Louisville's Danger Run offers an evening full of adventurous Halloween themed fun. I've driven the Danger Run for the last four years, and I've come away with a bunch of great memories and an aversion to chainsaws.
The Danger Run  is "the most fun you will ever have in your car". After beginning your night at one of the three check points, for the comparatively meager price of $16.00 you get admission to two haunts, a coupon for a free cheeseburger from Dairy Queen, a ten dollar gas card (if you're in a car with four or more people) and an awesome pair of plastic vampire teeth. You also get a book full of limerick clues, written to guide you around a specific route through Louisville and Southern Indiana, eventually leading you to both Haunted Houses. The object of the game is to figure out all the clues and accumulate the correct mileage for the trip, which puts you in the running to win some pretty sweet prizes, including a 500 dollar gas card. If you're wondering, I have never even gotten close to getting the correct mileage, but doggedly I soldier on in hopes that one day that prize will be mine.
The Danger Run fills me with a delightfully creepy feeling, a throwback to sitting around a campfire and telling ghost stories, playing truth or dare. I set out on the Danger Run this year with my boyfriend Nathen and my friends Danielle and Nihit. My three companions deciphered clues together, and I sat in the back and provided support in the form of useless comments ("Turn left here? Maybe? Never mind that's a one way. Turn right. I think"). My sense of direction is at best a little scrambled, but it is amusing to decipher the cryptic limericks and turn them into directions to the first haunt.
The first haunted event on our route was The Asylum . There we were offered a choice of haunts to attend, Zombie City or Darkness Falls, a clown themed outdoor walk. Danielle was immediately unhappy with out choice of Darkness Falls, and as the guide explained that the course was a mile long, Danielle lost her nerve. Eluding my grasp, she bolted across the field and locked herself in the car.
"DANIELLE YOU ARE A CHICKEN!" I yelled after her, and then cowered behind Nathen and Nihit as we entered Darkness Falls. Suffice to say: there were clowns. Lots of horrible, grinning, sneaking, costumed actors with big claws and chainsaws and butcher knives. The pale moon beaming through the dark trees added to the ambience as we slunk through forest paths. My faithful Nathen shielded me from the brunt of the terror, but I fear I may have bruised his eardrums with my dramatic shrieks at every shock. After finishing our trek through clown infested forest, we rejoined Danielle and continued on our journey.
We deciphered the rest of our clues like pros, and we only got lost once on our way to the second haunt, Psychomania Theater of Terror . Psychomania was less fun than Darkness Falls, if only because it was set inside an abandoned theater, smelly and crowded. Danielle braved this one with us, but nobody was too thrilled about the claustrophobic and loud maze of rather standard monsters.
As we rounded the corner in what I hoped was the last nook of the haunt, a masked man with a chainsaw lunged towards us gibbering like a mad man. I am not proud of what I did next; my nerves were frayed and my vocal cords shredded from all the screaming. Much to my shame, I pushed my boyfriend towards the monster, grabbed Danielle, and sprinted towards the door out. As we exited, I heard the chainsaw wielding spook scream
Then heard my boyfriend's flustered voice, "SORRY MAN! ARE YOU OKAY?" My big gentle National Guard trained boyfriend had accidently punched the guy with the chainsaw right in the nose. My boyfriend continued to apologize over and over, as the poor abused actor waved him on graciously. We turned in our mileage outside Psychomania and headed home, adrenaline still roaring through our veins.
The Danger Run has become my Halloween tradition, a time to wander through the maze of dark streets and flee from ax bearing actors dressed up as demons. The Danger Run goes through the end of October and grows in popularity every year, and it is well worth investment of time and money. Join the adventure! Take the Danger Run!
Photos: Elizabeth Orrick