It is the officially spooky season, folks! Personally, it is my favorite time of the year. I already love autumn, but add the element of haunted houses and scary movies and I am all in.
However, aside from scary movies and real-life reasons to be scared, I want to tell you the story of the time I was the most scared. I will clarify by telling you that after consulting with my mother, we do not think this event happened during the Halloween season, but, it is still scary.
My entire life, my parents have loved pulling pranks on my childhood best friend, Heather and I. I mentioned this during my camping column, but it was a year-round thing. So, one foggy night while Heather and I were visiting home from college, they cooked up a prank to end all pranks.
Heather and I had been doing our usual activities. We did some baking, we made cake-pops, hung out and chatted, then headed up to my room for a good F.R.I.E.N.D.S television binge. Soon after we went upstairs, my mother yelled from downstairs, “Hey girls, come look at this.” We headed downstairs and my mother pointed out a figure in a trenchcoat and hat standing at the end of the street, in the fog, just standing, not moving. I immediately wanted to call the police but my mother convinced me not to, after all, he had every right to be there, right?
I asked where my father was and she said he was up in the bathroom. We stood in the foyer, Heather and I with our arms linked, scared. After a few minutes, we looked out the window again and the figure had moved closer to the house, still standing in the middle of the foggy street. At this point, I lost it. I ran around the house, locking all of the doors and gathering the dogs. My mother, at this point, said, “Let’s just go outside and ask them to leave.” I, obviously, looked at her like she was insane. She tried to unlock the door and go outside and I literally wrestled the keys out of her hand and took all copies, even Heather’s, locking us all in the house.
When we looked outside again, the figure was gone. I breathed for a moment before looking again and he had reappeared, under another street lamp, closer to the house than ever, staring at the front door. At this point, Heather and I were both sobbing. I ran upstairs to get my father since my mother had obviously lost her mind, not letting us call the police. I remember slamming myself into the bathroom door, which was locked with the fan and light on, screaming for my dad to come out. There was no response. Suddenly, I was afraid something was wrong with him. Maybe he had passed out in the bathroom and we couldn’t get to him. Even worse, maybe this was all connected by some supernatural power from the figure outside? I grabbed my phone and ran back downstairs yelling at my mother that I was calling the police now, no matter what because my father is locked in the bathroom, there’s a strange figure outside the house.
She, once again, just told me not to worry, maybe he didn’t hear me in the bathroom, the figure outside didn’t mean us harm, etc. At this point, I looked out the window again and the figure had disappeared, I breathed for a second, still worried about my father possibly unconscious upstairs. Then, as Heather and I peered out the windows of the front door, the figure slammed himself against the door and started pounding on it with both fists. We screamed at the top of our lungs, ran up to my parents’ bedroom and locked the door, I called 911 as Heather started to slam on the bathroom door begging my father to come out. I remember screaming for my mom to come upstairs with us while the phone rang and hearing laughter from downstairs…and my father’s voice. But…he was in the bathroom, right? Realization dawned on Heather and me at the same moment: it was the prank to end all pranks, they had finally got us.
I hung up the phone and I honestly do not remember what I told the 911 operator. We slowly walked down the stairs to see my father in a trench coat and hat, in the foyer with my mother. As soon as they saw how hard we were crying, they started apologizing. Now I can look back on that night and smile and applaud my parents for an excellent prank, but at the time, I was petrified.
My parents would like me to clarify that my father did not have his cell phone with him, so my mother could not get ahold of him to call it off once Heather and I started freaking out. In addition, I had taken every key to the house and locked us in (we have deadbolts on the inside of the doors for unrelated reasons), so she could not just fight me off and walk out there and tell my father to stop. This truly was the prank to end all pranks, because of how scared Heather and I were and that the police were almost dispatched to our location, my parents accepted a life-long win and have held their end of the bargain for no more scary pranks.
They said their inspiration came from the extremely foggy night and Heather and I were home together for a now-rare visit during our college days. In addition, they had turned the fan and light on in the bathroom and locked it to convince us that was where my father was. The most impressive part of this entire event to me was my mother’s poker face. She knew, the whole time, and while she did not join us in our fright, she had me convinced that she had lost her mind to whatever figure was trying to overtake my childhood home.
This, my friends, is the most I have ever been scared by a prank. I am a scary movie buff and there are only certain movies that actually scare me. It takes a lot of criteria at this point, but this real-life (prank) scenario truly scared me to my core. Happy spooky season, and don’t blame my parents, it was the finale of a nearly decade-long prank war between us.
— Contact Emily Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @BDTrice