s just his sweet mother lurching out at him, I imagine his thoughts going, “I AM SO TERRIFIED AND THAT MAKES ME SO ANGRY oh wait, —it’s just you, that was hilarious, let’s do it to Dad.”

I look at it as reward for all the thankless jobs that come with parenting.

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Dear readers, Jessica is right that scaring husbands is challenging, but with commitment and stealth it can be done. Here’s my story.

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When I go for the scare, I don’t shy away from the long game. I’ve been known to fall asleep in my hiding spot on more than one occasion. Limbs going numb will not deter me. I will lie in wait with the patience of Job.

Keep looking, you'll see it in a second.
Keep looking, you’ll see it in a second.

One evening, Bearded Husband came home late from his baseball game and clearly assumed I was already in bed. I heard him unlock the front door and panicked at all the possibilities at my disposal. Do I lie on the floor and play dead? Sit on the couch and silently turn the light on? SO MANY OPTIONS. My indecisiveness forced my hand – I lurked in the living room watching him unpack his gear hoping he would glance over and then be terrified by my silent presence.

No. He was oblivious. So I did the obvious thing and just casually followed him into the kitchen and whispered, “how was your game?”

Turns out he has the same terrified range as Buttram’s son, and IT WAS AMAZING. His revenge was swift, but it was completely worth it. And rest assured, he had it coming.

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This tribute is wrapped up with perhaps the best spontaneous scaring I have heard and I tip my hat to the one and only, Cindy Warren. I wish she lived closer so I could shake her hand.

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If you can tour a church building at 9:00 PM with friends, and NOT take advantage of the opportunity to scare said friends, then we need to have a conversation about missed opportunities. My church was given a building this year, completely free of charge. One night, before it was officially ours, the pastor took several of us on a tour of the building.

Churches are not creepy after dark. Not at all.

As we walked around in the dark (why did we not have lights on- I really couldn’t tell you), I wandered off on my own and happened upon the nursery before the others did. There it was in all its glory, a terrifying room full of cribs, with the light from the moon (or maybe from street lights- who can say) coming through the window.

So I did what any good person would do. I sat in the lone rocking chair and slowly rocked while staring at the door looking like the ghost of nursery workers past. I heard the lighthearted discussion as my friends got closer.

“What’s this room? Ohhhh, it’s the nursery. That’s so creepy…I don’t wanna go in…”

*unsuspecting friends slowly push door open*

They scanned the dark room from right to left, and landed on the moving rocking chair lastly. There was screaming and genuine fear. It was glorious.

Y’all- greater joy hath no me than this: to watch my friends fight each other to get out the door the quickest.

My only regret is that I didn’t video their reactions…and that they didn’t swear. A swear is the only thing that would’ve made it better.

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We have one year, ladies – to accomplish the ultimate scare, preferably on video.

 

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South Meets North

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Okay, fella, time to head back.

Just a second. I need to process this. THIS outpost is on the Canadian side of the border, right?

Yup, it sure is.

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So that means they have unlimited maple syrup?

Yes.

Ketchup chips?

I guess so.

Bacon?

Well, Canadian bacon – yes.

Grrrrr

Settle down, settle down – we need to go now, come on.

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I’ll leave when I’m ready, Wrangler. I need to hear more.

Maybe just tone it down a little, no need to get so excited.

What about poutine? 

I think that’s more of an East Coast thing.

Toques? Hockey? Smarties? Overly apologetic patrons?

Yes, yes, yes, and I guess so?

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But I’m tired of salmon. Every night it’s salmon, salmon, salmon. I could even settle for the cherub-looking forest ranger – he looks tasty.

He is not on the menu. Let’s go.

In a minute. So let me get this straight: this outpost has all those things plus they get free health care, Don Cherry, and ketchup chips? I don’t know what to with all these feelings!

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It’s true, they do have all those things.

Do they have running water? Heat? Drive-thru Starbucks? Cable TV?

They aren’t savages. Yes, of course.

If they have all of that, why would I bother going back? What does the US have to offer that I couldn’t possibly get in Canada?

Special edition Oreos. And M&Ms.

Start the Jeep, let’s go home.

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All photos are property of Burrill Strong photography. This is the second collaboration Burrill and I have done.  You can check out this talented, bearded photographer at his blog and on twitter @sgtwolverine

But I have snow tires

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That was a close call.

I know, but it worked out, didn’t it?

It didn’t have to happen at all if you were a better planner.

It wasn’t that big of a deal.

What?!

Well, ok, it was kind of a big deal.

You shouldn’t even have been out in that weather.

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To be fair, I do have snow tires.

(Sigh).

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There was an advisory to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.

Well….

And you took the convertible?

What choice do I have? No arms. Or hands. 

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You could have been stranded for hours.

But I wasn’t.

fptales20140105-48You never told me why you were out. It must have been important.

Milk?

Batteries?

Diapers?

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Those are definitely all important.

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Bread?

Eggs?

Aspirin?

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No…

Bananas?

Cough Syrup?

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Coffee. It was coffee.

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This post was made possible by the very talented, Burrill Strong. Make yourself a cup of coffee, grab some M&Ms and take some time to check out his work at Burrill Strong Photography. You can also follow him on twitter.

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Whether or not you have snow tires, what would you risk the elements to do?