I went to school at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and every year I attended, at Halloween I’d wonder why the pickings were so slim when it came to haunted attractions. In Omaha, there were several haunted houses to choose from including Mystery Manor and Scary Acres. But even today, it’s hard to find a good haunted house in Lincoln NE. Maybe that’s why so many of our patrons come from the eastern end of the state in search of an authentic Halloween experience.
Lincoln is a funny town, if I do say so myself. I liked living there in my first few years away from home, but the city is a little bit inside-out and backwards. First of all, there’s the Penis-of-the-Plains, viewable from a great distance when traveling along I-80 because code dictates that no building can be built above a certain height, obscuring its view. The code’s effects are somewhat enchanting from afar as one travels eastward along I-80 from as the sun is setting. The tall phallic spire is awe-inspiring against the deep purples and blues that dance across the sky behind it. But once inside the city, the building codes that create a stunning image from the outskirts of Lincoln create a logistical nightmare for those who need to get from point A to point B quickly. Lincoln sprawls and it offers no shortcuts. And the penis stands sentinel admiring its own mythology without ever taking responsibility for the madness its caused.
And restaurants. The people of Lincoln tire of their restaurants too quickly. The typical restaurant has a three-year survival rate before going out of business with only a few exceptions. Perhaps this is due to the constant turn-over of college students, but that seems like a trite explanation. I didn’t live there long enough to really get a sense of why there are no haunted houses in Lincoln NE, but I suspect that the same forces that built that Penis and that put restaurants out of business every 3 years, also make sure haunted houses get only the shallowest rooting.
But the lack of haunted houses in Lincoln doesn’t mean that Lincoln residents can’t enjoy a day-trip or even an overnight excursion to celebrate Halloween. Last year, School District 13 hosted a large number of patrons from both Omaha and Lincoln. And they had fun! It’s a straight shot along I-80 to get to Brule from either Lincoln or Omaha and a lot of these people rounded out their road trip by visiting the local haunts like Boot Hill or Mansion on the Hill in Ogallala, NE. Big city haunts are cool, but if you’re craving something different and a little more raw, come see what it’s like to walk the streets of a tiny, rural town that’s haunted. And on your way back to eastern Nebraska, after you’ve been thoroughly terrorized and traumatized by the ghosts and goblins of Brule, you can head east on I-80 and look for the penis at twilight. It’s a sight for sore eyes.