Horror Nights

It’s October, and as such, Halloween is just around the corner. There is a castle in the area where I live, that holds “Horror nights” every weekend of October. Some of my friends are going there a lot, to dress up and act as “spookers.”

Which means that you get stuffed in a costume and make up and spend 5 hours scaring people who come to visit. You do it for free, for the fun of it.

When I first heard of it, I thought it sounded like a strange idea. I honestly still do.

I mean, the people who visit, why are they even scared? I get that walking through dark halls of an old castle can be rather creepy, but truly none of the vampires or clowns or crazy people with fake blood smeared all over, are that scary? We do know that they are not really going to hurt you. Don’t we?

I really can’t imagine why people would pay to go see something like this, much less why they find it terrifying. It turns out, a lot of the people who do go, are honestly scared to death. That ought to teach me a thing or two about the human mind and our ability and willingness to be fooled.

As for being an actor, scaring people all night, well…

I went last weekend, with two of my friends. They have an awesome time with it, getting to play parts they absolutely adore. One of them get to be the star in his own little Twilight movie for a night, which I get why he finds funny, and the other gets to be well… a rather unbridled version of himself, sniffing people and grunting at them… I can see why they find it amusing to play those parts. To some extent.

Five hours, twice a week, every weekend, all of October, for free? Really?

I went, mostly to prove two things to myself. One, that I can act, even in a setting I don’t like, and that I can play any part that is given to me, not just one I find interesting. And two, to make myself interact with people. Strangers. I hate that.

Showing up, having to sign in, meeting the other actors, I couldn’t help but regret it already. So many people…

But I have to be able to cope with that, if I want to help Dark Mare expand. I need to be able to work with more than a handful of actors, and I have to be able to deal with strangers, without hating them instantly. Yeah, I tend to do that. I know that, and I try to work through it…

I was a bit surprised though, by how none of the people in charge found that my blue hair could fit into their setting. I sure couldn’t be a vampire… Or a witch… Or a victim of chemical waste… Or a zombie whore… With that blue hair? Oh, no…

Which had me wondering where these people, who pull off such a huge event, day after day, get their imagination from? If I got an actor with a special color hair, I would be jumping for joy, bending over backwards to find the best way to display it. But no, clearly you have to be a very special kind of pretty to be a spooker… And even if you get make up on and get smeared in blood and glow in the dark paint, blue hair is just too far out. I mean, really…

The clowns were missing people though, so they had to live with my blue hair. They did manage to spray it pink and yellow as well, just for the sake of it, and I was placed in my own room.

Now, I am not a huge fan of clowns. I never found them funny, or scary. But that was why I was there. To play my part. To be honest, the room I had was perhaps the best setting, I could have asked for. I was a camouflage clown, meaning that my clothes was made of the same fabric as the wallpaper, making it very easy for me to stand in a dark corner of the room and sneak up on people.

I did that about five times and then I started looking at my watch. That would make it another 4 hours and 55 minutes to go. Right. Add to that, I could hardly leave my spot and go on break, because if I did, my room would be empty and that would be kind of lousy towards the visitors.

So I started figuring out how to truly fade into the wallpaper, and make sure that people didn’t see me until it was too late. I found out that if I covered my neon yellow hair, so it didn’t glow in the dark, by holding an arm up in front of my face, people walked right past me, allowing me to let them into the room and then, I could sneak after them, making it look like the entire wall came to life, once I moved.

I know, maybe not too much of a clown there, but most people sure did get scared. Again, not sure why. I mean, they did know that I wasn’t going to actually touch them, right?

I had a pair of teenage girls get so terrified that they couldn’t figure out how to leave my room. They just paused in the door and hugged each other, completely frozen. We had been told to get people moving, because they were coming pretty fast after each other, so that wouldn’t do, but at the same time, I couldn’t very well tell them to move on either, without breaking character. So I had a lot of fun poking at them with my fake hands every once in a while, hoping that they would snap out of it and move on. They didn’t. They just screamed and hugged each other. Until the next guests came and brought them along.

So, if I had been a true killer clown, some people sure are easier victims than others.

The guy acting as the clown in the hallway next to me was pretty awesome. He startled his victims, by jumping at them from around the corner, slamming his hand against the wall with a loud noise, and laughing like a crazy person. I could always hear when the next guests were coming, by his frantic laughter. When we had a quiet moment, we danced to the loud music, each of us in our own room, both of us unable to really see each other, except for the glow in the dark paint we both had on. That was quite funny. I never caught his name…

So, I did learn a few things about that evening. One, I still hate (most) people, but I can swim if I have to. Two, I am a fairly good actor, even when I don’t like the character I have to play. And three, I am never doing something like this again, without getting paid. I mean, are you kidding me, it was some long five hours. Waiting, spooking, screaming, waiting…

It is a funny idea though, even if I just can’t seem to understand why people go in the first place. I mean, sure, if they brought their kids, I would get why. Kids might find it scary. But adults? Why? Why were they scared?

I thought I had a pretty good imagination, but something as staged as this, could never scare me. Give me a real old castle, after dark, with no people at all, and I sure will find it creepy to walk down the halls. But have some blood soaked Edward Cullen jump at me… nah…

I did tell myself that I am a writer. Everything I do, I learn from, and I have a lot to learn about people. This sure taught me a lesson or two, not just about me, but about others as well.

And I could not help but think that if this had been an episode of NCIS or Bones, a maze like the clowns’ would be pretty perfect to actually commit a murder in. No one would hear the screams, because of all the screaming everywhere, and the loud music, and it could be hours before the body was found, if you were a little clever about it…

My mind is always working overtime… I am not a crime writer. But standing in that maze, hiding in plain sight against the wall, having victim after victim walk right past me, I found that I could be…

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About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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