Is there any cooler job than working in a haunted house at Halloween? You get paid (admittedly not very much) to dress up in scary costumes and freak people out. Just to see the guests reactions alone, it would be worth all the effort.
As we get ready for everyone’s favorite holiday, here are the best stories from haunted house actors from around the world. Trick or treat.
40. Never trust the last room in the haunted house
The coolest room I ever worked in was very innocent-seeming at first. It was the last room in a “fairy tale” themed house. It looked like the inside of a little storybook cottage. Cutesy music was playing, there was a fake window with a meadow painted outside it. On a wall was a chalkboard and pieces of chalk available. The chalkboard was split down the middle by a line, said “Were you scared?” at the top and gave you the option to mark yes or no on one side of the line.
That’s where I came in. The chalkboard was actually a drop panel (essentially a hidden window that loudly slams open to reveal a cast member on the other side). I was painted up like a horrible, gory Snow White. When I’d drop the panel, it also triggered all the lights in the room to go out except for black lights which revealed hidden evil drawings all over the walls and an air cannon would blast people from behind, making them feel like something was touching them.
It was just the best room because people felt safe, they finally let their guard down when they saw this cheerful space, and when they went to put a mark on the chalkboard, often bragging to their friends “that wasn’t scary”, that’s when BANG! Black out, satanic scrawlings everywhere, air cannon smacking their heads and Evil Snow White was cackling in their faces all in the span of 1 second. They always ran out shrieking. Never trust the last room.
39. Just another day as the Grim Reaper
All-volunteer haunted house and one year we have like 10 teen guys show up dressed as the Grim Reaper. OK, well, hm… the organizers decide to put them all together in a corridor and make people walk a gauntlet through menacing scythes.
This one young woman is really freaked out as she edges through the rooms; senses on high alert, visibly shaking. As a living mannequin, I decide to just say a quiet “good eeevening” which sends her scrambling away from me into the Reapers’ corridor. They all converge eagerly, scythes flashing…
And she shrieks and drops like her strings got cut. She’s passed out cold.
All the Grim Reapers are standing over her uncertainly, shocked. Then from one skull comes a wavering, really worried: “Oh, crap. We knocked her out.”
38. The haunted dollhouse
Worked at a haunted house when I was younger as a youth job. It was a lot of fun. I had to sit in this narrow hallway in a doll costume and sit perfectly still, then when people passed me I would suddenly move, making it look like I was trying to grab them, and do my best creepy voice saying stuff like “come play with me” or “stay with me, FOREVER”. I got some great reactions, though some stand out more in my memory.
The dude that tried to scootch by the opposed wall while muttering “nope, nope, noPE, NOPE” and when I reached for him, he did this weird jump thing, the kind you see cats doing in videos.
Then there was this group of dude bro looking guys that were one hundred percent sure I was a human sized doll, spending the whole walk down the hallway saying stuff like “that isn’t that scary, it doesnt even look very life-like.” Weren’t they surprised!
37. “I pinched it back”
Had a dude once come through, jumped a bloody mile in the air when I scared him. He just stopped with this far off look and said… “I just pooped myself.” I stayed in character until the smell hit me. I broke and asked if he wanted an escort. Dude seemed to snap out of it and said, “Nah, I pinched the rest back” and off he marched.
36. Don’t be a Tommy texter
Maybe 5-6 years ago I worked at an amusement park that converts much of the park into multiple haunted houses around Halloween. I worked in the area that was a haunted butcher shop, I was in a room that was supposed to be where everything got gutted and the wall had this thick fake gore with a person shaped outline. I wore a suit that had the same stuff on the front. In the dark light I was practically invisible.
One girl was on her phone and totally not paying attention, but her friends saw right through my camouflage and motioned for me to hop in line behind their friend. I followed them for a little ways and finally this chick looks up from her phone and starts to turn to talk to her friend, not realizing that I was mere inches behind her. She turns and I was close enough that I can see her pupils as they widen. She jumped probably a foot in the air and sprinted through the rest of the maze. Her friends couldn’t stop laughing on the way out.
