Halloween season promises a ton of frights. Thousands of people flock to haunted houses, mazes, and amusement parks to get scared silly by a bunch of actors in monstrous prosthetics. If you frequent Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights or other big scare hot spots, you probably wonder what it's like to work as a haunted house actor.
Scare acting is a grueling but rewarding test of a performer's improvisational skills and physical fitness. They work every night of the week, audition months ahead of time (even after being employed for years), and wear cumbersome costumes - regardless of the weather. There's also a chance nervous guests will punch, puke on, or urinate on the workers.
Is any job worth all that effort? It certainly seems like it; scare actors love what they do, and they have loads of funny stories from haunted houses to share at boring dinner parties.
From an actor's account in USA Today:
I decide to become a murderous “flirty demon,” a name I will continue to call myself days after this job. I approach men who are walking arm-in-arm with their dates, and hold intense eye contact. Then, I strut alongside them, tousle my hair and put my hand on my hip. Finally, out of nowhere, I threaten their girlfriends with a hatchet.
Once I master that, I widen my scare demo: I stalk stare... Some flirt back. Others scream. A few say, “Hey girl!” Plenty laugh.
From Redditor /u/NeverEnoughMuppets:
We had a guy who would chase after you with a chainsaw (chain removed) after you left the house. You know, just run after you a few steps when you came out the door.
Well, one time these two girls came out and I swear to God, one of the girls just had like an extreme panic response and I guess her body chose fight over flight. She literally chased the guy down while he was yelling, "I'm just kidding! It's just a joke!" and she kicked him in the balls so hard he vomited.
She apologized and said she just freaked out.
From Redditor /u/FatalB:
We had a haunted outdoor maze section. I would chase people dressed as a hillbilly werewolf with a real chainsaw ([replaced] the bar and chain with a fake one). The smell of real chainsaw exhaust would hang in the air and only added to the effectiveness of the scare. I liked to hide near the exit in hidden walls. I would start the chainsaw only five feet away from my prey.
One night I was scaring a particular group of teenagers particularly well. The girls where borderline in tears and the guys where trying to push them in front but would run away full speed anytime I started the saw. They only finally made it to the exit when a group lead by a 10 year old passed them and the youngest [made fun of them].
The kid barely flinched when I ran at him with the saw, and when I got close he just stopped and looked at me and said, "If you're a werewolf then why would you need a chainsaw?" Proceeds right past me out the exit.
From an actor's account in Los Angeles Magazine:
Some guests are runners. Some will cower in the corner. That’s the worst thing you can do; that means we’re all going to surround you until you get on the floor and curl up in a ball. Then all six of us would hold hands and dance around them until we saw a puddle on the floor. We’d get a high-five from the supervisor if somebody pissed their pants.