Depending upon your venue, you may have need for real people to add the BOO Factor to your event.
If it’s just a party, you could simply have an Igor character – handing out drinks and snacks, dropping strange comments and doing similar strange things..
If you have a home haunt of any size, you can add real people to give it that unknown element for your visitors. These people, often termed Scare Actors or Scareactors can be friends and family, volunteers or even paid staff.
What is important is image, planning, training, direction and rules.
Scare Actor image: take time to give a quality look to your scare actors, dress them in quality costumes or tske time to make impressive outfits. Make up should be considered carefully also, there is nothing better than visitors going away talking about the quality of your event. If you can afford it, spend a little on good brand make up, maybe latex wounds and features – special effect contact lenses always wow people
Planning: Your scare actor is bascially another prop in your haunt, typically give them a specific area or zone to work in, perhaps with other props that they can use to maximise the impact – chains, chainsaws, axes, fake body parts etc. Consider the lighting and space for the area they will operate, perhaps where they can hide and appear from, maybe secret areas where thay can get from one part to another without the visitors seeing them. Take into account that a scare actor may need time to reset the scene or his/her position before the next visitors arrive in the area or zone.
Casting: It may sound over the top, but you may need to actually cast the scare actors – for any scale event. You will need to find people with the right body sizes, voices and character to maximise the part and effect. It may be hard to say no to close friends and family, so maybe offer them other task.
Direction: Actually, I mean have a storyline, give your haunt a story, a reason for the events and characters. You don’t actually have to tell your visitors, but it will help to gel your event and improve the visitors experience. Having a story will mean you can give the scare actors specific roles, with defined character, location and maybe behaviour. This could even mean having a script for the actors.
Training: Train your scare actors, rehearse the event, maybe even get friends to walk through to test it. This will ensure that all runs smoothly on the night or nights. It also gives you a great reason to have an after event party!
Feeding and Watering Scare Actors: remember that your staff may need to have breaks, refreshments and toilet! Either swap scare actors around or control the flow of visitors to allow this, you can allow people to build up a little, then let them in in groups.
Rules: One general rule is that they should never touch the visitors, there are too many complications, including legal, with this – some get offended, someone could claim harm, others damaged clothing etc, it’s not worth the trouble. Equally, visitors should not touch, or abuse, physically or otherwise, any of your staff, this should be reported to the owner/operator and the offender removed without delay.
Scare Level: Ensure they consider the victim, I mean visitor, if they’re already terrified, don’t over-do it, try to avoid making anyone cry, especially small children, perhaps try to have a slight comical side to some characters where small tots are concerned.
Don’t forget to check the List of Halloween projects on GhoulishGadgets – Halloween Props, Halloween Costumes and much more.
In general, it’s all about both haunt staff and visitors enjoying themselves.