1. If you have stupidly stored an important item in a basement where the light flickers, you just need to forget about it and buy a new one.
2. If the hotel clerk hands you the registration book for you to sign, and the page is dusty and blank, get back in the car.
3. Do not assume that a massive flock of birds flying overhead is simply natural migration.
4. If an apartment neighbor gifts you with a necklace that smells like tannis root, smile politely, escort them to the door, hurl the necklace into the fireplace, and start packing.
5. The last house on either side of the street is not a preferred destination.
6. Large groups of identical, blond-headed children are a warning sign, not a photo op.
7. If Jamie Lee Curtis shows up at a cocktail party, run.
8. If she shows up at the sequel, run faster.
9. Never investigate any noise that sounds like a chainsaw.
10. I don’t care how sexy he is, if his hands are cold, the deal is off. Move on.
11. If the furniture in your daughter’s room is levitating, don’t you think it’s time to get her out of that room? Stop asking people to come in to the room and poke at her, especially if they know Latin.
12. One questionable grisly death at the isolated resort is enough. Why would you sit around the next morning and try to figure things out over coffee? Go!
13. Pizza delivery guys can never be trusted. Have him leave the box on the porch and shove money under the locked door. Especially if you didn’t even order.
14. If the quaint little tourist town or a nearby lake has a really pretty, serene name, you need to change your vacation plans.
15. Do not grab a bucket and head to the ice machine after midnight whilst wearing a skimpy nighty.
16. If the person you are looking for in the abandoned warehouse doesn’t answer the first time you call their name, just assume that things didn’t work out for them and you need to motor. You’ll make new friends.
17. If you repeat any phrase multiple times in front of a mirror, you’re just asking for it.
18. The very first time you sense something odd in the restored Victorian home that you just had to have? That’s the time to leave. Don’t sit around for days in a frumpy sweater, looking sad, wondering if you’ve made the right decision to buy this place. You didn’t. Take the financial hit and start over.
19. If the babysitter you are contemplating hiring is wearing better lipstick than your own, terminate the interview and change the locks.
20. Hoarded food hidden under the bed means the relationship is over.
21. Socially-awkward girls with puritanical mothers should never be underestimated.
22. If you spy a want ad for a winter caretaker at a Colorado hotel, throw the newspaper away before your husband sees it. And get rid of any axes that might be lying around.
23. Never eat almond cookies.
24. Don’t have wanton, promiscuous sex if you want to make it to the second half of the movie. (Cheerleaders usually go first, add that to your notes.)
25. Former child stars have a lot of bitterness.
26. If someone says “try and get some sleep now,” you’re next. Sorry.
27. Always keep a supply of lumber, nails and hammers in your car trunk, because you never know when you might be in a rural area where you suddenly need to reinforce a rickety farmhouse.
28. Pancake makeup is a sign of depravity. Trust.
29. If you can’t get a signal on your phone, you shouldn’t be wherever you are.
30. If you happen upon children’s handprints on cellar walls, you have roughly one second to shake off the demonic spell affecting you or you’re toast. (But if you do manage to get away, make sure you backhand the hipster chick who is hollering “Josh? Josh!!” with annoying repetitiveness. That’s not helping things.)
31. There are a lot of delusional people who live in ancient, fog-bound English manor houses.
32. Best-selling authors need to pay more attention to their fans. Dirty birds.
33. Learn how to run without falling down at a really inappropriate time.
34. Neighbors who bring a house-warming gift of freshly-baked goods are often possessed by spirits from the ancient burial ground under their house. Don’t eat anything until you have reviewed old land records at the Town Hall.
35. There is absolutely no good reason why anyone should go camping. Ever.
36. People who wear striped sweaters should be avoided at all costs.
37. Try to make your neck as unattractive as possible.
38. Don’t ever say something along the lines of “Cemeteries don’t scare me. I find them peaceful.”
39. Don’t open the closet door.
40. Don’t. Go. To. Sleep.