In our neighborhood, a popular way of making a little extra money on a summer day was to set up a spook house in your cellar, or garage, and get the other kids to pay admission.
Our resources being what they were, customers always had to go through the spook house blindfolded. Otherwise they would see how goofy it was. I mean, how scared were you going to get in broad daylight? But once you had a blindfold on, maybe you might get your money’s worth of being scared. “Money” usually meant a nickel.
Dangling strips of toilet paper made for cobwebs across the entrance “to the secret tomb of Dracula, heh-heh-heh!” (These lines are very hard for a 10-year-old to deliver convincingly, but we tried.) And then you’d be invited to feel the various exhibits. “Feel Dracula’s fangs, how sharp they are!” (A couple of ten-penny nails.) “The cut-off head of the Wolfman!” (A ratty old bathroom rug draped over a basketball.) And my favorite, whoever thought it up was a genius: “Now feel solidified fire!” That really did spook me while I was blindfolded, making me think I was gonna get burned somehow. But solidified fire was just ice cubes.
And sometimes we’d put a blindfolded kid into a wagon for “the Monster Ride through Transylvania–oooooh!” Which was a lot of sharp turns, etc. But it felt kind of cool if you couldn’t see where you were going. There was always that little frisson at the thought that some wiseguys might push you into a mud puddle and tip the wagon over…
The money we took in never amounted to much; but the fun we had, did.