It was Halloween and everyone knows how much the Americans love Halloween. For the last month we’d watched as houses, restaurants and any kind of tourist attraction, decorated their places with cobwebs, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns and any other ghouls they could find. So in true Yank spirit, we booked ourselves something scary to do. First we had to make the drive from Austin to San Antonio, with one scary stop off on the way.

Being true horror film fans, no trip to Texas would be complete without a look at the house from the 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Real people actually lived there so whilst we couldn’t go right up to it – the sign outside made that VERY clear – we could stand on the road outside and take pictures. It was exactly how you saw it in the film although in the cold light of day, with a clear blue sky it really didn’t look that scary, so Barry had to sex the photo up a bit. It was in the middle of nowhere, down some back country roads, surrounded by huge cornfields. We wondered how the location scout for the film ever found this place. It’s not like you would just stumble across it.

After taking a few snaps, we got back on our way and two hours later we reached San Antonio. Before we checked into our motel, we opted to get something to eat at the Longhorn Steakhouse where Barry ate his weight in ribs!

Massive Ribs - Longhorn Steakhouse - Texas

Before long it was time to head into downtown San Antonio for our evening of fear inducing activities. Once we parked the car, we walked through the streets where almost everyone was dressed up in some kind of costume. Everyone was loving it and those that weren’t dressed up were asking to have their picture taken with those that were. They were more than happy to pose!

Once we reached our destination, we joined the queue of people waiting to go in. We were headed for Carn Evil and Terror on the Plaza. The first being a scary ride and the second being a haunted house. I’d spent hours researching to find the best things to do in San Antonio for Halloween and most of them were haunted houses. The one we were going to was reviewed as being the scariest one. Barry was slightly dubious, thinking that it would only be as scary as the one we went to in Pigeon Forge, but if the reviews I had read were anything to go by, then we were in for much more of a fear fest!

As we queued, a zombie and clown were terrorising us all. They never broke character and put the fear of God into some people. I guess this was their way of warming us up for the main attractions. After queuing for about 40 minutes, we finally made it to the Carn Evil ride. We had to enter in pairs and when the couple of groups in front of us entered, we heard them screaming as they disappeared inside. To say I was anxious was an understatement. The logical side of my head was saying, ‘they’re just normal people, they won’t really hurt you’ but the side with the wild imagination was saying ‘what if some crazy axe man is hiding in there?’ I always jump at everything so I knew this would be no exception and would have me jumping all over the place.

zombie - Ripleys Carn Evil and Terror on the Plaza - San Antonio - Texas

When it came to our turn to go in, Barry pushed me in first and as I gingerly walked down the corridor and round the corner, a crazy clown jumped out in front me and there came my first scream. He ushered us down a walkway towards the ride and I couldn’t walk quick enough. I just put my head down and thought, get me to the ride and away from this crazy guy. As we walked they were mocking us, commenting on the fact that he had made us jump and asking us if we were scared – one even asked if Barry’s hair got scared and ran away! It was only about a 30 second walk but at least another 3 clowns jumped out and scared the crap out of both of us! We quickly jumped into the little cart that would take us round the rest of the horrors. We were trapped in the cart for about 3 minutes, but in that time we had all sorts jump out on us, fall from the ceiling and terrify us with a combination of smoke, noises and lights.

Ripleys Carn Evil and Terror on the Plaza - San Antonio - Texas

We eventually made it out alive, but we still had the Terror on the Plaza to get through. When we exited the ride, the corridor took us back outside where we re-joined a queue to get into the haunted house. This time it only took a couple of minutes before we were allowed to enter. Again, as soon as we went in, we were jumped upon by a scary zombie and led to a lift, which took us upstairs. Once we were let out, we had to walk our way round and it was seriously terrifying. I have never jumped and screamed so much in my life. I had a sore throat by the time we got out. Barry even admitted to me that he was scared too, so you know it must have been scary!

Every corner we turned someone else jumped out on us. We had to make our way through pig carcasses, human bodies hanging from the ceiling in a mortuary, a cannibal’s kitchen. At one point we got trapped in a room where a giant dragon backed us into a corner. We had no idea where we were supposed to go, until we found a secret corridor that was filled with what can only be described as a giant airbag either side. Somehow we had to push our way through it. I managed to find a small gap in the middle that was just about big enough for us to squeeze through. I kept thinking that I would be met with a crazy zombie or a man with a chainsaw the minute I came out the other end but luckily we weren’t. Just as I’d reasoned with myself that although these people were making us jump from a distance and none of them were actually touching us, we entered what appeared to be a mental asylum. Suddenly all these patients were running at us and the “no touching rule” went out of the window. One girl came up to me and started stroking my hair and sniffing it. I couldn’t even look at her, I just kept walking trying to ignore it.

The whole experience was terrifying and by far surpassed our expectations. The Americans really do know how to celebrate Halloween, even down to the food they serve. We topped the night off by gorging ourselves on some Halloween inspired Krispy Kreme’s. Mmmmmm.