Working at Niles Scream Park

Melanie Kibler

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Photo credit: http://www.haunted.org/attraction.html

 

NILES, MICHIGAN – For years I have been an avid visitor at the Niles Scream Park, but this year I am actually working as one of the cast members.  While working there I have learned many of the Scream Park’s deepest darkest secrets and I am going to tell you them right now.

Wait, you really thought I was going to give everything away?  No, some things have to stay a secret or it would ruin the entire park.  However, since I am nice, I will tell you some of the things I have learned by working at the Scream Park.

Before we go into the details, I will give you a quick overview of what a normal night looks like for an actor.  When you show up, the house you first go to is for costuming and makeup. After you get into character, you go to where you are working.his changes every night so that us actors  don’t get bored. Once you get to your house and station, a worker quickly explains what to say and how to operate the machinery that are in your section. You then wait for the lights to go out and it is go time.

 

  1. There are constantly workers going through the houses making sure everything is running smoothly. 

For every six groups that go through each of the multiple houses, there is one worker that follows behind and checks on all the actors and props.  You will be surprised how often someone bumps a decoration out of place and one of the workers has to fix it.  

These workers also check up on the actors and make sure they are doing ok.  Usually they ask if we need a break (only 5 minutes) or if we just need more water (you usually scream your voice hoarse).  However on my 3rd night they were doing “health and wellness” checks to make sure no had fallen asleep at their station. This was due to the fact it was storming outside and not many people were going through the house.  Which brings us to our next point… 

 

  1. We actually prefer the busy nights (to an extent).

If there is a slow night it is one of the most boring evenings in the world.  As an actor, you have to stay there until the park closes, even if no one is there, just in case someone shows up late.  If no one is walking through the house you just stand there counting the minutes. It is not a very fun time.  

Adversely, if it is a busy night it’s a lot of fun.  You have people going by every 2-5 minutes and scaring people makes the time fly by. Five hours go quick when you get to scare the living daylights  out of people. 

 

  1. It’s hard to time the scare perfectly.

When it comes to timing the scare, there is an art to it.  For every place that you work there is a different way to tell how a group is coming.  The only problem is that it is usually nothing more than a sound, an ability to see their shadows, or a peep hole.  This makes it very difficult to tell how many are in a group and what person to target.

We tend to target the ones in the middle because they are usually the most scared and they feel protected surrounded front and back.  This takes some practice because, as I said before, you can’t really tell how big a group is. There are times when you don’t get the scare right and the people just laugh, but if you time it perfectly, it is so rewarding.

 

  1. A worker can get anywhere in the main house in under 2 minutes.

The only reason I know this is because I was a little too good at my job on my 4th night. I scared a group and they jumped, like you do, but a girl and a guy fell backwards.  This usually wouldn’t be a problem, but they hit the emergency exit door and fell through it. Somehow the guy cut his hand on screw and it started bleeding. All the cast members have phones, so I called the main house workers and they showed up so quickly.  That’s how I know how long it takes to get places.

 

  1. We live for interaction with people.

Us actors love it best when someone shows fear, no matter how small the action is.  Obviously the best is when they scream and/or fall on the ground. I actually have a mental tally going of how many people fell to the ground.  (My record right now is 11 in one night). Other forms of fear are also appreciated (i.e. jumping, shouting at me, ect). 

Sometimes, however, people like to be smart-alecks and sass back to the actors.  We actually enjoy this as well because we can talk to the people a bit. But sometimes people talk to long and that can get annoying.  

But the most annoying thing is when people just walk past us.  We get our energy from the reactions of the customers, so when they don’t react we aren’t as energetic.

 

If you want to come to the Niles Scream Park and visit us you still have the entire month of October.  Just remember that interacting with the actors will promise a more enjoyable experience. 

 

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