haunted houses in winter, part 3

He flicked his beard, looked at me with a smile. “In a few more years, I’ll be Santa Claus for real.”

He had snow machines in his closet and a Mrs Claus in his attic with a face based on one of his actresses. He was, and is, a far cry from Santa, yet the unacted-upon longing was there…shades of Jack searching for the mystery behind another holiday’s door.

Not every haunted attraction, of course, is besieged and abused by the winter. Disneyland took advantage of its lack of snow and a skeleton that would be Claus and started retheming its Haunted Mansion for the park’s holiday events.

What’s good enough for the Mouse is good enough for the rest of us. Those lucky enough to have the space simply dedicate one section of their haunted property to what will become a winter wonderland. Others muster up the manpower to retheme their haunt. And for one haunted attraction in Chicago, this year’s first attempt at redecorating may be what lets them scare again next year.

It all makes an exhausted sort of sense, really. We come to Halloween as children disguised as monstrous adults; we scream in fear of Santa, longing to be spoiled. We build our haunted attractions, reluctantly locking up our fantasies as frost gathers on the pumpkins. These vague attempts to claim another holiday are smart business as much as they are proof that Halloween is every day. Snow be damned.

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