"Cold Survival Music" - Dark Ambient Mix By Atrium Carceri


I almost hate to admit it, but it's been lazy days around the old Cemetery. Most of my props and other assorted Halloween doodads are safely stored away, allowing time to get ready for that other holiday coming up in December...

And it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but we've been hit with an extended, winterlike cold spell. Couple that with the seasonal time change where it gets dark by 5 o'clock, and an early season snowfall and I really don't feel like doing too much.

It's the kind of weather (and season, really) where all you want to do is throw on those trusty comfy clothes, crawl under the warm blankets, and dive deep into a good book.

And luckily, Atrium Carceri has just created a really great dark ambient mix to go along with your winter retreat. Cold Survival Music is a new mix created for the Cryo Chamber label and it really nails the cold, bleak and dark aspects of the upcoming winter season, yet it offers a respite of warmth to get you through it all. The perfect background soundtrack for when you're all curled up under the blankets, snow falling outside the window, deep in a good book.

Enjoy!




Highbury Cemetery T-Shirt, 2019


Every year, I start October's Countdown to Halloween with the unveiling of the season's new haunt logo. I then silkscreen that logo on shirts here in the Cemetery basement to give out as a thank you to anyone who helps set up, run, and tear down the haunt. It's a tradition that now stretches back 16 years! It's not an easy job to run a haunt of this size in a single day, and I want to make sure that I show my appreciation for any and all help.

The 2019 shirts are FINALLY done and ready to be passed out. I hit a snag in late October when my original screen exposure didn't turn out quite right, forcing me to completely wipe the screen and start over. I was forced to push the printing 'til after Halloween, as I just didn't have the time to get it done before. But, a week after the big night I was able to get the shirts printed up, and I'm really happy with the way they turned out!



This year, I printed the logo onto black shirts with a cool new metallic gold ink that I had just picked up. I'm really happy with how "sparkly" they turned out, and I hope everyone that receives one will be, too.

A big thank you must go out to Mrs. Highbury, who helped me print the shirts up in the kitchen this past weekend. After 16 years of doing this, we have really streamlined the whole printing process and every year, the shirts turn out a bit better. Even if you have to do it a second time. A week after Halloween night.

  

Rick Baker On The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast


Special FX legend Rick Baker appeared on the latest episode of The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, and while I'm not a huge Rogan fan, I really wanted to hear what Baker had to say. Two hours of Baker talking about his middle class upbringing, his early love of classic monsters, his first masks produced in his boyhood bedroom, and how he turned it all into a legendary career with such special effects credits including Octaman (his first, low-budget film), Star Wars, An American Werewolf In London, Michael Jackson's Thriller, and The Wolfman

And the best part of it all was Baker's genuine, humble demeanor. It was really fun to sit back and listen to him talk about everything with a youthful excitement in his voice. It really makes for an enjoyable and informative listen. Enjoy it!




#pumpkindump2019


For the third year in a row, I was able to sneak out and get creative with my jack-o-lanterns after the Halloween celebrations. Back in 2017, I decided that I wanted to do something different instead of simply tossing them into the trash, and ended up covertly setting them up in a local metropark to much surprise and joy...

Last year I again found a unique, highly-visible area in a local cemetery and was able to set up another display, remaining undetected. It was such a success, I even had friends taking photos of the set-up without even knowing who was responsible for it!

So for 2019, I wanted to do it again. Living in a new area opened up a realm of possibilities for a great, anonymous display. I made a list, removing any locations that had a higher chance of getting caught. And on the night before the dump, I drove around on a quick recon mission, scouting out the remaining locations on the list.

By the next morning, I had a location picked out. I loaded up my jack-o-lanterns and quietly drove out of my neighborhood. The location was surprisingly close to my house, sitting inconspicuously within a dense, highly-travelled retail area. It was actually quite perfect.

In the previous two years, I wanted to find a location where the pumpkins would be able to feed the local wildlife population. But this time, it was all about the mischief!

Within the dense compacting of overcrowded strip malls, big box stores and agonizing traffic, lay an early victim of retail competition and overdevelopment. And just off the highway, within the shimmer of a high-end restaurant, hotel, and sprawl of retail stores sat an abandoned, broken down BP gas station. A small square of rot almost unnoticed and completely ignored in favor of the new sheen and shine of everything else around it.

I snuck into the back of the old station just after dawn, parking my car out of view by the remnants of the carwash, and quickly went to work unloading this year's 13 jack-o-lanterns. Even at such an early hour of the morning, traffic was already starting to pick up. I quickly set the pumpkins up, snapped a few pictures, and then quietly slipped away unnoticed. I had a laugh as I felt invisible to the people driving all around me.

