We’re 3 weeks into Knott’s Scary Farm’s Halloween Haunt and so far I can happily report that this is probably my best job yet.
If you don’t already know, I’m in a good-gone-bad maze called Pinocchio Unstrung. The blue fairy refuses to grant Pinocchio’s wish to become a real boy and in retaliation, he goes on a killing rampage, stretching the skin of his victims over his wooden body. It’s totes-McGoats a gory plot, one that really butchers a childhood classic and gives Disney’s version a wedgie. I was cast as a donkey boy in the maze’s cage scene. And before you get this bogus idea that being a donkey boy is a two-person role (one for the upper torso, another for the bottom torso), it’s not. We have these cute little outfits and we deck a psycho donkey mask on top. We look like mutants… except for the fact that people keep telling me I look cute.
Within a span of just a few weeks, newbies like I were up to speed with how things work during the Haunt season, thanks mostly to orientation and scare school.
As a long-time fan of the Scary Farm, I never realized how much went into being a monsters; even more so how much goes into putting Haunt together. And of course, scare school can only do so much; most of the scares I eventually scored were partly due to experience. I basically spent some Haunt nights experimenting what might work on guests. For example, I learned that guests don’t like being flanked. So if one of the other donkey boys is on the left side of the cage, me or the other donkey boy will try to be on the other side, reaching out to guests. Movements and mannerisms make each character, despite having the same costumes, unique. I adopted this psycho, little boy persona who has basically come to terms with becoming a donkey and is insanely obnoxious. So I run up and down that bitch, being annoying.
When I eventually got used to my surroundings, I utilized almost every space I could. Since I’m fucking short, it was easy for me to weave in and out of crowds, duck around stage lights and suddenly appear. Sometimes, I burst out of one of the curtains and charge at people. Then I’ll waddle around in a doll walk, calling different women, mama. They don’t like that for some reason. I think it’s because they’re scared of responsibility.
Then of course, I bring my mask up real close to these people and start sniffing the shit out of them. But sometimes, that technique backfires because some of these bitches are stank as hell. Nonetheless, guest reactions are priceless. You get people who cry, people who stumble trying to run away, some even pee a little. Hell, on opening night, I scored a scare on an unsuspecting couple that ended up going through a backstage curtain, which led to the beginning of the maze!
Of course, the downsides are the rude guests who will stop at nothing to prove just how off the charts they can rank on the gaping asshole scale. I’ve seen my share of cast mates with bloody noses and bloody mouths. We understand the fight or flight reaction. It’s instantaneous. But if you walk back to the particular talent that scared you two minutes ago just to deliver an upper cut, that speaks volumes about the guest’s behavior. There’s something about Haunt that gives people a sense of violent entitlement. Despite the fact that a lot of guests think I’m a chick, I’ve already been punched and elbowed in the face, groped, kicked in the back, and clawed at. At one point, someone grabbed my balls – but I wasn’t complaining. Additionally, this job is more physical than I thought. I leave work and collapse on my bed with my legs throbbing. No time to put on the face masque to get rid of blackheads. At one point, my left shoulder was feeling a lot of stress. When the pain was beginning to subside, it felt as if someone was tapping on my shoulder whenever I stretched. That’s gone now, thanks to bananas.
All in all, it’s a great year for me. I finally fulfilled my wish to become a Haunt monster. The perks are endless. Other than the guest reactions, we get free soda and great food (for that ass), discount ticket prices (I’m using mines on my family, so don’t ask), and most especially the friendships! I’ve met amazing people from all walks of life with awesome stories. To quote one of my fellow monsters, “Aw! We’re a family!”
On some nights, we like to end our night (or morning I should say) at Denny’s where we discuss the night’s festivities rambunctiously and gawk at some of Denny’s patrons who just came from Knott’s Scary Farm. “I remember them,” some of us would say. “I scared them.”
Here’s to hoping for a rehire!