Apparently, Milwaukee has the highest concentration of Halloween sales in the country. (I think many wholesalers are based here, so while sales are technically made, the items are shipped out. Anywho.). So no surprise that it's a big production and there's tons to do.

Now that Halloween is tomorrow, we are finally ready to partake in some of the many offerings. This began with "Hauntfest" last night. Another ticket giveaway, this time from my boss. Hauntfest is a haunted house set up annually on the official State Fair grounds. This year's was a tribute to Michael Jackson. First off, tickets are $15! Per person!

A hearst welcomes you.

Heck no, we're not paying that! Good thing these puppies were free. (Yes, we've fully acclimated to prices out here.) We had to wait 10 minutes in line to exchange our free passes for the numbered tickets to get in the 'fest. I wasn't really paying attention to the area beyond the booth, but I should have been. . . The wait AFTER getting the ticket, to enter the actual haunted house, was even longer!

Outside in the waiting area was a massive screen playing Michael Jackson's "Neverland" mini movie. (Weird.) A tent had snacks - Jon immediately hit that up, despite coming straight from dinner - a dance floor and a DJ. 

So we hung outside and watched the "Neverland" movie about 3 times. Somewhere in the middle a dance performance was announced. Yes! Action! Our next treat was Anita's Dance Crew, performing reenactments of Michael's videos: Billie Jean, Beat It, Bad and Thriller. Groups of high school girls danced while the videos played on the screen behind them (which was cool to compare the moves). Their costumes were awesome. In fact, I wanted to own the sequin black blazer from Billie Jean and the leather motorcycle jacket and leggings look from Bad. (Who covered the costume budget? Seriously? Call me.) I'm not sure the high kicks were literal interpretations of the videos, but they were effective. At least for the young boys watching.

Also excellent were the chainsaw murderer and enormous alien monster (7 feet tall in his costume, which was the most elaborate outfit I have ever seen - spared no expense) sneaking up on unsuspecting folks waiting outside the entrance. The chainsaw murderer (his face covered in blood, in a mechanic's onesie and revving a fake, life-size chainsaw that even smelled like gasoline) chased the young girls and boys mercilessly. Probably my favorite part of the evening was suddenly seeing a screaming kid race through the center of the crowd, followed by the equally sprinting and revving chainsaw murderer. Those kids were fast!

Alien. Ginormous.

After 50 MINUTES our ticket number was finally called. We end up in line with old people. Yes, I did hear an angry teen ask why we got to go first. And no, I did not respond when I heard his friend say 'it was all old people anyway.'

Hauntfest. We started off in a faux elevator that shakes you all over the place and lets you out in the "basement." After this we were on our own, following the maze-like corridors as kids in costumes jumped out left and right. More alarming than the constant screaming, flashing lights and terror sets that we walked through (mental hospital, jail, swamp, terrorized children, bathroom murders, crypt, morgue with body bags hanging from ceiling, etc.) was the absolute pitch black. At times, I had no idea what was up, down, left, right or someone's rear end. Which I probably ran into at least 10 times. The scariest part was technically not even scary. At certain parts the walls were replaced with giant black nylon pockets filled with air, closing in around you. In the pitch dark, as I was forced forward and down closer to the ground, with people in front of and behind me, I literally started to have a panic attack. Jon and I were convinced we'd veered off the course and had led our group behind the walls, lost for good. I was sure I'd end up on the bottom of a pileup of frantic bodies (being the smallest person in our group), suffocating in the dark. I just got the shivers remembering it.

It probably took 15-20 minutes to make our way through the whole place. The coolest part was a rotating barrel covered in flourescent paint that you walked through on an elevated metal walkway. Your entire sense of balance was lost. I was hoping we could stay in there, but the child actor forced us out. Rude.

All in all, a very impressive showing. And tonight? The corn maze.

1 MILE of haunted paths in a dark corn field.

If someone comes up behind me and lays a finger on my hair, they might meet a fist.

I'm already nervous.


  1. If only I was there, Abbey, you'd be spared of all of this!

    I'm so jealous of the corn maze!!!

    Will report soon on what Cambodia is like on Halloween...

  2. ps "Lonnie" is a nickname that only one person (Bill) uses, and which came up automatically when I posted a comment. And the blog that "Lonnie" links you to is a long-lost (literally) blog brainchild of Janet and myself. Never came to fruition, thank god.

  3. Jon and I discussed this exact same thing! We miss you!!