Aaron Keller, Principal at Capsule

During this time of year there are plenty of fright “experiences” where you can drag a loved one into a heart thumping confrontation of fear. These experiences are elaborately designed and those who attend know the rules, like “this one doesn’t allow the characters to touch you.” Apparently others do and, of course, the use of touch increases the fear factor another scream decibel.

Even if you’re not comfortable with Freddie running full speed at you in a dark cornfield, these events are good for research. They are designed for a singular purpose and extract significant dollars from your wallet for a negative emotional reaction. The other negative emotion, anger, doesn’t really have a day of the year or a place where you can face or express it. Perhaps there should be a day and a place. So, fear is a great place to learn how an experience can be designed for one emotion.

Here’s an exercise. There are only six basic emotions: fear, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise and joy. Consider how you would design an experience with a singular focus on one of the six emotions. It’s an exceptional creative tool to discover how to touch emotions in ways not considered by anyone else. Then filter through the stereotypical methods to find the gems, the more uncommon methods to include in the experience you happen to be designing.

Back to fear. Many of the scare experiences in this season use the classic stereotypes, because they’re easy. But, then there are moments when you run into something original. The Soap Factory is such a place. While it has unique methods for taking the sound from you fast and without warning, it also uses more of the five senses than most. They pipe in a smell that seems to epitomize fear. With the direct connection our sense of smell has to our brains, it’s no wonder this one will leave you with a few years removed from your life and a smile on your face.

So the question is, what is the smell, or perhaps better said, what smell do you fear?