A Suburban Horror Story: The Return of Chuck E.

When most people hear the name Chucky, two things come to mind: a demonic doll who terrorizes mankind and a mouse who pushes pizza and skee ball. Or maybe they are actually one in the same! GASP!

chucky and chuck e cheese
Look away…it’s terrifying

 

Think about it. Have you ever seen them in the same place at the same time? And they have the exact same M.O. They both worm their way into our lives through our kids as if they are harmless byproducts of childhood fun, only to later strangle the life out of us and our well-meaning desire to make our young ones happy.

A disgust for Chucky from the Child’s Play horror movie franchise is normal; but what do I have against Chuck E. Cheese, you say? Many of you already know my seedy background with this over-sized cartoon mascot. But if you don’t, I suggest you first read my post, “Chuck E. Cheese Could Have Been Your Father,” before proceeding. Everything will become crystal clear after that…I promise. Don’t worry. I will wait for you…

…I know, right? What can I say? I’m blessed. Anyhoo…

So here is the next chapter in the ongoing horrific saga of me and Chuck E. He’s stalking me. I am completely convinced of it. I thought I had managed to escape from his clutches oh so many years ago, but I didn’t count on having children…children he would end up using as pawns enabling him to come back into my life and terrorize me.

It is true that since becoming a mother, we have visited Chuck E. Cheese restaurants on numerous occasions, mostly for school fundraiser nights and a few birthday parties. But I honestly thought that Chuck E never noticed me, that the wear and tear of motherhood and almost two decades had rendered me unrecognizable to him. But I should have known he wouldn’t show his cards that early in the game. Silently, and unbeknownst to me, he patiently endeared himself to my two kids with each passing visit. A high-five here. A free extra token there. How were they to know they were playing right into his grubby, freakishly large paws?

And it worked. About a month or so ago, these words oozed from my daughter’s lips: “I want to have my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese this year.”

Despite the many, many, many other options I offered to her, she was staunch in her desire. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, she begged. Fine. I am not a victim. If this is the game you’re playing you sick bastard, I’m in. I’m not scared of you anymore. Me OR my 6 foot 6 enormously giant husband who once ripped a life-sized wrought iron wagon wheel lawn ornament straight from the ground. We will see who is going to be squeaking in their boots.

After trepidatiously making the reservation for the party, I tried to calm my nerves by being rational about the situation. That was a long time ago, Kelly. He has probably changed. Certainly a nationwide franchise wouldn’t risk their reputation or the threat of lawsuits by keeping a sleazebag of a mouse around for so many years. Would they? So I decided to do some research of my own. What I found wasn’t pretty. I should warn you; the following pictures may be disturbing. Please make sure your children aren’t present, and I apologize in advance for scarring for life the child that resides in your heart. But the truth must be known…

Are you really surprised? I mean, the guy has spent over 35 years unfazed by the background noise of arcade games and corny song parodies. This also explains why you feel hungover after leaving the place. I bet he circulates it through the vents.
Are you really surprised? I mean, the guy has spent over 35 years unfazed by the background noise of arcade games and corny song parodies. This also explains why you feel hung over after leaving the place. I bet he circulates it through the vents.

 

chuck e cheese tickets
I swear I’ve heard him whisper “Make it rain” when he throws out those free tickets.

 

See? SEEEEEE??!! I TOLD you he was a creep! I wish I didn’t feel so justified.

 

chuck e cheese hug
From the looks of the fashions in this picture, the harassment has been happening for decades.

 

chuck e cheese and helen henny
The worst part is that it seems his girlfriend Helen Henny has no idea of his evil alter ego.

 

On the day of the party, my guard was up. I secretly took vengeful satisfaction when Chuck E. emerged to greet our party and my daughter’s friends ran up, encircled him, and started poking and prodding his mouse parts. My mouth mumbled a dutiful but half-hearted, “Girls, don’t assault Chuck E.” However, my mind was screaming, “NOT SO FUN TO BE GROPED, IS IT, YOU ANTHROPOMORPHIC CREEP?”

