My FearTASTIC Time at The Great Horror Campout 2: Electric BOOgaloo!
After the events of the interactive night of horror themed challenges known as The Great Horror Campout, I found myself limping with my friends back to our vehicle. Although one of the best times of recent memory, my head did hang a little low because I did not achieve the greatest accomplishment in the event, the prestigious title of Hell Master. Maybe it was because my first year, perhaps the glitz and glamour of my first horror campout made it difficult to focus on achieving the necessary SCAG (Shit All Campers Get) in order to qualify to compete to earn the Hell Master title but regardless, the title was not earned. I stared out the window as we drove away from a 12 hour event of horror themed goodness as the ghouls whispered Hell Master into my ear like an itch that cannot be scratched buried within my soul. I remember making a vow that I would not rest until a sound strategy was put in place to secure my place in the elusive position of Hell Master.
About two minutes into the car ride, I fell asleep.
When I woke up, Hell Master didn’t really bother me anymore and my memories of the Great Horror Campout mainly focused on how much fun I had with the excellently made creatures roaming the campsite and the surprisingly difficult challenges that kept the heart pumping with excitement and anxiety. The most surprising part of The Great Horror Campout was how the whole event was crafted to be physically engaging and for some parts, very challenging. I remember going into the event with the notion that this would spending the night at a haunted themed amusement park filled with mazes and creatures lurking throughout the night just waiting to scare the teeth out of your body (i.e. Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt or Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights). Instead, the experience was like its namesake; a horror-themed campout that was filled with challenging activities, ghoulish camp counselors, a foul – mouthed Head Master and tents that were (not) meant for rest and sleeping.
Although it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, the experience was fantastic nonetheless. This event could easily be sold as an active event like a 5K run or one of those snazzy obstacle courses that requires some sort of mud, color or glow sticks hitting you in the face. The folks that came to the campout in military gear did not seem so crazy anymore now that I knew what the night entailed and knowing is half the battle.
Fast forward to about two weeks before my second venture to the Great Horror Campout.
It’s funny how life gives you the tools and strategy to prepare but forgets to jog up that pesky memory when it’s actually needed. Such was the case for me as a new position at work, business travel up the Wazoo, party planning and former comrades bailing out from the previous year threw my strategies out the memory block. I found myself scrambling the morning of the campout. After running a couple errands, I had decided the strategy of simple is better needed to be put in place. Last year had my group and me bringing enough food for a small army and sleeping bags/pillows AS IF we were actually going to sleep. Like I said, simple was better so a change of clothes, portable charger, small pillow (just in case passing out was needed), headlamp and a backpack was all I needed. A total of four of us were going to this year’s festivities with three returning challengers and one newbie that added the extra edge we needed with the upcoming challenges of the night.
The same rules of the campout that involved reading your Dossier, earning SCAG and completing obstacle courses were the same as last year’s so if you’d like to know the details, I implore you to CLICK HERE first before continuing!
Caught up folks? Good.
First obvious difference from last year’s festivities was the location. Griffith Park in LA was the home of the Campout for the last couple of years within an abandoned zoo that gave the event an even creepier tone for some of the events. This year however, the setting was Elysian Park near Dodger Stadium. This was clearly a more manicured terrain with hiking trails neatly surrounding the campground and a little league baseball field right below the campout’s festivities. The theme this year was “Camp Stillwater” which was printed on the shirts that were given to each camper. As we put our shirts on, the familiar setting of a huge pop up movie screen was in full swing as the campers settled in. The screen however was playing a show called Dead of Summer from the Freeform Network (PLUGIN Achieved!) which led me to the realization that this year’s campout was in a cross promotional collaboration with the TV show thus the Camp Still Water theme which is the main backdrop of the show itself.
Okay, so first thing that came across my mind was if The Great Horror Campout has suddenly become corporate. I mean, sure, they were featured on Shark Tank but I don’t remember there being a Mark Cuban Lizard Man Challenge (note to self; make this happen) but then again, this cross promotion is what seemed to give the campout a face lift so I reserved all judgement. There was a photo booth that allowed people to take professional pictures and have the photos sent to them via social media/ email/ text which was pretty neat because once the campout starts, pictures and recording are not allowed unless you are in the tent or movie screen areas. The group split up for a bit as the newbie and I decided to tryout the photo booth when another difference hit me like Freddy’s claws to my spinal cord; the amount of attractive women had increased exponentially.
One was such the case as a group of four ladies struck up a conversation which is when I realized that I was a lot more social this year than the previous since I had already experienced the surprise of being a first – timer. One of the ladies in particular; the one who was well versed in horror flicks and had a genuine wit that cut like a knife…and had an incredible smile and dorky laugh and….wait what was I talking about? Oh yeah! She was impressed with my ridiculously professional headlamp that was probably meant for spelunking. As I was about to wow her with my bright bulb (wait, what?) I remembered that I did not charge my headlamp for the night’s event which then amounted to my light being dim to the point of useless (yes, make your analogies NOW sickos). Once again, I remember how ill prepared I was for this year’s campout.
