*I was granted free media VIP access to the opening night of Queen Mary Dark Harbor.  While given free tickets to the event and extras, all the opinions listed here are strictly my own.

So it’s time for another “Days of Thankfulness” posting as another week has gone by.  And we are now on week three of ten heading into the Thanksgiving holidays.  If you have checked out my previous thankfulness posts both here, and here, thank you for coming back.  For those of you who are new, I am spending 70 Days remembering things I am grateful for.  With so much sadness, anger, and fear propagated in the world today we need to remember things we are grateful for.  Maybe that will help us to be better able to handle uncomfortable discussions or difficult feelings we may have in the world.

It seems like day after day, we spend time upset about the world and the people around us.  The fact that this last election in the United States has driven thousands of people to “unfriend” each other makes me depressed.  I am not saying that toxic relationships shouldn’t be let go.  But if you are cutting off relationships because you disagree with them over a matter, it better be so significant you cannot overcome that boundary.

And from my perspective, it better not be something that was said over social media that made you cut off that relationship.  The internet has “freed” people to say things they would never say in public to anyone.  Talk to that person in public.  I bet they will not say it the same way.  And I bet you wouldn’t just so easily “unfriend” them either.  Social media has done some amount of damage to the way we communicate.  To me, it is not unlike someone saying something when they are drunk.  I am guessing you would give that person some latitude.  And I am guessing they would regret saying those things once they sobered up.  Well, social media has created a ton of people drunk on their own “voice.”  I think we should take a step back.  We should all take a step back.


Then, count the reason you are grateful for them in your life, and have them do the same for you being in their life.  Maybe your friendship changes.  But after dealing with some strife, maybe it deepens.  And maybe it still ends.  But you will be a better person for it.  Whatever the case, counting your blessings and doing things face to face will change you.  And it will change your relationships with other people.

So with all the craziness swirling around, I created this series to remind people of the things that they are thankful for.  I figured we could all use a little more happiness, a bit more gratefulness, and a whole lot of perspective in our lives that we aren’t getting right now.  To that end, I started this series to create a conversation and remind us of things we are thankful for.

But as you may have noticed given the title of this blog or if you follow me on social media, this week I was invited to go to the Queen Mary Dark Harbor event.  Every year ghosts and ghouls from one of America’s most famous ships docked in Long Beach Harbor all reside for a month each year.  From the Freezing Meat locker to the Circus Maze to enjoying yourself lounging around the famous R.I.P. (I mean VIP section) they will tempt you with ghoulish treats.  You may eventually escape, or be lost forever on board ship becoming one of next year’s frightful haunts.

How can I be thankful for Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, you ask?  What could I possibly be grateful for?  And how can being there remind me of the things that are important to me?  If you haven’t read Stephen King’s essay Why We Crave Horror Movies you are missing out.  But I believe King says it best when he says: “I think that we’re all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better – and maybe not all that much better, after all.”  Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor allows us all to release a little bit of our insanity.  So here are things I am grateful for this week, with a little dark twist.  And let’s all take a look at my little bit of inspired madness as the Guide presents 70 Days of Thankfulness, Queen Mary Dark Harbor Style.

70 Days Of Thankfulness – Week 3

17)  I am thankful for beauty.

Not that all things in Dark Harbor are particularly ugly.  I think some of the women there cannot hide their beauty even behind some crazy makeup they decide to put on every Halloween.  But I think, as King states in his essay, we have a little ugliness in each of our souls willing to come out.  Halloween and horror films allow us to release a little bit of this out in a safe and sane manner.  I suppose this might make some Alien from outer space who came down on Halloween a little terrified of us.  But seeing this ugliness does make me appreciate the beauty of a woman’s eyes, or the loveliness of Yosemite’s Half Dome, or the beauty in someone’s smile.  I wouldn’t know true beauty without understanding what ugly was.

18)  I am thankful for light.

If you haven’t been down through the mazes in the underbelly of Dark Harbor, you are missing out on a treat. Whether being haunted by the spirits there or getting to see the blades of the ship’s propeller illuminated in a haunting blue light, it’s worth a trip to this fright fest to be haunted for a few minutes while creatures of every sort are willing to jump out at you from every angle.  Part of what makes this so great is it reminds me how amazing the light actually is.  In darkness we see nothing.  Bad things can lurk behind every corner.  And sometimes the fear of not knowing what is there is worse than actually having someone jump out at you.  Your heart begins to race and with each step, you do not know what is to come.  Light cuts through all of that.

Having the light shine on something reveals its true nature and intentions, good or bad.  Sometimes I forget how amazing light can be when I want pitch black in my room when I am sleeping and my daughter wants to keep the lights on in the house.  I forget why she feels that way as if somehow I do not appreciate the light in those moments.  This reminds me how good a little light can be.

19)  I am thankful for civilization.