Payback
Payback

 

But Chuck E. knew where to hit back where it hurt: my kids wanted a picture with him. Now he would forever be a part of our sacred family memories on film. I could feel a panic attack begin raging through my body as my finger pressed down on the shutter release.

Wipe that grin off your face, you dirty rodent.
Wipe that grin off your face, you dirty rodent.

 

And he wouldn’t just leave us be after that. He insisted on being part of that special moment, when we sang happy birthday to my daughter and watched her blow out her candle. I felt violated by his blatant photo-bombing.

Look at him, staring right at me. He knows what he is doing. He is trying to see the fear in my eyes.
Look at him, staring right at me. He knows what he is doing. He is trying to see the fear in my eyes.

 

But it was almost over. The party was nearing the end. At one point, my daughter came over to me, looked at Chuck E. and said, “Don’t worry, mom. I’m sure it’s a totally different guy in that costume than the time he creeped you out.” Those were her exact words. My keenly perceptive, incredibly astute daughter said that during her birthday party. Listen to the children, they say. She was right. I finally felt like I could breathe again. I was being silly. Here I was giving the stink eye to someone who was probably not even born when that long ago Chuck E. made a pass at me. I needed to let it go. Besides, it was time for my daughter to take her turn in the ticket blaster machine, and for Chuck E. to make his exit back to the break room.

The sun came out again, and in its glowing rays, Chuck E. Cheese didn’t seem like such a menacing place after all. Everyone was smiling. We had made it. We had survived a birthday party at the place where a kid can be a kid. We made it out alive.

I stood among the group of 8 year olds crowded around the ticket blaster, watching my daughter try to ineptly grab tiny tickets flying around her. At first, I thought some of the air had escaped the machine, until I recognized the familiar stench of Limburger breath linger on the back of my neck for just a moment before it disappeared into a purple door adorned with the sign “Employees Only.”

My son, gluttonous for his own turn in the ticket blaster, turned to me and said, “I want to have my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, too!” 

My nightmare continues…

* Disclaimer: While based on true events, this post is entirely for entertainment purposes only. At no time did anyone employed by or associated with Chuck E. Cheese restaurants harass or behave inappropriately toward me, my family, or our party guests. In fact, I would actually recommend having a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese (did I just say that?????). Despite it not being MY favorite place to go as an adult, it was a very easy and relatively inexpensive experience. In fact, we ended up having to cancel our party at the last-minute due to an incredibly ridiculous and unexpected snowstorm (at the END of MARCH?), and the manager was extremely understanding and did not penalize us at all. Everything, including our bonus tokens for originally scheduling on a Sunday, were transferred to our rescheduled date (which was not a Sunday) with no hassle. Our party attendant was attentive, easy to work with, and she even ended up giving my kids bonus tickets for no reason. It was literally the easiest birthday party I have ever thrown (see my Birthday Party Planning Junkie post to understand what I mean). All in all, happy kid and happy mom. As for the mouse…he was completely harmless.

Photo Sources (in order of appearance): gamingbolt.com/chuckecheese.com; fark.com; outpost81.com; nursethehateblogspot.com; dulutheast86.com; fanpop.com. The last three photos are mine.

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18 Responses

  1. That is some top-notch photo bombing being done by Chuck E there. He is a regular Weegee.

    Chuck E Cheese’s sponsors a lot of the kids shows we watch with the baby on PBS, and on the commercial bumpers there’s this little song they play that goes “I’m a whirling bird! I’m a whirling bird!” One time my husband got so exasperated at it that he was like, “NO. You are NOT a ‘whirling bird’. You are a freaky giant mouse who stuffs kids’ pie holes full of nasty fake pizza and makes them jump in disgusting ball pits.” It was a proud moment for our family.

    • Hear me clapping across the blogosphere! And now that the whirling bird song is in my head, I am automatically cueing up the theme song to “Arthur”

      • Dude! I just found out this week that Ziggy Marley sings the theme song to Arthur! Just another reason that it’s the best show ever.

