Now that September is here, it means that it’s officially Halloween, at least in my mind. It’s not special to have Halloween as one’s favorite holiday, but it truly is the best time of the year. It kicks off the holiday season that lasts through New Year’s. What better way to celebrate than to scare the socks off people?
In the autumn months, by day, I’m a reporter at the Southern Standard, but by night, I am a psychotic doctor waiting for his next victim, I mean, patient. What I mean by that is I am a scare-actor at Nashville Nightmare, the biggest haunted attraction in the state, and I dedicate almost every weekend to the craft.
Last year was my first year where they had me play a mad surgeon in our hospital-themed house. I played the first and last character in the attraction which had me jump-scaring for hours. Some may say people who work at haunted attractions are sadistic, but it’s only fun if the patrons are also having fun.
I’ve been a fan of horror movies and haunted houses for a long time. Even if I was too scared to go in them as a child, I was always interested and would make it all the way to the entrance before chickening out. I was probably around 10 years old before I went through my first ever house, which wasn’t even a house but a haunted trail in the woods.
Since then, I have been glued to all things macabre. Though I’ve walked through hundreds of haunted houses at this point and worked a full season at an attraction, I still get scared so easily. Some nights at Nashville Nightmare, the scarers were invited to experience the other houses at the attraction.
A friend of mine and fellow scare-actor said he had a blast walking through with me because I screamed and jumped so much, he was dying of laughter. Throughout the year, we did special events for the holidays.
At Christmastime, I played a North Pole pirate elf thing. Our Valentine’s Day event had the actors be vampires, and most recently, we had our summer event where we got to play classic characters from horror films. I had the pleasure to play my idol, Michael Myers, which is odd because I am not the size of a towering serial killer, but I still got some good scares in.
I am stoked to get back in it this year. It’s truly an odd but super fun job. But like any, it is more exhausting than people realize.
First, the masks and costumes are very hot. It is miserably warm in the house even if it’s cool outside. Second, scarers stand for the entire night. You have to be ready for every party that comes to your scare section which requires you to be not only be standing but moving the entire time. Finally, you always have to watch out for the fighters. We all have fight or flight reactions, and the fight ones throw a mean punch.
Not to mention, I constantly lose my voice from all the screaming, but it’s worth it to make someone else scream. With that said, it isn’t just the attraction that gets me in the spooky spirit, but I am excited for the creativity in Halloween costumes and new horror movies coming out.
Our local Rigor Mortis has seen some success, and the haunted woods in Bone Cave is a family favorite, which we go to every year. If you’ve never been to one, they’re fun to try. However, if you know you may hit an actor, maybe rethink that.
Taylor Moore can be reached at (931) 473-2191