#OutrageousOctober: Acting in a Haunted House

25 Oct

I don’t do scary things. I’ve never been to a haunted house. I’ve watched one scary movie in my life and had my back turned to the screen 95% of the movie. When I would go trick or treating as a kid and a house had a haunted house you had to go through to get the candy, I’d make my sister and all my friends go in front of me so they’d get scared first. I’ve just never understood why people choose to get scared. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Halloween. I like the when the weather cools down (if it cools down), the costumes, the candy, the cheesy Halloween movies, and the start of the holiday season. I just don’t like the scary part of it. That being said, I’m also not an actor. The extent of my acting career was a few elementary school class plays, so when I had the opportunity to act in a haunted house as a fundraiser, I figured it was perfect for my Outrageous October.

Because I’ve never been to or acted in a haunted house, I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at Slaughterhouse, one of Tucson’s most popular haunted houses. I showed up at 4:30 wearing the assigned uniform of a black t-shirt and jeans. When my full volunteer group was present, an employee of the haunted house came to get us and have us sign in. From there, we went to a window and got our character assignment for the night. I was assigned to be a clown. I’m not really scared of clowns, but with the new movie It, I figured it was a pretty good place to be in if I wanted to be able to scare people. Once we had our character assignments, we went to an actors’ tent and sat and waited to be called back to get our costumes, hair, and makeup. We aren’t allowed to show pictures of hair and makeup until after the end of the haunted house season, but just take my word for it when I say it was pretty much everything you’d expect clown makeup to be. After a brief actors’ meeting, we were put in position for people to start coming through the haunted house.

Pretty much what I was doing in the haunted house was standing in a hallway and jump scaring groups of people as they walked by. Scaring people was admittedly fun. Because of the lighting and other effects, often times people couldn’t tell if I was a real or a fake clown, so they were extra scared when I jumped out at them screaming. I made a lot of people jump, scream, and I even made one guy fall on the floor which was pretty funny (don’t worry he wasn’t hurt). It was especially funny when I’d really scare a person and the other members of their group would voice how they were impressed. While there were obviously a few people who didn’t get scared which was a little awkward when you’re right in their face, I was able to scare most groups. However, my feet, knees and back HURT. I have a bad back and knees anyway, so standing straight against a wall for four hours was pretty brutal. On top of that, I was sweaty, I was hungry, and my throat hurt from screaming. It was a long four hours for sure.

Overall though, I’d say I had a pretty positive experience and definitely stepped outside of my comfort zone. It was fun getting to play a totally different character and scare people. It was also really cool to get a behind the scenes look at what goes on at a haunted house. It’s easier to not be afraid when you realize that it’s just actors in costumes playing a carefully crafted part. It was more difficult than I expected in terms of the physicality of the job, but I know it was for a good cause in fundraising for one of my clubs. I don’t know if I’ll be on the other side of a haunted house any time soon (I’m still a pretty big chicken) but it was fun to try something completely new to me and do something a little “outrageous” to celebrate the season.


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