35. The domino effect
I was a talking head on a table. A group of five people led by a girl comes into my room and when the get close to me I say “hello” fairly nonchalantly. The girl in front screams and falls backwards with a domino effect taking everyone else in her group with her.
34. You’re gonna eat my what now?
My favorite story from working at a Halloween haunted house.
Standard jump scare scene, a guy with a demon or whatever mask pops out, spooks the tour, then disappears back behind the wall…but I guess the guy got a little overzealous?
Demon pops out: “I’m gunna eat your butt!”
Tour member: “You’re gunna eat my what?”
Demon: Recedes into shadow and myth, leaving more questions than answers
Tour member: “That’s fine, this is fine.”
33. Don’t turn the lantern off
I got to work in the special VIP attraction last year at my local place. It’s basically a really dark trail in the woods, but the actors are allowed to touch guests. Grabbing and pulling people off into the woods and whatnot. Hiding kind of sucks, I had to lay in the mud and grab at people’s ankles and then chase after them, but the funniest thing is the world is the lanterns. We give them little electronic hand-lanterns as their only light source, and two guys have remotes that can turn them on and off.
Every time, without fail, the guy’s girlfriend is yelling at him to stop turning the lantern off. It’s even better if you have a really dark costume because then you can walk up behind them, lay a hand on their shoulder and say, “Yeah jerk, don’t turn the lantern off!”
32. How do they know my name?!
I volunteered at a haunted house for a few years in high school. The best thing that happened was that I saw a girl from grade school going through the room. She obviously couldn’t recognize me so as she passed I whispered her name. She got a huge fright and the next day she asked on Facebook who was working in the haunted house. I never told her who it was. Sorry Jenna.
31. You actually got her too good
I did volunteer once at a haunted house. I had chainsaw but with a rubber/fake chain. I jumped up at one girl who was by herself but I got no response so I thought, “Oh, crap I didn’t get her.” I look away for a few seconds to see if someone else was coming and she was on the floor and pooped herself.
30. Mirror, mirror on the wall
I volunteer as a wall of spooky living mirrors in a little family-friendly haunted house for a couple of nights every Halloween season. Basically, I poke my hands and a plastic skull through panels of stretchy silver fabric while kids are walking by. The best are the kids who are brave enough to announce that they know it’s not real, it’s just someone behind the wall, and to try to grab me through the fabric…but not fast enough to get their hands away before I grab back. Turns out that even if you’re feeling brave, you still screech when a mirror grabs your fingers and tugs.
29. This little zombie looks harmless
Not a haunted house, but a zombie run. I was the last zombie before you could escape.
I’m 4ft 11. I look pretty weak and I wear glasses (which I had fixed with tape as part of my costume – I was supposed to have been a medic before I became a zombie). Despite how I look, I have a very loud voice, and I’m a good runner.
My job was to mill about near the end of the course, and catch (and tag as infected) anyone I felt like. I used to approach or look distracted as people crept towards me – not all zombies attacked, so people weren’t sure how to deal with me (plus there were some who had acquired ‘zombie repellent’ and were quite confident – spoiler: zombie repellent doesn’t work). I’d wait until they had just passed me before sprinting after them.
I caught quite a few, but the best reactions were a fully grown man who cried actual tears and asked for his mum, and a girl who peed herself then threw her water bottle at me.
It was a lot of fun, and quite a good core workout. My abs were in agony for days after.
28. How many people can you make pee?
I worked at a haunted house that used to be a house that many believed was actually haunted. I worked in a room that was a pitch black winding corridor with many secret doors so I could get 4 scares on a group by myself.
At the end we have moving floors (plywood with balls under them) that are very loud when you step on them and shift slightly, making most people look down even though it’s pitch black.
