Many people have experienced walking into a haunted house and the absolute terror that follows. Instead of being the one that is scared, what’s it like to be the one scaring?
Located on 1900 W. in West Haven, Haunted Hollow is one of Utah’s most terrifying haunted houses.
In a statement on hauntedutah.com, Haunted Hollow is described as “13 acres of the most menacing, horrifying and ghastly haunted forest. Hiding behind every tree and lurking around every corner are the demons, ghosts and ghouls that only existed your worst nightmares.”
The workers, also known as “haunters,” work hard to make sure that this is all possible and that people who come to be scared leave satisfied.
Most of the haunters at Haunted Hollow alternate between several classic, Halloween-inspired characters and roles.
Sixteen-year-old Destiny Rios currently works at Haunted Hallow and explained that she has alternated between three different roles. She has been a werewolf, which consists her having to crawl and jump out at people. She has also taken on the role of a tunnel monster, which requires her to hide in a foggy tunnel while waiting to jump out at people, catching them off guard. Rios also works in the Jason room where she pops out and frightens many brave patrons.
“I play different roles every single night,” said 18-year-old Tayler Vickery.
He’s had to act as the gatekeeper, as well as played roles in zombie paintball, and in the monk room. Vickery has also played Santa Claus but instead of carrying around a bag full of presents, he carries a chainsaw.
According to Vickery playing the role as Santa Claus is actually quite hard. Santa Claus is a very basic character, but he’s not very easy to mimic, Vickery said.
“When I was Santa Claus and my chainsaw wouldn’t start a person said ‘maybe you should ask Santa Claus for a new one,'” Vickery said. “I started the chainsaw and they took off pretty fast.”
Fourteen-year-old Jack Hamilton also works as a haunter at Haunted Hollow. While work is fun most of the time, Hamilton said his job can be boring sometimes too.
“I’ve played in the Jason room, zombie gunner and cannibal,” Hamilton said. He wasn’t a huge fan of zombie gunner, since he found it to be boring and long.
To prepare for such roles, the haunters at Haunted Hollow go through a specific process. For Rios, she arrives at work, puts on her costume, does her make-up and eats. Vickery goes through a similar process such as getting into costume and doing his make-up.
“Some of the roles require a lot of makeup,” he said.
For many haunters, scaring isn’t as easy as it looks.
“It depends how easy a person can get scared,” Rios said. “If a person as a high tolerance towards getting scared, they won’t even scream at all.”
Every person that goes to Haunted Hollow has different reasons for going in.
“Some people are enthusiastic about it and some are very unenthusiastic about it,” Hamilton said.
Rios explained that sometimes people will try and defend themselves while getting scared. One time while working in the tunnel room, someone attempted to defend themselves.
“I just backed up because you can’t hit them back,” Rios said. In many situations such as this one, haunters are not allowed to touch patrons, much less hit them.
For the people that absolutely hate getting scared, Rios encourages those people to not come since what awaits inside Haunted Hollow can be too frightening.
According to Vickery and Rios, spending time before every shift with their friends and fellow haunters is what they love most about their job.
The haunters at Haunted Hollow work hard to make sure everyone’s fears come to life, but at the same time have fun. There is more to being a haunter than just scaring, it takes preparation and hard work.