Stephen King’s essay on horror films does hint that we all have a little bit of the anticivilization gene in all of us.  And maybe we truly do.  These mazes reveal what chaos truly looks like.  Think about if we did not have agreed upon rules of behavior about how we should treat one another.  Maybe some people in the world harbor bad feelings towards other people.  But for most of us, if they acted on those bad feelings, they would wind up behind bars, or possibly dead.  Civilization allows us to be able to free to act in all kinds of ways without fear someone out there will harm us.

Walking through those mazes reminds me that were it not for our agreements, even a step out the front door would be dangerous.  Imagine how truly awful it is for those people in the world who live in chaos.  Maybe, we should be doing something about that.

I don’t think he got enough air.

20)  I am thankful for air conditioning.

During certain sections of the mazes of Dark Harbor, you will feel the heat turned up on you.  Of course, that is part of them trying to get your body to pump more blood to your various parts, which will make you more anxious and the place just that much more frightening when you feel like walls are closing in on you and the heat is being turned up.  In those moments, I remember how beautiful having air conditioning truly is.

We get to escape the heat of the deserts that we live in.  Or in colder climates, we get to heat the place we are staying to escape the cold.  Maybe it feels silly to be thankful for but it is something which makes me eternally grateful.  Try being in Arizona for a wedding in July and taking pictures outdoors at 2 in the afternoon and you will be thankful too.

21)  I am thankful for human contact.

When I am in the midst of the terror and the frightful things around me, I desperately want to reach out to the friends, loved ones, or family that surround me.  Dark Harbor intentionally tries to make you ill at ease.  And in those moments we reach out to our loved ones for safety and support.  And all of that begins with touch.  It can be holding a hand, a big hug or even a simple soft kiss on the forehead reminding me that they are with me in that moment, and will support me.

The world may seem crazy around us, but without human contact, I truly believe we lose something essential to our well-being.  I know that they have done studies with babies.  Those who were not held after birth ended up sickly or dead.  Just the simple act of being held reminds us we are not alone in those moments of fear and dread.  Dark Harbor definitely reminded me of this.

22) I am thankful for silence.

Sometimes we are uncomfortable with silence in our lives.  But silence allows us to think and process in a way that noise does not.  I like to pretend that I can get things done watching a baseball or basketball game while working on my blog.  But honestly, until I shut things down and allow for a little silence to wash over me, it’s hard to think or do anything.

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor definitely does a good job of creating chaos and noise all around.  This noise, whether we want to admit it or not, unsettles us.  It makes it harder to think.  And that makes us very reactionary.  It certainly allows us to let out a little of our crazy.  In those moments of crazy, I can appreciate how good it is to just have a little quiet at the end of a long day.  I am definitely thankful for the silence.

23)  I am thankful for those who protect me.

Whether this means police, the military, the National Guard or my brother who looks out for me, I am thankful for those who protect me from harm.  Maybe I wasn’t exactly the one who needed the protection in the mazes like my friend, but it definitely reminded me what it meant to be looking out for each other.  And in that moment, I appreciated those who were looking out for me and my security.  It’s a crazy world out there, whether we want to admit it or not.  And in that crazy world, we need people who stand up for others.  Dark Harbor reminded me that there are people looking out for me every day.  I am very grateful to each and every one of you who do.  Let me just say now.  Thank you.

As For The Event Itself –

I have to say that I love the inspired madness that goes on around these Halloween Events they have.  And Queen Mary represents one of the best places around when it comes to these Halloween parties.  The fun begins when the sun sets and continues until the early morning hours.  With new mazes this year, you can even have more fun thrills, and many of them are wheelchair accessible.  In addition, they have the Creepy Cabanas, The R.I.P. Lounge and the Meat Locker where you get to try out flavored vodka in a 7-degree storage unit.  Plus they have spectacular shows and performers going on all throughout the night.

Just check the website for details.  If you haven’t been yet, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor goes select nights now through November 1st.  Season passes start for as low as $99 dollars.  If you are looking for a great bang for your scary buck, it’s worth the price of admission.

One last little detail, the parking.  Check out the opportunities for parking.  There is even a ferry that can shuttle you across from the Aquarium of the Pacific which is cheaper than actual parking by the Queen Mary on the Day of the Event.  So be sure to check the site for details.

Continue The Conversation

What do you think of these reasons for being Thankful?  And would going to a Halloween event remind you of reasons to be thankful?  When was the last time you attended a Halloween event?  And if you have been to Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary, what were your thoughts?  I would love to hear from you as always.

Follow Me

If you liked this post, be sure to check out my other Thankfulness posts, and like this post at the bottom of the page.  Also, don’t forget to sign up for the Single Dad’s Guide to Life on Email.  All email subscribers will get access to the Dad Rules.  These are ten rules that every father should know about and follow, or the ghost of Dark Harbor will follow you home.  Bwahahahaha!  I just want to thank you for stopping by to the Guide, once again.

Until next time, this is your crazy creepy Halloween time host signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life