My favorite scare would be to sit at the end of the hallway, wait to hear them touch the first moving floor (audio queues were important), then click on my flashlight, point it up at my face (I wore a 3 headed clown mask) and just charge at them. So you now you have a creepy looking clown guy charging at you, the moving floor is making the footsteps into really loud bangs, and you can’t go anywhere since your hands are on the walls guiding you through the darkness and your group is behind you blocking your escape.
The dread you see on the faces of some of these tough guy group leaders is hilarious. I get as close as I can, shut the light off, and just silently walk backwards and disappear through another door.
The number of people who peed themselves on that scare was astounding. I had only even made two people pee before I thought of doing that. Then I got my number to 7 in the last couple weeks of the season.
27. This guy is the best advertising you could ask for
I did a bit of time as a scarer when I was 15 and a decade later it’s still my favourite job I’ve had despite it being a fully costumed 6+ hours in near darkness with no break.
A good 20% of the time I had guys fully convinced I was animatronic and the moments where I moved suddenly just when they were saying I wasn’t scary enough… god that was good feeling.
In particular I remember a guy who was poking stuff and laughing whilst his girlfriend was kind of scared in general trying to poke through a cage I was in. I reacted like a robot for long enough that he got bored and just as he went to go I grabbed his fingers and pressed a foot pedal for some sounds.
This 6 foot plus guy ran out back towards the entrance and my manager came back in to have a laugh. We actually shut down for 20 minutes or so because the guy’s raving in the lobby caused so much fuss, some thought he was a paid actor, and the line doubled up.
26. Freddy went too far
Back in 2006 or 2007 I was working at a haunted house playing Freddy Krueger in one of the first rooms in the haunt. We had radios in all the rooms we would use to call out when we had a guest that yelled more than normal.
Now I had the room set up so that the Elm Street sign was maybe 3 feet away from the door, and an old boiler I could hide behind and pop out of combined with an actual metal (but dulled) prop glove. This lady and her kids walk in and I popped out but I hit the glove on the boiler at just the right angle so some sparks popped from the metal on metal contact. The lady freaked out, fainted and hit her head in the pole holding the street sign.
The lights in the building had to be cut on, ambulance called, the whole nine yards. She wasn’t seriously hurt and somehow didn’t sue the ever loving crap out of us. They did take away my metal glove and replaced it with a plastic one that broke within 10 minutes of doing my bit though. Absolute craziest thing that ever happened to me while I was there.
25. The funniest scare
This wasn’t my best scare, but it was the funniest scare. I worked as a clown street performer at well-known amusement park. Part of my costume was a clown jacket, but I didn’t have a shirt underneath it, so I had a makeup wound all over my bare chest.
One evening, I walked up to a couple who was minding their own business. I was holding my jacket closed so that they couldn’t see my chest. I asked them what their favorite superhero was. I think they both agreed on Batman. At that moment, I screamed “Mine’s THE FLASH!” as I pulled open my jacket and exposed my chest makeup right up in their faces.
It’s incredibly difficult trying to scare someone if you’re already in plain sight, but I managed to pull it off this time. It also gave them a good laugh.
24. My mom is death itself
I volunteered one season to help my friend with their new haunted house. My teens knew I worked there but crew was sworn to secrecy about our roles.
I had the role of creepy one who follows you. I looked and stood like a grim reaper mannequin. I saw my daughter and half her hockey team go by me. I silently stalked after the last one.
When noticed, the girls went screaming and running away into a corner and piled up together in a heap on the floor.
Then one looked up at me and said, “Kristen! I think that’s your mom.” The screaming stopped, they all looked up and quietly got up and walked away like it never even happened.
23. Scarer of the year
My costume was vaguely like the girl from The Ring, a year or two after the movie came out. Pink little girl’s dress, long black wig over my face. I was pretty tiny back then and quite flexible, so I could contort myself in pretty creepy ways. Add a strobe light and you’ve got some terrifying movements.
Without fail, it was always the huge football players in letter jackets who would absolutely lose their minds in my room — screaming, trying to climb the walls to get away, breaking and running, the whole works. Usually their girlfriends would be standing by calmly.
