Fear is fun. Teen-agers from the Kaimuki-Waialae YMCA crowded around outside their Aloha Tower haunted house earlier this week giggling about the things that scare them.
Haunted house hosts
know that facing fear is part
of the fun at Halloween
By Stephanie Kendrick
Mike Lee, an accident prone 16-year-old Damien Memorial High School student, is scared of soap, "Because if I slip I'll hit my head and then I'll be dead."
Sounds pretty far-fetched unless you know Lee recently tripped over a flashlight left on the floor of his cabin at Camp Erdman and went sailing out the window.
"I'm also scared of windows," he said. And for good reason, it seems.
More common fears were heights, the dark, friends pulling pranks and anything unexpected.
Jay Nishimura, a tall, broad-shouldered 17-year-old Pearl City student, shared a unique phobia that seemed a familiar source of delight to his friends.
"I'm afraid of Papa Smurf. Papa Smurf's always around," he said. "Just because he's small doesn't mean he's not scary."
The teens of the Kaimuki-Waialae YMCA have built one of the half-dozen or so haunted houses open around Oahu for the Halloween season.
We talked to a few designers of these goblin abodes about the nature of fear. A few believed fear builds character.
"I'm afraid of heights and I love roller coasters to help me conquer those fears. So when I'm on the top, that's when I'm really scared," said Keith Fukumoto, Key Club advisor for Leilehua High School. The club puts on a haunted house every year at Wahiawa Shopping Center.
Frightening experiences build confidence, said Fukumoto.
Rick Carroll, author of the "Spooky Tales" series of books, agreed.
"You shouldn't be afraid of fear," he said. "I've challenged myself a lot."
Carroll told a story of walking into a heiau on Molokai. He knew he was breaking kapu. All of a sudden, his foot got caught in the rock slabs and he was trapped. In the second it took him to yell for help, his foot was released.
Despite the fact that it was high noon on an otherwise tranquil day, he hightailed it out of there.
"I retreated. I was afraid," he said. "(Fear) keeps you on the straight and narrow."
Carroll's stories inspired the Aloha Tower haunted house, which has 13 ghoulish scenes and takes about 10 minutes to navigate, according to program director Noa Hussey.
He said the anticipation of being scared contributes to the success of a haunted house.
"It's like a feeling of euphoria," he said.
"I think the implied is scarier than the graphic," said Candace Foster, who has organized Aina Haina Elementary's haunted house for the past seven years.
Foster, the school's librarian, expressed a preference for scary stories over horror films. To her, the haunted house builds on the dramatic readings she does with Aina Haina students throughout the year.
The spook fest is designed by fifth and sixth graders. Their theme this year is ghosts from around the world, which complements their studies of other countries. Haunted scenes will include an Inca sacrifice and an American Indian story about a floating head.
The students have been schooled to handle younger keiki gently, but they have fun with each other.
"They enjoy scaring each other," said Foster. "The sixth grade is involved and even though they've been through and seen it they still scream their heads off. It's the dark. When the lights go out, all bets are off."
It doesn't get much darker than Barber's Point at night.
For the past 15 years, Kathy Kinneman has organized a haunted hay ride at Barber's Point Stables. The area, which is overgrown with kiawe, includes a long-abandoned airstrip and no artificial lighting.
"We've got the usual witches and ghosts and we've got a terrific grave yard," said Kinneman. "We actually drive through a quonset hut that's called 'nightmare alley.' "
Kinneman, mother of three, fears anything that might harm her family, but she said she has a high tolerance for Halloween-type frights.
"I guess this has kind of immunized me from being scared of things that jump out of the dark," she said.
Still she expects 3,000 people to show up this weekend for a little fun fear, and she understands why.
"People seek it out as long as they know there's some element of safety," she said. "People love to be scared and scream, but they feel much better about it if they know they're really going to get in their cars and go home."
Aloha Tower Marketplace, Pier 10, from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday; 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday; and 6-10 p.m. Tuesday. Fifteen chambers of fear will be filled with ghosts, goblins, thrills and chills. A pumpkin patch with hands-on activities for ages 1 to 3. Admission: $7; $3 children under 12. Groups of 11 or more, $5 each. Call 737-5544.
"Graveyard of Fear," at Aina Haina Elementary School, 801 E. Hind Drive, 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Featuring famous ghosts from around the world. Fee: $1.
"Haunted Halloween Hayride," at Barbers Point Stables, 6:30 to 10 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday. Hayride, entertainment booths and pony rides. Tickets: $5 adults; $3 children. Call 473-3393.
Wahiawa Shopping Center Haunted House, open 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Fee: $1.
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