We’re rapidly approaching the peak of scream season, that special time of year when we all can use the approach of Halloween to justify running around and screaming our heads off like banshees.
Those who need more defensible reasons for the season will find plenty in the headlines. As if the bloody march of imperialism and the whiplash of reactionary conservatism in cities weren’t enough, people keep breaking hearts, work keeps sucking, and late next week the sun will start setting before 5 pm.
Releasing a big ol’ barbaric yawp about all that stuff can feel cathartic, but the question is where. Where can Seattleites bellow, bawl, and howl our brains out with abandon? As ever, The Stranger lives to serve. Our writers compiled a little list of screaming holes to start the conversation. Please feel free to add your fave spots in the comments.
From atop the water tower in Volunteer Park: For those of us who fantasize about going ghoul Scooby-Doo style, Halloween week is the prime time for ascending the water tower in Volunteer Park to shriek until your lungs bleed. Throw on a sheet for the full effect. Your voice, amplified in a brick and metal tube, will be louder and travel farther than you can imagine (especially if you scream down the stairs). Beware! If you actually do this chaotic thing, you'd piss off so many people, and you might make a kid cry if you're unlucky. If you've ever felt shame or embarrassment, or if you don't want a parent yelling at you, then I wouldn't ever recommend doing this. This suggestion expires after October 31. Doing this on November 1 would be so wild. (VIVIAN McCALL)
Underneath the waters of Lake Union: For the shy screamers of the world, Lake Union offers the perfect venue to screech for hours without disturbing anyone—as long as you first fully submerge your head beneath the water. Angry fish probably spend their days shaking their tiny fins and screaming at us for all the micro plastics and diapers we leave in the ocean, but we never hear them. That’s thanks to the incredible muffling effect of deep bodies of water, which can stifle any wail.
For ease of access, Lake Union provides a convenient collection of pocket parks all along its banks where you can easily get on a dock, drop to your knees, and dunk your whole head in before shrieking away that deep emotional beachball you’re constantly pushing down! (ASHLEY NERBOVIG)
MoPOP’s scream booth: Just follow the wall of screaming faces down the stairs at the Museum of Pop Culture to step into the terrifying world of Scared to Death, the museum's long-running horror exhibit. It’s packed with chilling memorabilia and movie props—Freddy’s finger blades, Michael Myers’s mask and rusty knife, Candyman’s hook, and a life-size Xenomorph from Alien. It’s actually very cool! But through the maze of bloody corpses and past the wall of Walking Dead zombie heads sits the perfect opportunity to scream your fucking face off in the privacy of a soundproof booth. It’s free (with museum admission) to scream as much as you’d like for as long as you’d like. No cops, no nosy neighbors—just shut the door, have a seat, and let out whatever monsters that have been making a snack out of your soul. (MEGAN SELING)
The Seattle Art Museum: If you’ve taken a stroll through SAM at any point since early April, you’ve likely heard blood-curdling screams echoing throughout the galleries. As you make your way passed the startled docents through the museums new “recontextualized” American art collection, you’ll find those screams emanating from a little room featuring big, neon letters that read: “I’VE COMPOSED A NEW AMERICAN NATIONAL ANTHEM / TAKE A KNEE AND SCREAM UNTIL YOU CAN’T BREATHE.” On the floor, a grid of “Daisy Doormats” provide an ironic pad for your knees. About every 10 or 15 minutes, a museum-goer takes the opportunity to perform their own rendition, offering an appropriate soundtrack to a lot of the portraiture.
The score and padding come courtesy of Nicholas Galanin’s Neon American Anthem (white). In the piece, Galanin, a multidisciplinary artist with Tlingit and Unangax̂ ancestry who works out of Alaska, ironically pairs the last words of so many Black victims of police brutality with the sunny products of capitalism and patriotism, offering viewers a chance to scream in defiance of those systems and, for some, prove loud and clear that they’re still here despite the odds this country stacks against them. (RICH SMITH)
In a private karaoke room: If you're not bold enough to scream in public, consider renting a private karaoke room. This way, nobody has to know you have feelings! All you have to do is enter the room, disconnect the microphone, shut off the lights (if you can), and let loose in the embryonic glow of the monitor you won't need. I would suggest scoping out the place first. Do you hear other people singing? If you do, this is not the place. Nothing puts a damper on a good scream sesh than four panicked employees kicking down the door, braced for a murder scene. For a challenge, try stealth scream singing "Mr. Brightside" or whatever at a karaoke bar. If anyone asks what the hell that was, stare at them blankly and pretend it's a normal way to sing. Remember, it's not a lie if you believe it. (VIVIAN McCALL)
In your apartment: I reject the premise that you must find a special, secluded area to scream. This notion, a product of our often instinct-stifling social contract, overestimates the importance of oneself in the lives of others. In other words, no one cares about you, and they won’t care if you scream. I’m sure you’re a lovely person with a strong community surrounding you, but the reality is that no one is rushing to the aid of every screaming person in Seattle.
We regularly hear the shrieks of children that could come from standard play or from violence, and yet no one springs into action for a proper investigation. People in the throes of mental health crises scream all the time, and what do they get? Fallen KOMO reporter Jonathon Choe’s camera in their face!
Given our indifference to sounds of terror, I usually get out my guttural rage by throwing loud fits in my apartment. According to my now-fired therapist, I have “anger issues” and “schizophrenia.” She might have been on to something, given the collection of dented pots and pans in my kitchen.
After I do the deed, I often wonder what my neighbors think. Maybe they assume I’m rehearsing for a play, or having incredibly rough sex, or that I’m watching a horror movie on full volume at 11 am on a Thursday. (That’s my Slog AM day, so I’m more likely to scream on Thursdays.) Once, in a particularly nasty bout of delusion, I screamed at the imaginary perpetrators I saw in shadows in my living room. Even then, no one knocked on my door to check on me.
I would use this trick sparingly to avoid awkward interactions in the hallways or some nark getting sick of your shit and calling the cops. Plus, it is neighborly to keep your noise in check.
Call me a sick, sick freak, but I scream where I sleep, god dammit. (HANNAH KRIEG)