Please enjoy my submission to The Great Pumpkin Project, the Highbury Cemetery Pumpkin Dump 2019...









Another successful pumpkin dump is now in the books. And I think I got lucky again this year, because brother Scrapes drove by a bit later to check it out only to find a police cruiser sitting in the lot, mere feet from the pumpkins. Oops!

But as I type this three days later, the pumpkins are still there, hiding in broad daylight. So if you're in the Akron area, feel free to seek them out and get some photos of your own. I really think that they are going to be there quite a while. They're in the middle of Montrose near I-77, on a small, narrow plot that's just a bit darker than everything else around it...

  

Highbury Cemetery, 2019


Halloween Night: It had been a constant downpour over the previous 24 hours and everything was soaked. At roughly 6 pm, the temperatures dropped into the 40s and a fierce, whipping wind kicked up. The utter misery was compounded when as the night ended, I actually saw wet snowflakes floating down from the incessant grey clouds above...

Luckily for us though, our new neighborhood had its trick-or-treat on Sunday, four full days before Halloween night! For once, we had outsmarted old Mother Nature, and after four years of getting rain on our Halloween display, we were able to finally catch a break.

Sunday nervously started with slight drizzle and strong gusts of wind. According to my weather app, both should have subsided by noon, but by 3 pm the winds were still a lingering problem.

Add to that the stress of basically starting over in a new neighborhood and wondering/desperately hoping that trick-or-treaters would actually come down our cul-de-sac road, and my nerves were completely frazzled.

But shortly before trick-or-treat started at 5, a wonderful thing happened. The clouds broke up, giving way to unexpected rays of twilight sun, and more importantly, the winds stopped. Not just died down, but completely stopped. It was incredible. It looked like the Pumpkin Gods were looking down upon us favorably this year!

And as the clock struck 5, we saw our first trick-or-treaters making their way up the street. 

We were ready...

For two hours, we ended up having a fairly steady stream of trick-or-treaters, parents, and curious neighbors coming to check out our Halloween display. And although we didn't set up all of our props this year, everyone was surprised and excited by what we had done.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with our first display here. With the weather finally cooperating, the total lack of wind gave us the best fog effects we had ever achieved, allowing thick, creeping fog to roll around the cemetery tombstones, across the sidewalk, down over the curb, and eventually down the street. I couldn't believe it. Check out this photo to see what I'm talking about.

Yes, there are things that I'll need to address for next year, like better tombstone lighting, a few more figures and animatronics, and a new cemetery fence, but I was pleased with the ways things came together and we were able to present a display unlike anything else in this neighborhood.

The next morning, we were the talk of my son's school bus. The seed has been planted, and Highbury Cemetery will be back bigger and bolder for 2020.

We're down to only 363 days until Halloween, so it's time to get started again! But for just a few moments, pull up a chair, sit back, relax and enjoy my photos of Highbury Cemetery, 2019...




My 2018 tombstone creep, complete with rotating upper body. I built it last year, but rain (of course) prevented me from ever putting it up in the display. He had his grand reveal this year and his Spider Hill Prop Works Compact Prop Turner worked flawlessly all night! Next year, I want to put more focused lighting on him and at some point, I'll post a full tutorial for this build...






I absolutely LOVE the red leaves that were dropping from this tree in the front yard. I was able to rake them up and use them as an added natural, organic element sprinkled around my tombstones!





























As always, a HUGE Highbury thank you must go out to Mrs. Highbury, brother Scrapes, Sharon, Karen, Laurie, Stacey and Vince for coming over, helping set up, running the haunt, and then tearing down all in one day. Without you, this haunt would never happen. (And yes, your delayed thank you shirts are being printed and will be delivered shortly!!)




And this year, I also wanted to thank everyone from Hillside Estates, our new neighborhood, for coming out and making Halloween a fun success. We had a great turnout of 180 trick-or-treaters in year one, and I'm looking forward to great things next year. Bigger and badder, so be ready!!

 

  

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!


Bonfires burning bright
Pumpkin faces in the night
I remember Halloween

Dead cats hanging from poles
Little dead are out in droves
I remember Halloween

Brown leafed vertigo
Where skeletal life is known
I remember Halloween
This day anything goes
Burning bodies hanging from poles
I remember Halloween

Candy apples and razor blades
Little dead are soon in graves
I remember Halloween
This day anything goes
Burning bodies hanging from poles
I remember Halloween...


The big day is finally here. Our high holiday, Halloween! It's hard to believe that we have already made it through another October, but here we are, basking in the fiery orange glow of All Hallows Eve.

