With the howling winds of October come haunted mazes. As a former scare-tician, trained in the art of the fright, I’ve seen it all – from grown men screaming bloody murder to stoic toddlers unafraid of anything.
Whether you’re tiptoeing through the grandiose Hollywood Horror Nights at Universal Studios, pushing creaky, cobwebbed doors open, or stumbling away from scarecrows, these spooky labyrinths are coming after your blood pressure.
Take it from this former haunted house actor, here’s how to keep your head when the zombies start losing theirs:
1. Eat Your Heart Out
You’re probably thinking that you’re way too anxious and eating beforehand is just going to result in a cleanup on aisle torture chamber. Eating right, however, can mellow you out while curbing your stress fueled desire to binge on comfort food later on.
Folate-rich greens like asparagus and adrenaline dams like salmon should keep you even keeled enough to make it past the ghoulish actors. For snacks, skip the nuts and pack some oranges for a little twelfth-hour dopamine, unless you want a life-or-death situation on your hands.
2. Hold Onto Your Head (And Disbelief)
Acknowledging that you’re surrounded by heavily made up and costumed actors can be a reassuring step for people with personal boundary issues. Even though some of the actors might touch you, none of them are going to hurt you. Just don’t be the dick who isn’t impressed by anything. Play along.
3. Stand Tall, And Carry A Big Cleaver
Words of advice from a former haunted house actor: crossed arms and eyes glued to the ground or your cell phone makes you a prime target for jump-scares and extensive maze stalking. Some people get their jollies from trying to scare stoic guests, but most actors want the easy screams. Keep your head up, make eye contact, and keep your chest open.
4. The More Bodies, The Better
Always visit a maze with at least one friend (honestly, who goes alone?). The bigger the entourage, the easier it is to hide from surprise attacks. Plus, depending on how you respond to adrenaline, you might become the protector of the group and supersede your fear altogether.
5. Prepare For The Unexpected
You should try to bring a change of clothes/extra layer in case you get splashed with water or fake blood. The stress sweats another likely source of discomfort, keeping you hot and cold at random intervals.
If you know you really can’t handle haunted mazes, but love them regardless, invest in some underwear protection. Don’t worry, I’ll take your secret to the grave.