Of course, I’m talking about Halloween and my favorite way to make money …haunting. Haunting isn’t just a part-time job. It’s a vocation. You dedicate your autumn to chainsaws and screams instead of pumpkin patches and cider. It’s not an easy job either. Haunting is like an abusive relationship, you get bruised, beaten up, sick, and sleep deprived– but you always come back for more because you love it so much!
I’ve been making people pee themselves for almost 5 years now. I’ve learned a few things, and I’ve noticed a few things. As an insider to the haunted house industry I like to share with you some things I’ve come to realize. One of the things I wish other people outside of the haunt community would realize involves an unspoken ethic code among the haunt community. You may not think this exists, but it does!
I’m talking about “haunted house etiquette”.
I know what you’re thinking. Etiquette? In a haunted house? Yes! Hear me out. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve heard while working in a haunted house. I’ve been called a slut, ugly, retarded, and a bitch (sometimes all in the same night). Believe it or not, these insults weren’t just uttered by prepubescent boys looking to impress their girlfriends. No, grown men have threatened to hit me in the face for popping out of a dark corner. Some of them…have, in fact, hit me in the face.
Look, it’s awesome that I scare you. I love when people laugh and call me a bitch for startling them. It lets me know that I’m doing my job! I don’t, however, enjoy your attempts to insult me while I’m just getting paid to play a character covered in blood.
You paid for this. Remember? When you go to a haunted house, you’re paying to get scared. There are going to be scary people hiding behind scary things waiting to jump out and make you scream. I don’t remember you paying admission to a douchebag house. You didn’t pay money to act like a jerk. If you feel the need to impress your friends by insulting people in costume, then I’m afraid you and your friends need to re-evaluate your intelligence.
A haunted house is about playing along with he joke of the haunted house. True, I enjoy torturing the girl that’s buried into her boyfriend’s back in fear, or running after the crying little girl who was dragged to the haunted house by her mother. I love the groups that are laughing as well as screaming. When a group is clearly having fun and enjoying the experience– I have a great time giving them the scares they paid to see.
When a group comes through the haunt, and they are rude, violent, or just look plain bored… I hate it. It’s like someone just proverbially punched me in the stomach. Why did that person just call me a skank? Why did that girl look at me like I’d just made out with her boyfriend? I don’t understand why people go through haunted houses with the intention of making the actors feel like shit for doing their jobs. When customers act this way…actors naturally back off. Sometimes, we have to back off because we’re afraid we’re going to get hit or spit on. (Yes, this has happened to me plenty of times.)
Think about it dude, if you’re going to a haunted house and there are people in your group who genuinely enjoy haunted houses….and you act like a dick–it takes away the experience from the rest of the group. You may think that by calling the guy dressed as Leatherface a fagot you’re making your friends laugh. In actuality, the actors have stopped caring if you’re getting scared or not. You’re disrespecting them, so you’re not going to get the best “performance” out of them…because you don’t deserve it.
I’d like to thank everyone who has gone through my haunt so far and honestly had a good time. Your screams filled me with joy, and your compliments gave me a sense of accomplishment. We’re doing a job, and thanks to you guys we love what we do. We know we’re doing it well. So the next time you go into a haunt think about that. You can go trough– have fun, and respect the actors who give up their favorite time of year so you can have these scary experiences during Halloween….or you can be a jerk. I suggest having fun.
To all my other haunters, Happy Haunting.
To my future victims, I can’t wait to hear you scream… I love it when you scream.