One guy’s reaction was especially delicious. Once he saw me in the corner, contorted but slowly uncurling to drag myself across the floor, he screamed “Oh no!” and ran through the nearest wall. Just took it right out (made of plywood, plaster, and some dry wall). Someone else ended up having to take him to first aid because because even once I was out of character he still couldn’t stand to be near me.
I won an award that year for Best Scarer.
22. Assuming things are animatronic is never a good idea
Not exactly an actor, but I was the guy who opened the door when a group went from one room to another. I wore this black cloak that had a hood that almost entirely covered my face (was thin enough I could see through it).
These two kids (13-15 years old) came around the corner as I was moving my head back and forth looking at people and one of them said, “Dude, these animatronics suck.” I took a single step forward and he screamed in a really high pitch and jumped so far that he hit wall. His friend stopped moving for a solid minute to laugh at him.
Also the amount of appreciative looks I got from guys whose girlfriends got scared and clung to their arm was far higher than I expected. Except for the one guy who was making comments about how this place wasn’t THAT scary and he would protect her, only to scream like a girl as soon as he turned the corner. His look wasn’t so appreciative…
21. Never lose that child-like wonder
I was working at Halloween horror nights. It was around 2am and the houses were starting to shut down, and only a few stragglers were going through the house.
Then the final guy goes through. it was some Japanese businessman in a full suit and carrying a briefcase. His clothes and hair were rumpled like he had just gotten off some red-eye flight.
He was just ambling through and had such a look of child-like wonder and joy on his face as he took everything in.
20. Why won’t you play with me, Tiffany?
I work at a haunt in Pennsylvania that is part of a multi-attraction location (there’s a haunted house, hayride, and corn maze). I work the house and we are generally the crowd favorite.
Last year, my job was to sit in a shed where the exterior had been modified to look like a small mausoleum in the graveyard portion of the haunt. Thanks to a relatively simple system I knew the names of at least three people in each group that would come through. Into a mic connected to wrap around speakers (the sound followed the guests) I’d sing, “Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posies…” and then pick a name and ask, “Why won’t you play with me, (name)?” People would lose their minds; part of the “lore” for the house was that a young girl had passed away on the grounds and she was buried in the graveyard.
Well, one night mid-season, I did this to a poor, unsuspecting soul named Tiffany. And Tiffany’s reaction was to scream, at the top of her lungs, “Y’ALL NEED JESUS!”
Without question my best story of the entire season.
19. Don’t try to hook up with the scarers
I worked the last couple years volunteering at a haunted barn. Last year I was a nurse in charge of the asylum room. I wore scrubs and had my hair in weird pigtails. Lots of white makeup with dark circles under my eyes. I stood right where people walked in and I just stood still, no blinking, no head turning. I’d just follow them with my eyes. Many people thought I was one of the animatronics. While people were focused on me trying to figure out if I was real or not, another guy would jump out of the coffin in a straight jacket and scare the crap out of people.
One night he scared a girl so bad she fell in the coffin with him and had her crotch in his face. He couldn’t get her out because he was in a straight jacket so I had to go help lift her out, but I was laughing so hard it took longer than it should have.
One of the other nights a group of guys came through. One assumed I was an animatronic and he grabbed me. I just asked him if he was into dead people. He felt so bad when he figured out I was real. It scared the crap out of him though.
18. There’s no crying in hockey
My spot was very simple. As the groups turned a corner, I would reach out of a trap door near the ceiling, wearing a creepy alien hand, and poke them in the head or something. I’d always wait until the first person in the group passed, because the scaredy cats always hid behind the brave one.
One group came in, three good sized dudes. Dude 2 was clinging to the back of Dude 1. I reached down and pulled off his beanie.
He freaked out and started sobbing, total meltdown. I came out of my spot to show him hey, dude, I’m a high schooler with a glove on, here’s your hat, lemme direct you to the exit.
Turns out I made the goalie for the local minor league hockey team cry. Oops.
