I began this Monday morning (specifically, the Monday before Halloween) watching a YouTube video posted by “The Ellen Show.” In this video, Ellen Degeneres sends two of her staff members into a very elaborate haunted house. This apparently is a yearly tradition for Ellen, but what made this video particularly funny was that her female staff member had been made aware of this somewhat sadistic field trip, while her unassuming camera man was thrown into the horror at the last minute.

The result was three minutes of hilarious footage of a fully grown man shielding himself with his woman friend, while repeatedly telling the relentless, prosthetically enhanced zombies to “STOP IT, STOP IT NOW!”

At the end, as Ellen wiped her laughter tears and teased her champ of a camera man, I couldn’t help but ponder the haunted house as a phenomenon; wherein we actually agree to be scared by things that aren’t real.

In daily life we can become crippled by fears that don’t necessarily exist. These perceived “demons” (poverty, health, dying, etc.) can become just as exaggerated in our minds as evil witches and flesh-hungry zombies. In real life, we may want to try to manage or ignore our fears instead of facing them, but Halloween and haunted houses can serve a hidden purpose: to remind us that sometimes our most sinister and deepest fears may not be as fatal as they seem.

We can use this twisted holiday to indulge our very real and very “grown-up” fears. The next time you feel afraid imagining yourself at the door of your “inner haunted house,” consider having a sense of adventure or courage instead of crippling fear. Remember when walking into any haunted house (imagined or real), the only way out is through.

Proceed while shielding yourself with loved ones! Scream at your monsters until your throat is sore! Proceed boldly through the fear! Not only will you make it out alive, but also you may see just how conquerable your demons really are.


-Kaitlyn Connors