If you want to put on a
production for Halloween, you have to look at your Halloween Home-Haunt as a sort of play,
with you acting as the producer and director. Your haunt is your stage. You'll have props,
lighting and actors, in this case Scareactors.
So what's a "scareactor", they're
just what they sound like, actor's who's job is to scare people. Once night falls, the
scareactors go into action and begin playing their parts and lurking around the haunt.
The most important element for success in creating your yard haunt is
advance planning. You'll need to decide on a theme, make a script, design your haunt
appropriately and start working on getting your scareactor troop together. Draw out a
basic outline of your yard and what you what it to look like for Halloween.
Casting your Scareactors
So, who will your scareactors be? Just about anyone who you know who loves
Halloween and wants to part of your spooky production including your family, friends,
relatives and neighbors. It's important to only cast people that have a temperament for it
and who will follow your directions and the rules. You don't want people who will get too
carried away and ruin it for you and everyone else.
For us, this years theme will be "Haunted Mental Hospital" in the garage.
We'll need to cast a mad doctor and nurse, create a mad scientist laboratory set, the
graveyard will be haunted with the spirits of dead inmates, a few assorted demons and
ghosts will be added to the mix for fun.
Training & Rehearsal
We like to run a dress rehearsal the weekend before Halloween to work out all the
kinks. This makes things run much smoother on Halloween night. It will also let you see
who's serious about working on the project. This is also 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. We do not sell costumes, but for a great selection
of Halloween Costumes check online stores. Most of the costumes you see here have been used as
characters in our Halloween Haunt in the past.
Each Scareactor should have a zone of operation. Some might stand guard the
entrance to the haunt beckoning visitors in, others lurking ground the haunt waiting for
victims. You may want to station a couple at the entrance, for ours we'll have bloody
mental hospital attendants to direct the visitors. We'll need a doctor, nurse and patient
for the "Treatment Room", the "Patient Graveyard" will need assorted
ghosts and maybe a couple demons to lead visitors through the last scene, where the
victims of the mad doctor went when they died.
Tips for Scareactors
Take short breaks when there are few or no victims present, I mean visitors,
especially if you're wearing a mask or a heavy costume. Simple things like double tying
shoe laces, adjusting costume problems before the night starts, taking "water
breaks" if wearing a heavy, hot costume to avoid dehydration.
Rules for Scareactors
Never actually touch anyone. This may sound like it takes some of the fun out of
scaring someone, but it avoids really big liability issues. Don't take abuse, physical or
otherwise from anyone. If a visitor grabs or punches you let the director know. That
person should be escorted out 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 Scareactors
During our many visits to haunted attractions we've learned lots of scare tactics.
One of the best was sneaking up behind people and shaking a can filled with rocks. This is
a classic noise maker and works great! You can also scraping a trash can lid across the
ground, or pound an iron shod staff on the ground. This one only works well if it is on
hard surface, such as cement, stone or asphalt.
Care and Feeding of Scareactors
Make sure you feed your scareactors well before your haunt begins, and encourage
frequent refreshment and rest breaks. Once you shut-down for the night, congratulate
everyone. We print up certificates of acknowledgment for our scareactors.
The most important
part - Have Fun!