"I have to work tonight."
"What do you do?"
"I make small children cry."

I work at the Forest of Fear, which is a Halloween thing put on by the Renaissance Entertainment Corporation, at the site of the New York Renaissance Faire in the town of Tuxedo, Orange County, New York. It is on all the Fridays and weekends in October, so I have 3 more days left.

Here is how my typical night of work goes:

I am supposed to arrive at 5:30 PM Friday (but I have school and don't get there till about 6:10), and 5:00 PM Saturday and Sunday. I sign in, say hi to everyone, and go get my makeup on. The makeup artist is this gay guy who plays Rob Zombie and some other good music a lot. He is very good. My character is a zombie, and the makeup is applied to my face, neck, and hands. He starts with a white base from an airbrush, and adds black lines. Then he will take a sponge and apply some red, green, and blue makeup so that it looks like pus or rotting flesh. Finally he might take a brush and add some lines of blood.

After makeup I can generally wait around until our meeting at 6:30 or 6:00. We usually sit around outside in our employee break area, those who smoke do so, and sometimes we will go out and scare the people walking past or waiting on line.

Then we have to go to the meeting in the "green room", which is in the same building as the haunted house. Anything that needs to be discussed is discussed, and we have some physical and vocal warmups that actually do help to prepare you for a night of scaring people shitless. Then we just wait again for a little bit until "PLACES" is called.

I go through the curtain and into the house, which is actually in this big building that used to be a ballroom or restaurant or something. It is divided up into various rooms and twisty hallways by wooden walls about eight or nine feet tall. The ceiling is maybe twice as high, and most of the lights and the smoke machines are mounted up there where people won't see them. There are about 13 doors from the "backstage" into the various rooms. The doors are very hard to see from the inside and when coming back from a break it can be fun to unexpectedly open a door and scare the people who could not see it.

My room is the first one (not counting the one before it where they are only told the rules - don't touch anyone, don't touch the props, don't bang on the walls, etc...) It is decorated as a torture chamber. There is a rack with a skeleton on it, about six skeletons hanging from the wall, a skeleton in a hanging cage, and two decapitated heads. There are lots of chains and spiderwebs, and a hand, hanging from these criss-crossed 2x2s which are on top of the walls to provide a place to hang everything and to cast some cool shadows. Against one of the walls is a big wooden box. There is one other person in this room with me. We get ready and soon the bright lights go off and there is the shout of "HOUSE IS OPEN, KILL 'EM ALL!"

The box is the basis of the scare. One person is atop the box, another is hidden inside. The person on top will talk to the groups as they come - things like:

"Are you people tasty? You look tasty! LET'S EAT YOU!"
"Come on in, meet everybody. (We have named our skeletons :P) That's Mary (on the rack) stretching out, that's Joe, and that's Bob (tied to the ceiling) just hanging around. You look like nice people, its too bad YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!"
"Do you like jokes? I have a joke for you, very funny one, Joe told it to me before they ate him, and it goes like this: Knock knock" (people: "Who's There?) "HE IS!"
And a few other things we have made up...

At the appropriate time whoever is on top will hit the box, and the person inside will jump out, scream, and scare the people. Sometimes they jump back and hit the skeleton in the cage, and then turn, look at that, and get scared again. The most common thing said besides screaming is to shout "OH SHIT!"

So far, we have made 26 children cry.

We get three breaks on Friday and Saturday, and two on Sunday (when we close early. During the breaks I like to go outside, scare people walking around, have a bite to eat, and check out the line to see if I am staying an hour late again....

When everyone has gone through and it doesn't look like anyone else is coming, the boss will come through and tell everyone to go home. This is generally 12:00 - 1:00 on Friday, 12:45 - 1:30 on Saturday, and 10:30 - 11:00 on Sunday (except before [Columbus Day, when we were stuck until 12:00). I go home and take a quick shower to get the makeup off, and go to sleep.

I like this job.

I am going to add some more, like some of the interesting characters we have here, a bit about worm penis, and a few of the other cool things in my job.... But I am tired now, that can wait.

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