Ok, I really don’t like using misleading titles. Haunted houses don’t think YOU are a jerk, but I’ve come across a few that fit the bill in the couple weeks I’ve been working at House of Screams. Now, let me get this straight, you don’t have to be scared in a haunted house. Though when you feel the need to be rude, yelling at the actors and mocking them for whatever you think you can take a stab at, then you’re a jerk! I still have yet to wrap my brain around the things people have told me that no one has ever dared to before.
So far, in my experience alone, I’ve been pointed and laughed at, touched to see if I’m even real, heard people scream “What the f#@! is that!” (though that’s kind of a benefit while working in a haunt), and even told “You’re not scary, you don’t even have legs.” Granted, the worst of it has been from intoxicated customers but that’s not the point. Never have I ever experienced these reactions before and sometimes I have to stop and process them for a while. Thus is the risk of putting yourself out there, but I only have so much leeway to complain.
Back when I was going to haunted houses and still not shaken by much, I admit I was one of those jerks. I wasn’t getting scared and grew bitter throughout the haunt and said some things that I now regret very much. It didn’t really occur to me that these actors where doing the best they can while being safe for the public. Though, I didn’t have the excuse of being intoxicated. I was just a jerk, simple as that. So, in a way, I guess it’s karma coming back to bite me.
So how do you avoid being a grade A jerk? Well a simple start is follow the rules. Every haunt has them and every one has the basic no smoking, drinking, or touching. These are all to keep you and the actors safe. I mean, how would you like it if we just finished killing our last victim and throw you on the slab for seconds? Terrifying? Yes. Unsafe and legal liability? Definitely yes! Now while the rules say no smoking or drinking, this does not mean have a pot party then, come on in. You come into the haunt intoxicated and 9 out of 10 psychopaths agree that you’re a jerk. Finally, while it isn’t in the rules, please respect the actors. They play out a scene for you. Many are volunteers and do this for fun. So even if you’re not convinced or even a little creeped out, understand that we’re trying our best and it’s all for you.
With that said, yeah it’s been a rough couple weeks but it’s also been a lot of fun. Every time I go in and get into makeup, I hardly have to work. Well… except when you make me chase you. That’s a little bit of work. Though I have gotten a ton of scares and even made a few laugh with some dark humor. I feel like I’ve entertained people in some fashion and I can’t wait to do it again even if I’ve nearly blown my voice. Just know it’s up to you to keep it fun. You don’t need to scream, you don’t need to jump, and you don’t need to be a jerk. Oh, and don’t run… only food runs.