Student scare actors bring fear to Halloween attractions

Akshay Vadlamani | The Chronicle

The monster in your nightmares this Halloween may very well be the kid sitting next to you in Biology class. 

Scare actors are people who audition for various roles in haunted houses or haunted attractions, such as Halloween Haunt at Kings Island or Twisted Trails at Kirkwood Camp & Adventure Park. Donning scary costumes and makeup, Mason High School (MHS) students who work as scare actors prowl the attractions in order to frighten guests and bring an authentic scare factor to the Halloween experience.

Senior Tory Lamper works at Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt as a scare actor. Before earning the role, the audition required Lamper to perform scare actor behaviors such as walking and screaming like a monster for as long as possible. Even though the intensity of the audition made her nervous, Lamper said her passion for scaring helped her push through the process. 

“A million thoughts were racing through my head like ‘Can I actually scream long enough, what do I do for my [monster] walk, what if my voice cracks?’” Lamper said. “I was terrified for my audition and before I went in, I just kept telling myself, ‘I have nothing to lose.’”

Lamper works as a dead usher in an underground wax museum setting and is constantly coming up with new ways to scare the guests. Lamper said that portraying a character, especially with the freedom that Halloween Haunt gives its actors, allows for her to put on a new mask and be someone else during her job.

“Knowing that I’m this character and that [people] wouldn’t recognize me is a refreshing feeling because I can do whatever without feeling like all eyes are on me,” Lamper said.

Senior Garrett Howard is also a first-time scarer at Halloween Haunt but has prior experience from working at a smaller haunted house in the past. Howard plays different characters in multiple rooms of an old 1920s hotel, and this gives him the opportunity to don multiple masks and personas. Portraying such a diverse range of characters allows Howard to scare people in a variety of ways. Howard said that scaring gives him a rush of excitement.

“There’s just so much energy, the anticipation just keeps getting higher and higher,” Howard said. “Once you see guests coming through, it’s just a giant adrenaline rush. “You’re scaring people and getting paid to do it.”

Howard is passionate about not just scare acting, but also the behind-the-scenes prepa-

ration that makes a house truly scary. 

“[The makeup is] a lot of light colors making my face look gone, and then dark colors on top of that [to] make me look as dead as I can,” Howard said. “I remember how much of a rush it was seeing all the cool sets and makeup and the heart-pounding that you get afterward.”

Senior Noel Mettey was a scare actor in the past for Twisted Trails, which is an outdoor haunted attraction at the Kirkwood Camp & Adventure Park. However, now she helps her dad, who is the creator of the program, with the operations of the attractions.

Mettey and her family have always been avid Halloween fans. The family channeled this passion into creating their spooky sub-division of the adventure park in 2019, and it has been scaring people since.

“[My dad’s idea for Twisted Trails] initially started because he knew that he wanted to do something crazy,” Mettey said. “My love for Halloween and how much he loved it was kind of what pushed us to do those kinds of things.”

Mettey said that haunted attractions and scare acting are how she and many others can express their Halloween spirit, even without trick-or-treating. Scare acting at Twisted Trails let Mettey show that she can do more than people expect of her, as the ability to scare people is not restricted to a select few.

“When I tell people that I scare acted, they don’t believe me because I’m a very small person and I’m not very scary,” Mettey said. “It’s a way to show people that I am able to do a lot more than other people might think I’m capable of.”

Evan Terribilini has been a scare actor for Twisted Trails for two years now. He first volunteered with Mason Acapella, and after falling in love with the experience, returned as a full-fledged employee. Although the objective of haunted attractions is to scare guests, Terribilini said that it is alarming for the actor to become the character.

“We’re equally as afraid of ourselves,” Terribilini said. “We look in the mirror and think ‘Oh my god, I look like that’.”

Terribilini said that he values that haunted attractions give various people the opportunity to come together over Halloween.

“It’s so much fun and all of these [scare actors] are artists and actors and we all just share such a love for Halloween,” Terribilini said. “It’s a really fun vibe knowing that you’re adding to this atmosphere of Halloween.”