If you're in the market for an evening of screams, shouts and - surprisingly - laughter, then an evening at The Nightmare Realm is the place for you.
Located both in Dublin and Cork, this is the horror house's second year in the capital. It's notorious for providing a scare-filled trip from it's eight years in Cork. Each year the attraction gets bigger and better, and this year was no different. For something that has such a reputation for being frightful, I had never ventured inside its hallowed halls for some reason.
Until last night.
I headed along to The Nightmare Realm with a far braver friend of mine to experience everything the horror extravaganza had to offer. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was trying my best not to focus on the "what ifs" of the situation. The tensions was palpable as we waited in the queues to get inside as people shifted around nervously, waiting to see if anything was hiding behind the sets. As soon as you see the doors to go inside, you start to second guess everything.
We were assured that the actors - yes, despite the screams they elicit from you, they still are people like us! - and that they couldn't touch us. And that was indeed true, the creepy figures never touched us - anything I felt was myself flailing around in fear. With us reassured and somewhat calm, we were told it was our turn.
We entered the Realm via a cushioned tunnel which enclosed you in, meaning you had nowhere to look, and nowhere to run. From there on, it was twists and turns full of creatures, clowns and ghoulish people hiding in every corner to laugh and poke at your fear.
There's not a moment where you're left alone; there's always someone waiting for you.
While admittedly, I couldn't see much as I was clutching onto the back of my friend in front of me, what, and who, I did see were enough to make me shriek.
What makes this event so special is that you simultaenously want to hide, and want to catch a glimpse of everything that's going on around you. The darkness, the flashing lights and unexpected voices, sounds and movements all made the experience unlike any other.
You start the horror experience in Charlie Chop's 3D Clown House, after which you get a few minutes of respite before you enter the truly frightening Hostel, and from there to the Gruber Asylum. I don't want to give too much away, but your stomach muscles will be sore from laughs and screams alike.
If there's anything to comfort you, it's the shrieks of those gone before you as you head through the many phases of the Nightmare Realm, head down, afraid and excited to see what would come at you next. I'm not one for scares, but this evening had me laughing and shouting in equal parts.
If I had to describe the experience in three words it would be terrifying, exhilirating, and downright frightening.
But that's exactly what you want for Halloween, isn't it?