        • My kids love that show. They watch it every day, which makes me happy because I can be down with that. And let’s be honest, I want to be Marc Brown. Wildly successful children’s book series that becomes an even more popular kid’s show. Yes please. Thank you.

    • *clapclapclap* I like your husband

  2. Full disclosure: I worked at CEC in high school, and I enjoyed it. I even dressed up as Chuck E. frequently. I never harassed anyone, though. Hopefully this doesn’t mean you shun me forever. I may have been a rat on the outside, but there was a person deep down.

    • Don’t lie. It was you wasn’t it! And now I am not even safe on my own blog!

      My followers, my minions…search him out and bring me his Chuck E. head on a stake! And while you’re there, check out his blog. It’s super cool.

  3. I recently wrote a blog post about the horrors of Chuck E as well. He’s a giant RAT. That’s terrifying to me. But my kids LOVE it there.

  4. I assure you it’s a much more horrifying place if you’re the one IN the rat suit. For some reason that seems to be the one situation where everyone sees punching and kicking an innocent stranger hilarious. Tolerance for physical assault is literally a job requirement.

    • Oh, I can only imagine!!! I’m sure that tops the list as one of the worst jobs ever. God Bless the people in the Chuck E. Cheese suits…except for that one creep who hit on me in high school. Because that was just gross :)

  5. Confessions of Chuck E Cheese –

    In the mid eighties when I was 17 years old, I spent a summer as Chuck E. Cheese.

    Being Chuck E. cheese is quite the challenge, especially before some design changes happened to his costume. You see Chuck had this very long pink rubber tail in the olden days. It would drag behind you and kids would step on it or pull it. In order to prevent this from happening you must carry this big long pink rubber thing in your hand, and unfortunately from time to time, it would end up between my legs while I was holding it in my hand.

    You also had to deal with the violent children who thought it’s okay to kick Chuck in the nuts. I once took one step out of my dressing room in full costume only two have a kid literally jump on my back. He started pulling the fiberglass head into my neck.. literally about to cut my neck open. There was no parent there to protect me from this crazy child, so the only thing I could do was spin back into the dressing room with his flailing child on my back. Once I got into the dressing room I pulled off the mask , got in the kids face and told him never to do that again. He freaked out and told me he was going to get his parents, I told him I would appreciate that very much because I would like to tell them what you just did. He never told his parents.

    Yes, I flirted with girls while wearing the Chuck E Cheese outfit. I never uttered a word or groped anybody or anything like that, but I certainly paid extra attention to the girls that were my age. There is something about putting on a costume that made it way easier to go up to a girl you never met and start dancing with her.

    Years later, I was at a party with my wife and her good friend was talking about how she thought Chuck E. Cheese had been flirting with her back in the day, we put two and two together and there was no doubt it was me.

    While there was the flirtatious side of being the rat.. and there was also a emotionally and spiritually rewarding part as well.

    One day I was putting on my costume and my manager told me that a kid was going to be coming in that not been out of the hospital for three years and asked if I could give a little extra attention to him.. as someone who spent little too much time in the hospital as a kid I could completely relate to how horrible it must be to be in the hospital for that long.

    The child was obviously very weak and sick when he got to the pizzeria, not much life in his face. So I took it upon myself to make sure that kid at the time of his life. I spent the next couple of hours focused on making that kid smile and laugh. After a little while being there he was just like one of the other kids, dancing, running and playing with me. I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed two hours of work anymore.

    To top it it off, when I was in my dressing room getting ready to leave after the party when I heard a knock on the door. I opened it and there stood the child’s mother in tears. She told me it was the first time her childhood smiled and over year, and she tried to give me $100 for my extra efforts. I could not take it, she hugged me and walked off.

    I’ve accomplished a lot of cool things in my life, worked on many movies and video games and basically made many of my dreams come true over the years. Yet I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of any of the work I’ve done over the years the pride I felt from putting a smile on that child’s face.

