Here is a small piece of unsolicited advice for Halloween haunters in Los Angeles: Go see King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the California Science Center. Although it is not a Halloween haunt by any stretch of the imagination, it certainly provides an excellent template for one. There is an opening intro with a film that sets up the story, followed by a procession through a series of rooms filled with ancient artifacts, accompanied by texts explaining the difficulties of navigating a path through the afterlife. Walls and displays are adorned with excerpts from the Book of the Dead – spells meant to be intoned by the departed soul in order to enlist the aid of the gods and ward off the dangers of the Underworld. Literally, all it would take is some low-key lighting and some costumed characters to turn the exhibition into a themed haunted attraction.
Particularly interesting is a written explanation that each soul’s journey through the afterlife was unique, featuring different dangers defeated in different ways. This sounds like a perfect scenario for an interactive walk-through with forking paths, each participant choosing his/her own confrontations and tribulations, perhaps being led by a spirit guide instructing souls in the use of incantations needed to navigate the Underworld in their quest to reach Paradise.
Lord knows, clowns and zombies have proliferated ad nauseam for many a Halloween season. Egyptology, on the other hand, has not been overused. I’m not talking about shuffling mummies (though those could certainly be incorporated). No, this hypothetical haunt could be filled with depictions of Horus, Isis, Osiris, and Anubis, for a truly haunting depiction of the afterlife.
Someone really should take a hint from the King Tut exhibition. It reveals the potential for a great Halloween haunt just waiting to happen.
For more information, read Review: King Tut – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh.
Photo at top: The Mummy (1959)