7 Things Not to Do at a Haunted Attraction
Written by: The Bat
I have worked haunted attractions off and on for over 15 years, and I have heard and experienced a lot from our guests. There have been some nice stories, like a little girl that came back every year as she grew up to see “her best scary friend” and take a pic.
Sadly, for each story like that, there are far more real-life horror stories of how guests treat us, the actors. This article was originally meant to be sarcastic and funny. I tried to keep to that, however considering one of those real-life horror stories happened this year. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I had hoped with social distancing I would hear less of the bad and more of the good stories…
Do Not Do These 7 Things at a Haunted Attraction
- Do NOT Touch Us! Seriously!
- Do Not Threaten Us
- Do Not Hit on Us
- There’s No Need to Point Out the Blood is Fake
- “I Can See You!” Ruins Guests’ Experience
- “Don’t Scare Me!”, Um, Wrong Place
- Don’t Bother saying “You Can’t Touch Me!”
1) Do NOT Touch Us! Seriously!
It was my first year of haunting. I had been smeared with blood and thrown into a bedroom at an asylum-themed haunt. I was hiding under the sheets under a hanging corpse, popping out and screaming at guests as they walked by. It all seemed to be going well, until I threw back the sheet and came face to face with a rail-thin, strung out woman reaching towards me.
I froze as my mind raced. Was she going to try to hit me? Grab me by the throat? Scratch me? Her dirty hands touched my hair and reached for my face as she leaned closer and closer…..until a senior cast member that was following her rushed her out of the room. I could barely breathe; I even missed my next scare.
While that might not seem like a big deal to some, being touched without consent is horrifying. No amount of training will ever fully prepare you for the first time it happens to you.
Since then, I have been groped, swung at, and had my props stolen.
I have had one friend get kicked in the stomach and watched him stumble into the backstage area trying not to puke.
A young girl working the haunt with her family got punched in the face; her mother had to be held back from punching the guest back.
A third friend got kissed, full on the mouth by a complete stranger in the middle of a scene.
No one deserves to be assaulted at their job. Because no matter how small it may seem, these intentional interactions are assault, and they are scarring.
Yes, it qualifies as assault, in other words, you run the risk of getting arrested. Is that worth it to you?
Just, Don’t do it!
2) Do Not Threaten Us
Guests will try to brush it off as false bravado or a reaction to being scared. Neither of these is an excuse, ever. Anything from a simple “I can kick your @ss” to actual threats against our lives comes up at haunts every night. I was left speechless one night by a guest’s response to one of my lines, and I can not forget it to this day.
The line was “Let me out, he is going to find me.” to which the guest responded, in complete seriousness “If I let you out, I will do much worse than any imaginary bad guy can do to you.” He followed it with a gesture that I can not describe here but that made my blood run cold and left nothing to the imagination.
You may tell us you were just joking or just scared, but we will err on the side of caution and at best you will be removed from the haunt without a refund, at worst the authorities will be called. A haunted attraction is meant to be fun scares, and if you can not react without violence or threats, stay home. We will not miss you.
3) Do Not Hit on Us!
Do you like getting unsolicitedly hit on when you’re at work? How about getting hit on by a complete stranger? Worse than all of that, not all haunts employ only 18+ workers… Did you intend to come off as a potential pedophile?
If you’re really honest with yourself I’m sure you said no to all of those questions. So why try hitting on a haunt actor? It isn’t funny. To top it off, while I’m not one to kink shame you have no clue if an actor enjoys the idea of being seen as attractive in costume. Unless you’re intending to shout from the rooftops you have a necrophilia fetish, just maybe, hold off on hitting on that zombie, vampire, ghost, etc… seriously haunts are filled with undead character types. Oh and by the way I’m pretty sure necrophilia is illegal where you’re at.
So yeah maybe you take a step back, learn about time and place, find a dating app and hold off on flirting. The actors are there to scare, not flirt. You’re supposed to be there to get scared or admire the story, outfits, etc. if you’re in the same weirdo boat as the Dragon. Seriously who the hell goes to haunts and doesn’t get scared at all…
4) There’s No Need to Point Out the Blood is Fake
The human body has approximately 1.5 gallons/5.7 liters of blood. In order for a wound to look like it is bleeding throughout the night, we would have to lose a lot of blood… sadly humans don’t have a lot of blood. Sounds impractical, doesn’t it?
Yes, it’s fake, yes it’s tasty! Although a drastically different taste than traditional human blood. Then again we do get to make our own blood so why wouldn’t we make it yummy?
Makes for easier clean-up! Well, when you spill some at the beginning of the night… all that dust and dirt getting mixed in I imagine would make it gross. Not my cup-o’-tea personally.
5) “I Can See You!” Ruins Guests’ Experience
Kudos for having a keen eye. I hope you’re happy having ruined a possible scare for someone else. You know like your friends that you brought with you if you took my advice in How to Have the Most Fun at a Haunted Attraction. Not only did you ruin other customers’ experiences you just missed out on a moment you might have enjoyed watching someone else get scared.
So where’s the selling point? The actors don’t care if you can or can’t see them. The people you’re with, well, you might be the asshole in the group… If only you had kept your mouth shut you could have improved other people’s night or gotten to laugh at your friends who didn’t have such a keen eye.
6) “Don’t Scare Me!”, Um, Wrong Place
So I’ll try to simplify this… It is a Haunted Attraction, by definition that is the goal.
Haunted Attraction: a form of live entertainment that simulates the experience of visiting haunted locations or storylines typical of horror fiction. They usually feature fearsome sets and characters, especially demons, ghosts, monsters, possessed people, witches or wizards, serial killers, and slashers.
Horror: a genre of speculative fiction that is intended to frighten, scare, or disgust.
So yeah… the point of a haunted attraction is to scare you.
I will give a caveat, a lot of haunted attractions understand many people like to see the sets and when they aren’t busy are often willing to show them off without any of the scares. If you ask ahead of time you can find out if they will accommodate such desires.
Otherwise saying “Don’t scare me!” isn’t generally going to be acknowledged so you’re wasting your breath… Careful it might be your last!
7) Don’t Bother saying “You Can’t Touch Me!”
Look, hun, I’m sure I’m not the first nor will I be the last to say this. What makes you think I want to touch you?
The actors know whether or not they can or can’t touch you. If you would have bothered to read the waiver you would know that too.
Don’t get bent out of shape just because a bunch of haunt actors know, understand, and value the concept of consent on a level your brain can’t seem to comprehend.
To Sum Things Up
Some thoughts to take away with you. While we are meant to scare every group fairly, ultimately we choose how much effort to put into each scare. If you are a jerk and make smartass comments, we will want you out of our space as quickly as possible, and may not try to scare you very much at all.
If you are a total jack@ss (see the first section) we will not allow you in the haunt at all, and l depending on the haunt may eject you without a refund or have you arrested. However, if you are respectful to us, have fun with us, we will have fun with you! It’s your choice, but I know which one I always pick!
Share your thoughts!