17. Haunting your own family
When I was maybe 16 I worked a couple of nights to get some volunteer hours. My room was mostly dark with glow in the dark masks from the movie Scream painted all over the walls. I wore all black and the same mask. They’d walk by, you’d scream, they’d scream (ice cream?) and then everyone would move along.
About halfway through the first night my cousin who is the same age came through with her friend. Instead of the usual scream I slowly moved up next to her and whispered her name in her ear. She screamed and hit the ground. They had to carry her out, she refused to move. I still giggle a bit when I think about it.
16. High-heeled haunting
So I worked as a scare actor at a haunt on an old aircraft carrier from WWII for a couple of years. There were two parts to the haunt. One below deck in what was called ‘sick bay’ which was mainly the ship itself being old and creepy. Up top was the more traditional halloween haunt maze with themed rooms and chainsaw guys.
Normally I worked in sick bay, but that night I was put in the maze. I was in the bathroom themed room and was the victim of the deranged plumber actor. So I’m sprawled out on the floor and when people walk by, I lunge and groan and beg for help. It worked pretty well.
Then this one woman came in wearing high heels. I don’t know who wears high heels to a haunted house on an aircraft carrier but hey, you do you. Anyways she doesn’t see me on the ground and manages to step on my arm with her heels. I know we had strict rules about not touching the patrons, but due to the pain/surprise, I wasn’t thinking, and I grabbed her ankle in hopes to get her off me. This lady screamed and bolted for the emergency exit hallway that would take her out of the haunt, leaving her friend behind and dumbfounded.
I felt terrible at the time that she missed out on the rest of the haunt but now I laugh about it because I really scared her.
15. Zombie Jesus
I worked at Universal Studios Orlando for halloween horror nights and was a zombie in the streets near Mummy’s Revenge. My favorite story was towards the end of the season when we more or less stopped caring.
We had this lady being pushed in a wheelchair though our zone. One of my coworkers zombied up to the person pushing the wheelchair and gave them a look to say “give me the wheelchair and don’t tell the person.” So my coworker began pushing the wheelchair without the lady noticing. He pushes her probably 50 feet and she turns to say something to her friend who she believes is pushing the chair. When she instead sees a zombie, she screams and runs out of the chair and out of our zone.
My coworker breaks character laughing, throws their arms up and says, “I am Jesus!”
14. When the guests fight back
My friend and I were working at Phobia, here in Houston. He was trying out a new thing where he crawled around crab walking. The room was at the end of a dark hallway and has sheets draping down so most people aren’t focused on the ground as much as getting the sheets out of there face. We turned the strobe on slow so there was long gaps of darkness followed by burst of blinding light.
In walks this large woman in her Sunday best. I was in the room before his and got a good scare out of her. I lingered around and pushed them towards my buddy. She slowed down and walked down the hall, eyes of course on the sheets. He comes out, and it looked so sick. I’ve worked there for 7 years and it was one of the coolest acts I’ve seen.
In one swift motion, this lady grabs a HUGE flashlight out of her purse and starts molly whopping my friend upside his head yelling, “Demon!! Lord save me!” Needless to say, she was escorted out in handcuffs. Dude has knots like softballs. He said it added to his costume.
13. She decided to beat the actor with a shovel
I got beat with a shovel… and I thought it was hilarious.
The shovel was a prop in a scene last year. It seems to be a theme here. The scene was a creepy campsite. Bloody clothes on a line, we had a real fire (since we were outdoors)…and I was the maniac with a chainsaw.
Anyway, my character came out and scared the crap out of a group of people. One of the two girls bolted to what was essentially a dead end, so of course I targeted her for more by slowly plodding towards her.
I was walking towards her and I ended up getting caught up in the clothes hanging on the line. Wasn’t intentional…but I couldn’t see her for a second or two.
I didn’t flinch, stayed in character…I just kept my slow plod towards her, knowing I’d come out of the sheet momentarily.
And the second I did — “CLANG!” She had grabbed the shovel and decided she was Babe Ruth.
