We've all been there before: Dressed up in costumes, ringing the doorbell expecting candy before a multidimensional demon opens the door and devours our souls. Here're some of our favorite Haunted Houses... just so you know which ones to avoid.
Here's the first clue that you might not want to go to a particular house looking for treats: If it's called the Hell House. Okay, to be fair, in Richard Matheson's 1971 novel, the house is actually called the Belasco House, but even in the book that should be a clue, considering it was named after a man who performed unspeakable acts of "blasphemy and perversion" in it. Turns out that it wasn't necessarily Ernesto Belasco's fault, though; the house itself corrupts and feeds upon the weaknesses of all who enter. Which is to say: Don't count on candy.
Sure, the eponymous house from this 2006 animated movie may have been possessed by the spirit of a vengeful carnival giantess, but that doesn't really explain the "eating people" thing, nor the house's ability to use a telephone (Is the telephone part of the house? Or did the house break off a piece of itself to be able to dial the number?). And while it looked like the house was destroyed, and the spirit released, at the end of the movie, we're not convinced. After all, doesn't the bad guy always come back in a sequel? As the movie demonstrates, though, anyone approaching the house, even if garbed in inventive and amusing costumes, don't tend to fare well. Or leave, for that matter.
Two of these three houses are probably very familiar to anyone who's read some Sandman at some point. The Houses of Mystery and Secrets were firmly placed in Morpheus' dream realm in that series, along with their owners, Cain and Abel - But both of them, and the little-known third house in the family, existed long before that, as settings for the Crypt Keeper-esque introductions in three horror anthology comics throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies. While both the Houses of Mystery and Secrets have since been revived both in Sandman and their own series (Both focusing as much on the houses as any characters), the poor Sinister House has been left unopened for decades, keeping that love that little bit more Secret. Candy possibilities: Nil for Mystery and Secrets, but don't be too surprised if the Sinister House is so grateful for the visitors that it gives you something after all.
One of the favorite films of the teenager that was Graeme at the time, this 1986 horror comedy about a Vietnam vet who ends up living in a haunted house that's also responsible for the disappearance of his son offered up the dubious pleasures of George Wendt in a non-Norm role and three increasingly disappointing sequels that proved that, even though you think you've cured the House of its Hauntedness, there's always more left somewhere (You hear me, Monster House?). Nevertheless, being the haunted house in a horror comedy, trick or treaters should best be warned: "Ironic" deaths based upon your costume are probably all but guaranteed.
No, I'm not getting forgetful in my old age; this 2006 novel shares a name only with the 1986 movie - Well, that and the idea of a Haunted House. But in this "Christian Horror" novel, there's one easy out from this (and any) terror abode: Sacrifice that impresses Jesus. Quite how much he'd be impressed with trick or treating - or the whole Halloween concept in general, for that matter - is open to question, however, so I wouldn't ring that doorbell thinking you've got an easy out, if I were you.
House On Haunted Hill
If someone offers you what seems like a ridiculous amount of money just to stay one night in any particular location, it's a fair bet that said location is haunted. And likely to try to kill you. On the plus side, Frederick Loren's house may be haunted, but it only seems to become supernaturally active after midnight, meaning that any trick or treaters before the witching hour should find themselves able to leave intact (Although, most likely, without any snack success). Just don't say yes if he asks you to come inside and join the party.
The Haunted Mansion
Disney's favorite ghost-filled abode may be 40 years old this year, but isn't spooky ageless, when it comes down to it? Ignore the Eddie Murphy movie version and you're left with probably the only place on this list where trick or treating is most likely not only accepted but encouraged. Yes, you'd probably have to sit on a weird train thing taking you through the entire house to meet all the various ghouls and beasties and ask each one if they'd want a trick or a treat, but still. It's a Disney thing: Kids enjoying themselves is what it's all about.