This year, there were no teams separated by color but instead your teams were split up by camp counselor. Ours was a human Jack – O – Lantern looking freak with a creepy smile that was pretty hilarious in his dark humor. As the Head Master called all campers to the movie area, I was preparing myself for a treat because this man was crude as he was HILARIOUS. The Head Master did not disappoint as he broke down the rules for the night that were similar to last year’s; Don’t touch the monsters, earn as much SCAG as you can to qualify for Hell Master, each camper is assigned an archetype (virgin, nerd, jock and cheerleader) that had different advantages depending on the obstacle course and DON’T TOUCH THE F*CKIN’ MONSTERS but of course, the monsters may touch YOU. With that thought fresh in everyone’s heads, the campout officially began and the campers scrambled to some challenges in order to earn some SCAG to qualify to compete for becoming a Hell Master. The strategy was clear this year; at least ONE of us should become Hell Master this year so pooling our resources with the different kind of SCAG became the number one priority.
Breakdowns of the different courses are below:
The Pet Cemetery
The first event to start out the night had us silently creeping around a graveyard with riddles written on various tombstones as creatures lurked around waiting to kick people out or grab them to see if they paid attention to the Dossier that taught you how to deal with the various creatures. There was a fun tunnel that you got to slide head first through at the end but overall, not that scary nor interesting.
Completely identical to last year’s Ramball; the objective of the game is to have one player inside of the Ramball picking up various items from the ground as his other teammates roll the ball while BLIND FOLDED. It also doesn’t help that monstrous ram creatures create as much ruckus as possible by ramming (oh puns) the ball in all directions.
You start this challenge by crawling through a tunnel that takes you to a maze where monsters roam. When a monster is seen, you’re supposed to freeze so they can move on but if they catch you moving, they’ll scare you with their snarls and screams then proceed to kick you out the maze. If you are chosen, you may enter a tomb where a riddle is asked and if answered correctly, you receive a first level SCAG! I believe the riddle was “name one word with three different meanings.” We ended up doing this challenge twice and since the riddle was lost upon our group that had been up for 20 or so hours straight, I decided that my answer would be humanity; it could mean humanity, human or manatee.
This event had a group of people around a barricaded area with various “infection spreaders” (water guns) lying on the ground. The first round had every participant frantically picking up an infection spreader in order to try to infect another person. Some of these infection spreaders were legitimate infections which were indicated by the orange liquid that would stain the white shirts while others were “placebos” that only shot plain water. Those would clean shirts would then be separated from the first round folks and the second round had the infected trying to squirt the un infected with the infection spreaders and whoever survived this round was sprayed with green liquid which meant they were able to survive two rounds. The final round had everyone looking for the cure which was only available in ONE infection spreader with the blue water. Within seconds of the third round, one person from our team cried out, “I FOUND THE CURE!” One of us had won the challenge which set a great precedent for the rest of the night.
Not going to lie; when I first read the title of this challenge, I honestly thought that it was a Chucky – themed challenge. This however, was an extreme version of the “hot lava” that kids played during recess. The park came with a full playground for the kiddos so the sickos at the Horror Campout decided to transform it into a challenge. Objective of the game is to go around the playground area WITHOUT touching the lava (sand) and looking at different creepy doll heads in order. Once you make it through the course, you are expected to construct the different heads you saw throughout the course in order. After falling on the sand twice and trying to sneak my way through each section of the playground, I decided this challenge was not in the stars for me. I did however receive some SCAG for ridiculing myself at the direction of the children mutants guarding the lava, so huzzah?
This challenge came in three courses where teamwork is crucial for earning the top SCAG. The Larva Stage had our team flinging giant grubs via water balloon into various fixtures (e.g. bathtubs, sinks, etc.). Our team ended up breaking the current record of four grubs with our impressive SIX grubs! The Mama PopeLick Tunnel had our team crawling uphill army style (on your belly using your elbows) through a plastic tunnel filled with slippery goo in less than 30 seconds in order to earn more points. The Embryonic Stage had our team taking off our shoes/socks as we climbed into bathtubs filled with goo and what felt like hair while blindfolded. The objective is to feel around the bottom of the bathtub in order to find as many “ovum eggs” before time runs out. Our group managed to fish out three of the eggs and overall we earned some mid – level SCAG.
The Headmaster’s Challenge
Periodically throughout the night, the Head Master would call campers over (first come first serve) to participate in his Head Master challenge which is a relay race…a relay race with vomit…fake vomit…but still smelled like the devil and left a sticky residue for every surface it touched. The objective of this game was to pass cups of vomit from one person’s head to another person’s head until it reaches the end of the line where that person tosses whatever vomit is leftover across a tarp to the final person who has to catch it with their head. Whatever vomit is left from that toss is collected in a bucket; whichever team fills their bucket first wins. Proud to say, in the midst of the stink, stickiness and lots of bravado, our team WON! We all earned some top level SCAG and left the Head Master challenge with our heads high…still smelling like vomit.
