a Scareactor you ask? Just what it sounds like, it's
an actor who's job is to scare people. While the original source for the term Scare Actor
will probably never be known, many have made claims to it. We do know that it began in the
haunted attraction industry as a name for the actors who wandered around
scaring customers. For us, it simply means people who are part of our Halloween
home-haunt who scare our visitors. Once night falls, the Scareactors being lurking
haunt. You may have some killer props that make your haunt fantastic but Scareactors add an extra punch to your haunt!
The most important element for success is planning. You have to look at
your Halloween haunt as a sort of play and you're the producer and director. Your yard
haunt is your stage. You'll have props, lighting and actors, in this case
It's important to only cast people that have a temperament for it and who
will follow your directions and the rules. So, who will your Scareactors be? Just about anyone you know
who loves Halloween and wants to part of your spooky production including your
family, friends, relatives and neighbors. Anyone who finds delight in
adding to the Halloween happiness of others!
Directing Scare Actors
It's good to have some kind of theme for your haunt. A mad
scientists lab, a ghoulish graveyard, a vampires lair. What
ever you come up with, make a production of it. You could
even write a script for your Scareactors. Make sure they all
know what to do and what part they will play in your haunt.
We like to run a dress rehearsal the weekend before Halloween to work out all the
kinks. This will make things run much smoother on Halloween night. This is a great time to
have a post rehearsal Halloween party for the cast and crew as well.
Makeup & Wardrobe
All Scareactors should arrival at least two hours before the start time
for makeup and wardrobe. Make costumes from old clothes or go all out
and buy costumes and masks, it's up to you. Ask your
Scareactors if they have costumes of their own they might
want to wear. Halloween type make-up and facial appliances
are plentiful at this time of year. You
can find inexpensive Halloween make-up kits just about
Each Scareactor should have a zone of operation. Some might stand
guard at the entrance to the haunt beckoning visitors in, others
might be roaming the graveyard or acting out scenes. Some of
the places we've stationed Scareactors in the past: Demon guards at the entrance
to the haunt, Zombies in shallow graves in the graveyard,
the Grim Reaper wandering in the graveyard, a giant Pumpkin
King in the pumpkin patch.
Tips for Scare Actors
Take short breathers when there are few or no victims, I mean
visitors, present. This is
especially helpful if you are wearing a mask or a heavy costume. The host should
make sure to have plenty of cold drinks on hand and snacks
to keep your energy up.
Rules for Scare Actors
Never, ever actually touch anyone. This may sound like it takes some of the fun out of
scaring someone, but it avoids really big liability issues. Theme parks
do not allow their Scaractors to come in direct physical
contact with customers although some break the rules and do
it anyway. But please, don't handle the victims!
Don't take abuse, physical or otherwise from anyone.
If a visitor grabs or punches you let your host/director know right away. That person should be
leave the haunt immediately.
Don't scare someone to the point of hysteria.
We've actually seen people scared to the point of running into walls, fences, etc. and
Scare Tactics for Scare Actors
During our many visits to haunted attractions we've learned lots of scare tactics.
One of my best was sneaking up behind people and rattling a can of
rocks. It's simple but works great. Some of the best
commercial haunts use this trick with much success. Some
other techniques are scraping
a trash can lid across the ground, rattling chains or generally moaning
like a ghost. Placing a person in a dark costume in
a dark corner works well if you can get the focus of the
patron just past the Scaractor. They can't be seen until the visitor is right
on them, allowing them to jump out at the guests. Another good trick is to use human statues. Have
them stand perfectly still until the visitor is in front of
them, then they can move slightly. Was it a trick of the eye
or is that statue alive?
Care and Feeding of
Make sure you feed your Scareactors well before your haunt begins, and encourage
frequent refreshment breaks. Supply plenty of cold drinks and energy
food to keep them going. Have them take breaks when there is
a lull in visitors. Costumes can get hot and you don't want
anyone fainting for real!
important thing..... Have Fun!