Baldhamer also advised parents to exercise caution when bringing along children under the age of 12: “Because of some creepy thematic elements and frightening scenes, younger kids could be very upset.”
Residents may have noticed volunteers and construction crews outside the iconic social hall over the last week, transforming the usually pleasant gathering spot into a terrible chamber of horrors. The group assures us that no expense has been spared in their efforts.
“It’s going to be really something,” Baldhamer continued. “The theme for this year is ‘American Nightmares.’”
Guests begin their descent into the dark catacombs of human depravity by entering the Gothic anteroom of an ornate but moldering Victorian parlor. There, they will discover walls lined with portraits of some of the nation’s scariest personalities. Hanging among this rogue’s gallery are Lizzy Borden, Janet Reno, Fidel Castro as an American college student, Jimmy Carter, hobos lined up for welfare checks, Harvey Milk, Occupy Wall Street protesters, IRS staffers, environmentalists and Barack Obama sporting what appears to be a Charlie Chaplin mustache. He is flanked by the murky phantoms of his Obamacare Death Squads.
“Do you hear that music?” Baldhamer asked during our behind-the-scenes tour. It sounded like 60s folk rock.
“In a way, it is,” he told us. “It’s Charles Manson singing ‘Look at Your Game Girl’ and ‘The Hallways of Always.’” More than eerie, we found the soundtrack unsettling for both its high production value and listenability.
Baldhamer then led us down a series of corridors and into mysterious rooms filled with disturbing scenes of damnation, mischievous spooks and night terrors.
There was the Fallen Pedestal room, populated by crack-addled, unemployed bankers who were begging for change or drugs. There were attics bursting with disgruntled Dodgers fans and rioting members of the Raider Nation. And one hall presented us with a gauntlet of homeless people -- armed with bottles of Windex and dirty paper towels -- through which we had to run. And survive!
As we turned one ominous corner after another, we were assaulted by zombie tax agents trying to grab our wallets, demonic repo men and over-sized, bloodsucking leeches from the California Franchise Tax Board. But the final room was truly the most hair-raising.
“We agree that it’s a bit much,” Baldhamer admitted, “but it really shows what decent people are up against.”
We crossed the threshold into an impenetrable darkness, our hearts pounding audibly in our chests. The attack was immediate and enveloping. Within moments, strobe lights sprung to life, loud disco music came blaring from hidden speakers and we were overrun by a seemingly endless cavalcade of Gay Pride Parade participants. The garish costumes, the simpering taunts, the exposed flesh and confusing androgyny of these monsters forced all sensibility from our minds. But even after our narrow escape, fresh torments awaited us as we arrived in a satanic chapel where spectral ushers seated us in eroding pews, draped in rotten meat and thorns. An Islamic cleric emerged from the shadows, covered in bloody dollar bills, and mounted the lectern. Two men in purple and pink tuxedos approached the altar. And there, we were asked to witness the nuptials of an interracial gay marriage, followed by the newly wed couple’s adoption of an anchor baby.
“It’s chilling, isn’t it, to think that Kim Kardashian’s marriage ended so early because people like this destroyed the institution?” Baldhamer lamented.
It will take us some time to erase these images from our minds; but for Halloween scares, the experience was worth every penny spent and every lost hour of sleep.
More information for the event can be located on the Community Calendar.
(c) 2011. See disclaimers.