I got hit upside the face with the shovel. Thankfully it was a small, lightweight, aluminum snow shovel…and the girl swinging it wasn’t very strong either. It didn’t hurt at all.
I legitimately started laughing, which made it worse (for her).
12. Wigging out
I worked in a haunt that was an old prison. I was dressed as a clown and I was hidden in the last jail cell next to the back door. I quickly learned that, as a clown, all I needed to do to get a great reaction was show myself.
I stepped out in front of these two middle aged women. One of them screamed and leapt backwards off her feet, and slammed onto the ground so hard her wig flew off. I didn’t even have time to wonder if I should break character, because she grabbed her wig and ran out the door in a blink of an eye with her friend chasing after her.
11. Zombies are great improvisers
I had been working at a volunteer Red Cross haunted forest thing. I was in the section where we dressed up like zombies and lurched out of the forest at people. We did this for two weeks, but, on Halloween night, I went to a party before we opened the haunted forest. Unfortunately, I had left my zombie costume at home and I was dressed up as Ratchet from Ratchet and Clank.
Well, we decided to roll with it anyway and we got a ton of laughs. Zombie Ratchet was a huge hit.
10. Out of the creepy clowns into the evil fingers
I was a scare actor for a local maze back in high school. People would go in in groups, and I was right near the beginning. I was dressed in all black and had long “fingers” with claws and a burlap sack mask over my head. Right before me, however, were a group of scary clowns. My job was to crawl out of a ditch onto the path right after the clown scene.
This one girl comes in with her group of friends and is immediately freaking out at the clowns. Refused to go through. After much coaxing, she finally decided to do the rest of the maze. Well, during her freaking out I had crawled out from my ditch and ended up in the middle of the path right in front of her.
After they finally convince her to go through, she looks up and makes eye contact with me. With my long claw hand, I slowly make the “come here” motion. She immediately screams and storms out. Didn’t see her again for the rest of the night.
9. Getting paid to laugh yourself to death
I was an actor at The Haunted Hotel (located in the basement of this huge building downtown San Diego) and one season, we had half a car attached to a track that could be pushed quickly forward, complete with a real working horn and headlights. So when people walked through the pitch darkness, a staff member would shove the car into motion, blare the horn and the headlights simultaneously, blinding the guests and making them crap themselves.
I have never laughed this hard in my entire life at anything. People’s reactions where absolutely horrified on a debilitating level, their faces were indescribable, I’m talking ‘preparing for death’ faces. People would fall over backwards, men would push their dates in front of them… I couldn’t breathe and my abs constantly hurt from barreling over laughing every night. Most incredible job I’ve ever had.
8. Some people have no survival instincts
I was a psycho clown that chased people out of the exit of the haunt and I’d say the funniest thing is when people lose their minds and just fall all over each other. Also some people have literally zero survival instinct and when I jump out and chase them they don’t run they just immediately cower into a corner. I would yell “well isn’t this awkward” to make them laugh and usher them out. Girls throw more punches than guys do too.
7. You know the drill
My friend and I worked in a room as crazed mechanics who were operating power tools on a body. We used air compressed drills and acted out drilling into her.
Now, like most places there’s a no touching rule. However, the attachment bit to these drills are just cylinders so we could run them along surfaces to make metal grinding noises/scare people. The wooden floor would vibrate violently if the drills were used on them.
Well, we had a group of teenage girls come in that were so scared of these drills that they ran into the corner of our room, climbed a shelf and stayed up there in pure panic. We couldn’t get them down for about ten minutes and had to act out the scene a few more times because other groups were sent in.
6. So you want us to prove we’re scary?
I worked a charity fundraiser haunted house about 15 years ago. I was a “leader” which meant that I was supposed to walk the group through and position them for maximum effect.
One girl got so scared that she sprinted for the exit and ran smack into a wood column and knocked herself out cold. I took the rest of the group outside and hit the light switch which turned on all the interior lights, then go back and find her. Per our policy we had to call an ambulance, but when it arrived she was already conscious and she refused to be checked out.
