Real Life Horror

Remembering My First Real Scare

Do you remember the first time you were really scared?   Not something life threatening, of course, just something that really freaked you out when you were a kid.  I asked myself that exact question recently as I was trying to remember some of the things from when I was a kid that truly terrified me.  As I sorted through any fearful memories I still had a memory of, I came across a number of lesser scares.  For instance, I still remember a reoccurring dream when I was really young where the Incredible Hulk would come out of my closet at night and I would wake up terrified.  I also had a long time irrational fear of the pirate’s foot dangling off the bridge in Disneyland’s Pirates of the Carribean ride because I swore to my parents it was a real foot.  But none of those really resonated with me as something that truly terrified me, but eventually, that first real scare came back to me.

It was an October evening within the first few years of my parents and I moving to my childhood home in Corona, California.  I was fortunate enough to live in a neighborhood full of kids my age, which meant that there were always half a dozen kids hanging out at one house or another on evenings or weekends.  If memory serves me correctly this was around the same time I discovered Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and between my love of his book and Halloween approaching I had come up with the brilliant plan to bust out the flashlight, pop some popcorn, and have some friends over to tell scary stories in the backyard.

We had gathered in a circle in the backyard and began exchanging stories one by one.  At the time I was probably only eight or nine, so I’m sure the stories weren’t that riveting, but the environment and just the fact we were huddled up telling scary stories was enough to get the adrenaline pumping.  While we were wrapping up our scary stories, my dad was busy cooking up a plan to end the night with a real scare.  As I was telling my story about whatever ghost or monster I thought was creepy enough to scare the neighborhood kids, he had slipped on an old Halloween mask and began his trek around the back side of the house, a trek that would lead to my first true scare.

As I wrapped up my story, my dad jumped out from behind the house in full boogeyman mode terrifying my friends and I.  The mix of being jump scared combined with the terror of seeing the creepy mask caused me to throw my popcorn and caused all of us to scream.  After getting a good jolt out of everyone, he took off the mask laughing amid the success of his scare.  Embarrassed I remember either saying something or doing something to him in a brief moment of retaliation, but then the adrenaline wore off and the true terror of the moment hit me and I just began bawling my eyes out.

It seems silly now but looking back at how the whole thing unfolded I recognize it as my first real scare.  One that sent me through the full spectrum of fear, first reacting in a fight or flight mentality as I threw my popcorn to jump and run, then coming down from the adrenaline after I realized I was safe and letting the actual horror of the situation sink in causing me to break down.

What was your first real scare?  I’d love to hear about it!  That’s why I’m encouraging other content creators to join in on the fun and share their stories in this fun writers prompt/content creation challenge.

How to participate:

  1. Create a new blog post, video, or another form of content that tells the story of the first time you were really scared
  2. Include a link back to this post in your content to encourage others to get involved
  3. Hashtag your content with #AHGFirstScares
  4. Have fun!

I look forward to seeing the stories of how my fellow Halloween geeks were first scared and hope some of you will join in the fun.  Don’t have a blog or other content creation outlet? Feel free to share your story in the comments!

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