    • Sigh…Please excuse the horrible typos… I hit enter by accident before proof reading :)

      • the edited version 😉

        Confessions of Chuck E Cheese –
        Being Chuck E. cheese was quite the challenge, especially before some design changes happened to his costume. You see Chuck had this very long pink rubber tail in the olden days. It would drag behind you and kids would step on it or pull it. In order to prevent this from happening, you must carry this big long pink rubber thing in your hand, and unfortunately from time to time, it would end up between my legs while I was holding it in my hand. That led to a not so pretty picture.

        You also had to deal with the violent children who thought it’s okay to kick Chuck in the nuts. I once took one step out of my dressing room in full costume only to have a kid literally jump on my back. He started pulling the fiberglass head into my neck.. literally about to cut my neck open. There was no parent there to protect me from this crazy child, so the only thing I could do was spin back into the dressing room with his flailing child on my back. Once I got into the dressing room I pulled off the mask , got in the kids face and told him never to do that again. He freaked out and told me he was going to get his parents, I told him I would appreciate that very much because I would like to tell them what you just did. He never told his parents.

        Yes, I flirted with girls while wearing the Chuck E Cheese outfit. I never uttered a word or groped anybody or anything like that, but I certainly paid extra attention to the girls that were my age. There is something about putting on a costume that made it way easier to go up to a girl you never met and start dancing with her.

        Years later, I was at a party with my wife and her good friend was talking about how she thought Chuck E. Cheese had been flirting with her back in the day, we put two and two together and there was no doubt it was me.

        While there was the flirtatious side of being the rat.. and there was also a emotionally and spiritually rewarding part as well.

        One day I was putting on my costume and my manager told me that a kid was going to be coming in that not been out of the hospital for three years and asked if I could give a little extra attention to him.. as someone who spent little too much time in the hospital as a kid I could completely relate to how horrible it must be to be in the hospital for that long.

        The child was obviously very weak and sick when he got to the pizzeria, not much life in his face. So I took it upon myself to make sure that kid had the time of his life. I spent the next couple of hours focused on making that kid smile and laugh. After a little while being there he was just like one of the other kids, dancing, running and playing with me. I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed two hours of work anymore.

        To top it it off, when I was in my dressing room getting ready to leave after the party–I heard a knock on the door. I opened it and there stood the child’s mother in tears. She told me it was the first time her child had smiled in over a year, and she tried to give me $100 for my extra efforts. I could not take it. She hugged me and walked off.

        I’ve accomplished a lot of cool things in my life, worked on many movies ,video games, and made many of my dreams come true over the years. Yet I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of any of the work I’ve done, then the pride I felt from putting a smile on that child’s face.

        • That is a very sweet story. Nothing can beat making a child happy, especially when he or she is desperately in need of a smile.

          And I bet at times being Chuck E. Cheese was probably a miserable job with the way kids can be! I can only imagine. You guys have to put up with a lot. Hopefully you got my joking tone in this, because I was very grateful for the good, solid birthday party my daughter had there. I really had no complaints. I just couldn’t help myself in poking a bit of fun because of my *ahem* past with Chuck E. It’s a running joke with my family and friends. And it really is pretty creepy for a girl to be hit on by a guy in a mouse suit. :) Thanks for your comment!

  6. […] (The Chuck E. Saga continued a few years later. For the next chapter, click here.) […]

  7. […] So to all those I know, rest easy. If I think you’re a jackleg, I will do the acceptable thing and just complain about you to my husband and mom and maybe a few close friends…who don’t have blogs. I will save my public outrage for earthquakes, toy fads, annoying kid shows, smug contributors to newspaper columns, Fifty Shades of Grey, ruined Target shopping trips, pointless mommy wars, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, irresponsibly bad journalism, and of course, my nemesis, Chuck E. Cheese. […]

  8. […] #6 Suburban Horror Story: The Return of Chuck E. […]

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