Ah, Friday the 13th, one of my favorite days! And it's happening at the start of fall. Even better. If you've known me at any point during a Friday the 13th, you know I kinda make it a big deal. Each time it happens, I hang my Jason Voorhees hockey mask and machete wreath on my front door (HOA be damned when I lived in a neighborhood with one), I change my Facebook profile to my famous-amongst-friends Jason stick figure with matching status (“Be safe, Jason is Alive. We dug up his body.”) and I always wear one of my haunted house shirts.
What a lot of people don't know about this huge ordeal I create is that I'm not some major fan of the Friday the 13th franchise (I actually prefer the Halloween movies), it's all about the family I joined in 2006, which I realized today is 13 years ago! That realization made me feel nostalgic, so I decided I would jump on here and share with the world why my stick figure Jason and my love for this “holiday” exist.
Thirteen years ago this fall, I tagged along with my sister to a dusty old basement filled with wood pallets and black plastic: my very first haunted house volunteer gig at Misery Manor. At first, I was what was called a “lifeguard,” which was essentially a tour guide that was stationary to one room. A bit into the season, a new room was constructed off of ours, so I took over the role my sister had been playing. The role that created my relationship with Jason Voorhees.
In a sleeping bag on the dusty floor, I shined a flashlight on my face to let the crowd know that I had won a contest to spend the night down in this haunted house and, if I survived, I'd win $100. But before the groups left the room, they witnessed Jason Voorhees slamming my sleeping bag against a large metal commercial refrigerator before charging at them with his machete as the deafening soundtrack threw in lines from Friday the 13th Vol VI (“Jason is alive. We dug up his body!”). I loved this! Watching the terrified reactions of countless strangers from my little hiding spot was exhilarating!
During breaks or the rare slow night, the characters in the rooms directly around me would hang out and get to know each other. Nathan, the man playing Jason, became our great friend. Like I mentioned before, we were all really a family, and it was hard to leave that season behind when November rolled around.
The next year, the group we volunteered with didn't put on their own haunted house, though we did do some work here and there between two different haunts. Still, every Friday the 13th, I made my same posts with my same picture (the one time I didn't, my co-worker got hit by a car! He was fine, but I make sure to post every time now, to be safe.)
In 2008, though, it was peak Misery Manor. I was a freshman in college nearly an hour away, but that didn't stop my roommate/best friend from showing up every single night and working our tails off. That year, I was a tour guide, and we were intense. Our job wasn't to gently walk people through the haunted house, we were just as much part of the show. The high energy of this year's spook house made everything so much more fun. Back then, I was always doodling silly stick-figure comics based off of things that happened to me, bloomed from a silly conversation, or what have you. I can't tell you what the first Jason comic was, but I can tell you it all came from something Nathan had done or said. That season, I drew countless comics filled with inside jokes featuring the characters Jason (Nathan), Sister Olivia (Alyssa), Sister 6 (Laura), Cup (Lindsay), Straw (me) and any other people who were around in the scenario. When November brought MM to an end, I gathered all of the Jason comics and put them in a binder for Nathan since he was the big star. Since then, I've drawn what's now always my profile picture each holiday as well as a few other comics.
So, you see, it's not that these are my favorite movies, or that I'm superstitious (except for having to make my status), or anything. It's that it reminds me of my wonderful Haunted House family and the wonderful memories I have with them. Even though the wonder that is Misery Manor has essentially retired, and I live over 1000 miles away, my love for my chosen family will always be strong.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday the 13th. Be safe out there. Jason is alive. We dug up his body!
Hello! I'm Lindsey. I'm a writer with a ton of random thoughts bouncing around in my head. So I share them here in hopes that they reach others with these thoughts.