We had one group of neighborhood kids who would hang out near the haunted house but would never pay to go in, and would tell anyone walking up that our house sucked and that it wasn’t scary. We had two chainsaw characters, so we sent one around the block. The first uy started chasing them down the street, then the second one came up the back street towards them. Yeah, they were scared.
Last one was the arrogant bro who went in with his girlfriend. She was scared but he was just trying to act macho, saying “Aww, that ain’t scary.” At the end his guide quietly mentioned that he was supposed to act scared too so the girl would get close to him. He then spent the next 10 minutes trying to convince the girl to go again. He did not succeed.
5. Amazing maize maze
I worked at a Maize Maze during a summer at University and at Halloween they changed it into being a Halloween themed place. It was really good and they had several attractions so, being a poor student, I signed up for some extra money over Halloween. It was awesome.
The main attraction was a walk through the cornfield where stuff would jump out at you. A tractor would drop you off at the start of a path and you’d make you own way through.
They made me up to look like some kind of reaper with a cloak. As people came down this first path I’d emerge for the corn and scare some of them then.
However the tractor dropped off fifty people at a time so I was positioned a little way along the path to hold people in a queue, split people up and stagger them as they go through for maximum effect. On busy nights people would be standing around for a while so I’d have to entertain people a bit. Each group I’d do something different.
For one group I pretended to be mute and just made rasping sounds, which would freak a few people out. This time the line was quite long and so I had to prowl up and down to stop people getting bored.
Towards the back I noticed a bit of a commotion and realized that a guy had gone into the field and was pulling off some of the cobs. As he got back in line he hadn’t noticed me so I got behind him and bellowed ‘GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY CORN!!!!!!’ in a crazy voice I conjured up from somewhere.
He screamed, jumped two feet in the air and threw the cob he was holding over his shoulder and hit his friend in the face.
I had to try so hard not to break character and laugh in his face.
4. I would hate to be in a real emergency situation with that guy
One of the rooms in our guided haunted house was full of vampires feeding. The head vampire would yell, “Are you still hungry? Then feed!” The vampires would rush the crowd and drag out someone we planted in each group while the guide freaked out and rushed the rest of the crowd out of the room.
When I was the plant I chatted with people waiting in line to give it more impact when I was dragged away. One guy and I hit it off talking about horror movies, and why isn’t there a movie about a haunted house where the attendees are really getting killed off. We made a pact right then that if something crazy happened in this haunted house we would have each other’s backs. Bro, we are so pumped and ready for this haunted house, bro!
We get to the vampire room. The vampires rush forward, grab me, and start to drag me away. I am on the ground kicking and selling this moment with all my heart, and I’m looking straight at my bro the whole time begging him to help me. This poor, poor guy freezes in panic. He is staring at me with horror and guilt warring on his face as he is forcibly pushed out of the room by the fleeing crowd.
I probably should have let him go on with his life always wondering if what just happened was real. Instead I went outside and caught him on the way to the parking lot. He was pale and shaking and staring off into the middle distance while his concerned friends pulled him along. He saw me and nearly collapsed in relief. Then he started apologizing profusely for panicking and not trying to save me. We had a good laugh, but he was clearly shaken by the ordeal. It was an awesome and humbling experience.
3. Take the trail less traveled by
I have worked as an actor and builder in a haunted house put on by an elementary school. The big gimmick of this haunted house is that we have a gentle trail for the smaller/more delicate children, featuring fairy tale characters and similar stuff. Then we have the regular trail, which delightfully pushes the limit of what should really be appropriate for an elementary school haunted house.
Every year, especially the first year we did it, we get people who are confident that they don’t need to take their kids down the baby trail and that they can handle the scary trail. Literally the first child down the trail I sent running back in tears. This has happened on a number of occasions.
Also one time I scared the crap out of a 6’6″ 300 pound army fellow dressed in his BDU, walking through with his kids.