Kon Tiki’s Tribe
This wasn’t so much a physical challenge as it was a mental one because you had to let go of any notions of being cool and dance like an idiot while ridiculously attractive tribeswomen taunt you into dancing faster and more like morons. At some point, everyone was instructed to take off their shirts and cover our bodies with paint which made things more…interesting. Same ridiculously cute lady that knew her horror flicks from the photo booth happened to be in front me with her friends. We struck a little conversation as she laughed at the giant smiley face I drew across my belly/chest and before I can talk to her some more, she was chosen to dance seductively for Kon Tiki…and dance she did. I wasn’t chosen for squat but you know what? Highlight of my night, SCAG or no SCAG. The Photobooth gal of my dreams was gyrating with body paint all over her right in front of me, no complaints.
Wolf’s Den P.O.W.
One of the last challenges of the night, the objective of this game was to get through various challenge bunkers in order to find the P.O.W. locate his dog tags and write his rank on a toe tag which counts as a SCAG. If the floodlights and sirens go up at any point of the game, all players must get on their belly with hands behind their heads before the wolves catch you and kick you back to the beginning. Bunker Challenge 1 had us looking for toe tags hidden throughout the bunker. Bunker Challenge 2 had all players use two planks in order to move across two large beams. To be honest, I thought this was the challenge that would do me in since my sense of athleticism and balance was not superb. Surprisingly, I got through that beam faster than my comrades, which came as a shock to me, not too shabby eh? Bunker Challenge 3 and 4 had us going through a mini obstacle course forcing us to crawl through planks and wires. Bunker Challenge 5 had us army crawling under “razor wire” so we can reach Bunker Challenge 6 which was hitting a target with a grenade. Bunker Challenge 7 was going through another set of obstacles but this time with wolves walking around to catch any trespassers. Once you get through those beasts, you reach the final bunker with our lost P.O.W. along with his dog tags containing his rank which you then proceed to write in blood on the previously acquired toe tag! Physically challenging and fun overall!
The Head Master yelled out to his ghoulish campers to gather the last of your SCAG and head back to the main camp area to get your final tally. Like I previously mentioned, our group’s strategy was for at least one of us to compete for Hell Master so we had just enough SCAG to qualify! This was it, at least one of us would become Hell Master which is a victory for the group overall in my book. The Hell Master challenge was HORROR MOVIE TRIVIA. I don’t know if it was my politeness, the fact that I didn’t earn as much SCAG as some of my other teammates or nerves that made me not speak up when one of my teammates volunteered to compete for Hell Master. Once again…to become Hell Master…you must correctly answer HORROR MOVIE TRIVIA. I do not know what made me blank out to not volunteer but our fates were sealed.
The Hell Master Challenge would not go down until 730 AM and by the time all SCAG was collected and tallied, it was about 4 am. A 3 1/2 wait was now upon us with the options being watching horror movies on the big screen, playing horror movie themed scattergories, (Scare-a-gories) or enjoying a campfire, complete with someone telling ghost stories. I had played Scare-a-gories last year so I thought I’d enjoy the night by watching some Demon Knight (click HERE to read my review on this flick) and Halloween.
Around 5 in the morning, I raised my head from the picnic table where I was enjoying the horror flicks when a sea of every monster from the event washed past us…headed straight for the tents. It was pretty awesome to see that many ghouls, ghosts, mutants, monsters and general freaks going towards the tents to scare the crap out of anyone who attempted to sleep.
The time finally came for the Hell Master Challenge. Like I had mentioned, I was content in seeing a comrade compete but the fact that I was the most knowledgeable about horror flicks still stung the back of my head. Maybe the questions would be easy, so who cares? All participants were deprived of their vision to alleviate any potential foul play and the horror trivia was ON. Let me fast forward to the end…
We did not achieve Hell Master.
Our comrade was eliminated halfway through the competition and just like that, The Great Horror Campout 2016 was over. Once again, fatigue got to me before I could do some reflection and by the time I got home a hot shower and some rest was in order. Looking back, I had a better time than I did last year based on the fact I knew what to expect and had actual goals. I was through thinking this event is spending the night in a haunted forest where creatures of the night try to scare you at every opportunity, instead this was an event created to test your will and limits while having the backdrop of some impressively scary creatures and backdrops. This is summer camp, the summer camp from my horror dreams. It was an absolute pleasure to attend once again and I’ll be back next year and I hope whoever is in my group will understand this simple request, LET ME REPRESENT US FOR HELL MASTER. A simple request but I believe I shall get us a victory! Until next year!
Oh yes, to the PhotoBooth Gal…if you’re reading this, please contact me. You were quite the pleasure to meet and I’d like to take you out for some sort of food/drink or hell, let’s watch some horror movies.