In 2019, knowing that I loved all things Halloween, my old boss arranged a business trip to Florida so that I could go to Universal Studios Florida's Halloween Horror Nights.

2019 was a rough year. I began the year in the hospital for a week fighting Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). In my case, it was life threatening. My platelets (those wonderful cells that clot our blood) dropped to 7,000 (a healthy body has between 150,000 - 450,000 platelets). My doctors still have no idea what triggered it - but two years later it has never happened again. I spent the next 5 months on disability trying to recover from severe anemia. Going back to my job as a paralegal was a big accomplishment and honestly a huge drain on my body and soul every day. I was terrified to go on that trip - I didn't know if the stress of flying and 8 hours crammed with business meetings for 4 days would land me in a Florida hospital, 5 hours away from my dogs, friends, and family.

My boss only went on a few mazes (the more family friendly ones) and then got tired and went back to the hotel. Me and my coworker Andrew were like teenagers finally free of their parents. We went on every maze and ended the night on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit rollercoaster.

One of my favorite parts of Halloween Horror Nights - not surprisingly (look at the photo closely I'm wearing a dress with all of their faces on it) was the Universal Monsters maze with two of my favorite underused monsters - a gorgeous Bride of Frankenstein and a Creature from the Black Lagoon I would have swam home with in a goldfish minute.

A surprising favorite - turned out to be Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Delux scare zone. Dragula blasting on the speakers, sexy gogo dancers, and demons on stilts - it was like walking into another sexy world. Posing in Dragula with The Robot, I remembered who I was before I was sick.

My other surprise favorite - The Killer Klowns from Outerspace maze. It was bright and loud and filled with way too many fucking clowns and was so much fun. I know I saw the movie when it came out in 1988 (I worked at a video store then and would use my discount to watch as many horror movies as possible) but I never saw it again after that. As you can tell, me and Shorty and Slim had a great time hanging out. Since then, I've seen Killer Klowns lots of times and totally understand why it is Andrew's favorite horror movie.