Parents, don’t send your kids down the scary trail if they can’t handle it.
2. If you don’t want my help, you get my wrath
I worked for a rather popular haunted house/hayride/corn field. It’s made the Travel Channel shows a few times.
So my now-husband and I were supposed to be dead cowfolk in a wild west scene. The way it was set up is the people walk in through a big opening in the front, there are two “buildings” on either side where two actors should set off the scene. After that, the people walk around a stable-like fenced off enclosure which put them in this narrow-ish corridor where I and my husband were. I was on a barrel, he was lying under the fence.
From there, the area would open up just a little with a blacksmith (the dude was actually a blacksmith, he’d spend the night making cool stuff and we’d warm up by the fire while we waited for groups). There was an emergency exit that was part of the scenery, the firing thing and then the entrance to the “Mine shaft”. The entire walk through was maybe 40ft. Oh, and it was always really dark. Our main source of light was the fire from the blacksmith and nearby hayride. Other than that, we had a few very dimly lit light bulbs.
So one night, we were doing our thing, scaring people and what not, when this kid comes BOOKING it through the scene. He’s all alone and just terrified. I mentioned the emergency exit because if someone ever said “I can’t do this, I want out” we’d have to break character (the only time we were allowed to) and escort them out. So this kid is hauling, but he gave us about a second to try to scare him as he flashed past us. Well, the ground was uneven and I think a little damp and he slipped and fell and slid to a stop against a barrel right by the exit door.
My husband and I are like oh no. We walk over to him and he’s lying on the ground, panting hard, staring up at us with sheer terror in his eyes. I’m like, “For real, dude, not playing. Are you ok?” And he quickly nods, eyes still bugging out and looking between us.
I’m like, “You sure? Do you need to leave?” He takes a second, looks at us again and shakes his head. I look at my husband and then back at this kid and yell “THEN GET UP AND GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OOOOOOOOUTTT!!!” That kid jumped up like he had rockets strapped to his back and hauled into the mine shaft, leaving me and my husband rolling.
1. Tales of a veteran scarer
I’ve been scaring off and on for years, so there are a lot of stories I could tell.
– I worked as a generic scarer where my creepy makeup was having one of my eyes missing. So I had mountains of goo on my face every night. A guy got freaked out and basically face-palmed me right in my fake non-eye. He then looked down at his hand covered in sticky fake blood gagged, and said “Oh God.” Ran out of the exit.
– I was a scary clown at a different haunt. Had a very loud horn rigged to a power drill. Think of a cartoon “Ah-oogah” type thing. A few rooms back, we had a first-night volunteer who was kind of a jerk to do this because you’re interfering with the enjoyment of other people going through the house since you’re not in your place/are rushing them through where they’re going to run into others
He has a person in this group freaked out and decides to chase them out of the rest of the house. They come into my room. I go to hop out with my horn, essentially trapping them between a scary clown and a maniac. It all happened in a split second, and the end result was that I got full-on decked right in the ear. Fight or flight is no joke. They felt really bad about it and apologized a ton. Most people who hit you do.
– Same scary clown. Less of a fear reaction, more of a wtf. My makeup was gross and I wore tooth stain, so my teeth looked rotten and disgusting. All this to say that there was nothing attractive about me in my makeup. Guy comes through acting macho with his girlfriend. He looks at me, makes an “mm” face, and says something along the lines of, “Oh baby, you are so hot.”
Number one rule in haunting: if you can’t scare them, entertain them. So I fell right out of creepy mode and blew him a flirty kiss complete with a rotten-teeth smile. Girlfriend immediately freaks out on me. Starts calling me names and telling me to leave her boyfriend alone or she’d kick my butt. I reiterate that I’m covered in bad makeup, and essentially have faux rotten teeth. I’m not exactly sure where the threat was there, but I was glad to be behind the clown cage bars for that one.
– Simple one. Regular old jump scare. Lady screams, makes an oh no face, then quietly says, “I just… peed on myself.”