There are some of us in the world who don’t really have a “bucket list” or anything like that. I haven’t really made a list of things I’d like to do before I die; I don’t have anything I’m seriously willing to give a kidney for — I just live life and enjoy whatever it happens to throw my way.
And sometimes, life throws me experiences that make me do a double-take. Like the time I became a cast member (or a “haunter”) at Screemers Haunted Theme Park!
To Scare or Not to Scare?
I almost didn’t go to Screemers’ Night Out at first — it was the same night that I was supposed to head up to Collingwood for an annual chalet retreat, and haunted houses have never been my thing. I just don’t scare easily! But I read through the email that Jamie had sent me as way of an invite (to Toronto’s “spookiest bloggers”, though I’m still at a loss for what that means exactly…), and I realized that this would be a little different from your typical event — I wasn’t there to give the haunters their best shot at scaring the pants off of me…
…I would be DOING the scaring!
Life is the sum of our experiences, this is true — but it’s the unique experiences that really stand out! And while working at a haunted house is never something that’d ever been on my radar (I mean, let’s be serious — I’ve spent the last decade in office jobs; you can’t get any more “normal”), there was no way I was about to pass up permission to scare the hell out of people!
And Scare I Did!!!
It was pretty cool — after some quick makeup and airbrushing in the rear “haunters’ dressing room” and changing into an orange jumpsuit (with blood spatters added for extra effect), I was ready to scare some unsuspecting humans!!!
So I guess I was expected to go scare people for a few minutes to get a feel for what it’s like to be a haunter at Screemers, but I got a little carried away…
— Jamie-Leigh 👋🏼 (@JamieLeighTO) October 13, 2012
Yeah… the free Molson Canadian and Jägermeister really only helped to get me more amped up to mess with people’s heads — and while I started in the front of the Asylum, popping up from behind a window to scare people, I quickly learned some lessons from my more seasoned coworkers:
1. No one’s scared of zombies
Sure, you can announce yourself with a loud growl and slowly move toward them, but that won’t really instil fear in people — just initial surprise that quickly peters off.
2. Location, location, location!
My scare potential totally skyrocketed when I changed locations to the second half of the Asylum — a maze of mirrors and prison bars washed in pulsing strobe lights! But location was a lead-in to the third lesson…
3. Fear is PSYCHOLOGICAL
A creepy grin and utter silence will do more than a single growl and low moan ever will — and it’s better for your throat in the long run!
What I’d learn most is that the unknown is what will drive people crazy. Banging noises from unseen sources and threats laid out in the open but not knowing what they’ll do next — these freak people out. Getting through something like Screemers is a testament to your sanity more so than anything else as they slowly try to chip away at it!
In short, it was awesome.
Thanks go out to Jamie and Screemers for a fun-filled night of moistening pants!
But you didn’t think I was going to let my wife and our friends get away with cutting my fun short, did you???
Haunting Knows No Bounds
The makeup goes on easily enough, but with the dress room only having a dinky little washroom, there’s no way it was coming off very easily!
So, with my friend Trevor in tow, I made my way home by TTC with the makeup still on.
This in itself closed the night with three last stories:
- A hospital worker thought I had been grievously injured at the Canada vs Cuba game that Trevor had gone to and offered to give me emergency first aid for my cuts and scrapes. She felt pretty dumb after I explained that it was only makeup….
- When we got back home, as planned, Trevor went in first to Sarah in the front room to let her know I was running a little late. I let a couple of minutes pass, crept up to the window and BANGED on it, making a gruesome face. I’ve never heard Sarah scream so loud in my life!!!
- Finally, we got up to the chalet and I darted over to the entrance. Rapping hard on the door a few times, I waited there with a hood over my head, when who should answer — Trevor’s wife Sakshi! Yanking the hood back and giving a triumphant growl, well — let’s just say that Sakshi screamed even louder than Sarah did!
Best. Night. Ever.
So that was my Friday night. Who can top it?