A few weeks ago I was sick for a couple days so I used the time as productively as I could: I watched every single haunted house movie on Netflix.
(If you fast-forward through all the chatter they only take about 30 minutes.)
And now — strictly as a constituent service — here are my tips on surviving the ordeal:
First, HEED EARLY WARNINGS.
Some of this is easy. If you wake to find a living corpse hovering over your bed screaming, “Be gone from this house!”, you should reply, “Got it. I’m out.”
But it really shouldn’t come to that. Chances are there were earlier warnings.
For instance, if you’re in the kitchen and step out for a moment… then step back in and all the drawers are fully open and a doll that looks like you is swinging from the ceiling fan, that isn’t a mere curiosity — it means you have a serious problem.
At this point, it’s one you can solve with a real estate agent.
Second, LISTEN TO YOUR KIDS.
If they’re normally bookish and introverted but suddenly they’re giving emphatic, detailed accounts of being dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night by the bad lady who lives in the painting, that should alarm you.
Maybe ask some follow-up questions.
Which brings me to a big one: COMMUNICATE CLEARLY.
If you see a 200-year-old Nun foaming at the mouth and levitating and the end of the hallway, don’t just tell your spouse you saw “something.”
Be specific. *Tell her about the Nun.*
By the same token, if your spouse comes up from the basement and is petrified beyond the capacity for rational speech, try giving them a minute to compose themselves. Offer a nice glass of water. Then ask a series of calm but pointed questions about how they just got those scratch marks all over their back.
Also, LEAVE THE HOUSE.
Obvious, right? The problem is someone will tell you it “won’t matter” for some reason.
You know what? Test that theory. Go to Denny’s and just keep ordering breakfast. Gotta be safer than sleeping in the depression-era orphanage you happen to be renovating.
If confrontation is inevitable, GO ON OFFENSE EARLY.
There’s usually a point in these movies where the last remaining victim decides to fight back, but by then she’s got no real help. Make your last stand *before* your wife slowly walks into the woods and comes back acting weird and speaking Latin.
Which means you must USE DAYLIGHT WISELY.
Run drills. Prep for likely scenarios.
*Do not* just go to work and come home and watch TV until the lights start flickering and a child’s laughter emanates from the basement. Now you are on defense, and the kid knows it.
Finally, AGGRESSIVELY ENLIST ALLIES.
You’ve been nice to your neighbors for years. You should feel comfortable making a one-time request for their help in battling a long-dead priest by luring him into a nearby corn field and re-opening the portal at the precise moment of the lunar eclipse.
Stay safe this Halloween!
-Sen. Jeff Jackson