~ By Celia T. Lucente
Note: As writers, any experience we have a tendency to be observant. Any experience we have can turn into research or inspiration for a story. We take notice of everything, don’t we?
Here are Celia’s notes from a trip to a haunted house. Can you imaging a scene where your characters visit the haunted house? What places have you visited that made it into one of your books?
Leave your ideas in the comments.
Halloween may be over but the memories will long haunt my mind. Today I’ll provide my annual review of the Haunted Houses in Florida. Every year my fiancé, sister and I alternate visits between the Universal Studios and Busch Gardens theme parks. This year we went to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream.
You’ll be “Cursed” if you listen to the song, for they are here, they are here, and you’ll be subject to the “Curse” forever. On the first night, we walked the park under a full bright moon and a clear sky. Treading through over three hundred acres in darkness felt like a curse in and of itself.
Here is a brief description of the houses:
Death Water Bayou: A levitating voodoo Queen welcomed us into her den. We then moved through the cavernous misty trails and canals along the bayou and witnessed the gruesome victims of the Queen’s spells. Oversized rats and man-eating plants attacked us from dark corners in the woods. We crashed a voodoo funeral complete with jazz tunes and models dressed to the nines. After running through the Caribbean vibe bar, we chain saw wielding monsters nearly attacked us.
The Basement: We entered “Mama’s” basement and observed many of her special spices such as lavender, cayenne and basil. Then we beheld the contents of her real ingredients in vats of vomit, snot, poop, guts and pus. We then entered room after room of gory meals offerings made from human flesh. We were glad to escape without becoming part of “Mama’s” special ingredients.
The Circus of Superstition in 3D: While waiting in line a sideshow of scary clowns on stilts entertained us and agreed to be in our selfies. Having donned our 3D glasses, we staggered through room after room darting objects popping out at us from every direction including the spooky clowns on rocking chairs above us.
Dead Fall: A haunted little girl guided us through her tortured dreams. She invited us to her haunted playground complete with a slide, a moving swing set and see saw with no apparent riders. After our “play” time she enticed us to a gruesome tea where only skeletons and the dead attended.
Zombie Mortuary: An oldie but goodies back by popular demand. We entered a funeral home to view a young girl, beautifully laid out and the guests sprang from the depths of the dark pews informing us “we were next”. We hurried to get away only to be trapped in the mourning room with weeping women. Next, our host plied us with a showcase of caskets for sale.
Zombie Containment Unit 15: For this interactive maze, a burly man in military fighter gear supplied us with a weapon handgun complete with shoulder strap. We moved through the maze and shot the zombies as per our instructions. The round targets in the center of their chest lit up when we hit them. We escaped unscathed leaving quite a few dead zombies behind.
Blood Asylum: Escaped serial killer hits an asylum and creates a bloody massacre and we are only too glad to race through this one and end our risk of imprisonment.
On Friday night we enjoyed the Fright Feast complete with gooey Mac & cheese (and yes I got two orders), pasta with marinara or Alfredo sauces, barbequed brisket, tilapia, garden and Caesar salads and fresh tacos. Oh and for desert, we enjoyed pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate cakes and a variety of spooky cupcakes. The Fiends show followed with Freakenstein University, announcing to their “students” to pay attention. Naughty Nurses and Igor writhed in sheer dancing delight and we sang-a-long to songs like The Time Warp.
Halloween wouldn’t be complete without visiting the South Florida Fairground’s Fright Nights. Instead of cows squeezed behind stalls, we wound through the maze of steel bars for an hour and fifteen minutes too long listening to a rather bad rendition of the ACDC band only to find out at the end of that very long line that we could have paid five dollars to cut to the front of line! So having learned this news tidbit we bought tickets glided through the VIP lounge, had a flask shot of whiskey and whisked to the front of the line. Here’s what we viewed:
Flamingo Hotel: We watched two young girls escape from the abuse and darkness of a local orphanage. They took shelter in a local hotel, hiding from the staff and wreaking havoc on guests and employees alike. Their sick and idle minds led them to murder the guests and stuff their bodies into the walls. The girls continued their bloodthirsty rampage on all who dared to check in to the Flamingo Hotel.
New World Order: We learned that in the near future, individual thought is dead and freedom gone. A clan of ruthless human clones scoured the streets to find the few remaining citizens not yet processed into the system. Our host led us to the South Florida red chairs we sit on at every fair only to learn we’d reprogrammed for the needs of the New World Order and the Mighty General. There was only one directive for us to follow—OBEY. Thankfully, we escaped without becoming part of the new race of mindless drones.
Vile: We gazed upon ancient times and summoned demons that time forgot. Placing burnt offerings on the altar of the Deviants, we entered the realm of the dead season.
That’s it for the haunted houses and now for your eating pleasure here are three pictures of recipes I got from the Palm Beach Post. They are so easy to make the pictures are self-explanatory. Try ‘em next year:
½ banana with a large chocolate chip for the mouth, small ones for eyes and look the stumps make faces all by themselves!
Can you guess how these are made!
First one— string chess cut in strips, the broomstick is a pretzel, and strap made with celery string.
Second one—Clementine oranges with celery piece for stem.
Hope you liked the blog post. We’ll scare you more next year!
Celia T. Lucente is a retired CPA and banker. Her work experience includes nine years as a public accountant and an internal auditor and seventeen years as a senior loan officer for a national bank. She’s currently a full-time writer of contemporary romance and women’s fiction aka “relationship fiction” and is now publishing her finished works under the pseudonyms of Celia T. Franklin and Celia T. Rose. Her first book, Having Fun with Mr. Wrong, in the contemporary women’s fiction series, Fun with Mr. Now, is under contract with The Wild Rose Press and her contemporary romance, Dream Man is under contract with Soul Mate Publishing. She is a member of the RWA Contemporary Romance, RWA-WF, RWA Romance Critique Group and her local chapter of Space Coast Authors as well as Treasurer of the Contemporary Romance Writers of the RWA. She is a participant with several critique groups and CP’s and enjoys working on her craft by helping fellow writers.