Looking back, it has been a hell of a ride. But it still seems so strange to me in that I won't be getting up like a bolt of lightning, ready to recreate the ghastly magic of Highbury Cemetery tonight. Instead, I'll simply be going to work on Halloween, the first time in over 15 years...

But honestly, I'm okay with it. I wasn't sure that I would be, but having our new neighborhood's trick-or-treat last Sunday night has given me an unexpected week of calm enjoyment. And today I can just relax and really reflect on the season and enjoy myself. 

We were very lucky to have great weather and a great turnout for our trick-or-treat, and it looks like Highbury Cemetery has started a haunting new chapter. There's a calm satisfaction and a small spark of excitement for next year's display already smoldering inside me.

But for today, I'm just going to take it easy. Halloween music cranking all day today, the last of my pumpkin beers and Halloween movies tonight. And I'm super excited for it.

I wanted to take a second and thank each and every one of you who stopped by this month and hung out at the Cemetery. I truly love sharing all my random Halloween thoughts and goodies, and interacting with my fellow haunters and Halloween enthusiasts really keeps me going. I actually still have quite a bit to post, so let's keep this Halloween party going well into November, shall we??

I also want to extend the happiest of Halloweens to all of you, especially my fellow haunters who are battling the elements in order to spread some frightful cheer and fear tonight. It seems that a large number of us across the country will be battling wind, rain, snow, and even fire to try and do what we do. Do what you can do to the best of your abilities, but more importantly  please stay safe. There's always next year and we'll need all of you to keep this wonderful tradition alive and kicking. And screaming.

And finally, don't forget to have fun! This is our night! It's what we have literally spent the last 364 days planning for, so go out and scare the hell out of 'em!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM HIGHBURY CEMETERY!!!





Beware The Haunted House!


Imagine my surprise when picking my son up from school today he tells me that he has something for me. Perplexed, I ask him what it is. He proceeds to pull this out of his backpack, a proud smile glowing across his face...



It is by far the greatest gift a Halloween dad could possibly ask for. A beautifully hand-drawn, fully colored Haunted House picture from your 7-year-old son. I was genuinely moved when I got it, and I couldn't be more proud. Such detail in the tombstone and the green-lit entry way. And you can just sense the fear in the trick-or-treaters standing on the porch!

This will have a permanent place within the Highbury Cemetery office walls! And I do believe we have a young haunter in the making!!

  

The Mummies - "The Fly"


Iconic 90s mummified horror punk campiness bandaged together with the dried, withered remains of that electric buzz of classic lofi garage. THIS is my pre-Halloween jam!! Enjoy everyone, and get ready for the big day tomorrow!!



The Day After...


It feels weird sitting here on October 28th, penning a quick recap of the previous night's trick-or-treat display.

For the first time in over 16 years, we aren't celebrating on Halloween night (as I firmly believe we should be), due to our new neighborhood's schedule: Sunday night, from 5-7 pm. It really doesn't make much sense to me, but I'm not here to complain about it.

After finding out when our trick-or-treat actually was (there were conflicting reports of Saturday or Sunday), I got to scheduling everything in order to be ready for the big night. Being that it would be our first Halloween in the new neighborhood, I wanted to make sure we made a BIG first impression.

By Saturday night, I had everything (albeit in a scaled-back version from last year) staged and ready to go. The only thing posing an issue was the torrential downpouring of rain accompanied by gusting winds.

As I woke up on Sunday morning, I quickly checked the weather forecast. The rain would stop by 9, and the winds would die down by 10. Perfect. Except that didn't happen...

We started setting up at 11, only to be hampered by gusting winds throughout the day. Tombstones were swaying and blowing around and my stomach was in knots. Not to mention the nagging fear that we'd go through the trouble of setting this all up and we'd get no trick-or-treaters. The stress was weighing heavy on me.

As we got closer to show time, the winds finally began to slow down, allowing us to quickly put the full cemetery together. As I stepped back, I took a second to take it all in. It actually looked pretty damn good! The knot in my stomach began to release, but I realized that I still needed to put my costume on with mere minutes to go.

As the clock struck 5, we took our places within the cemetery. And slowly trick-or-treaters showed up. Not as many as I was secretly hoping for, but they still came.

As we really got into our groove, a strange thing happened. The wind died down completely. And the sun broke through the clouds. It's as if the Pumpkin Gods were rewarding us!

And then I noticed my fog machine and chiller setup. PERFECT, lingering plumes of thick, chilled white fog rolled across the entire cemetery, creeping around my tombstones and stretching out into the street, creating the greatest fog display I have ever been able to achieve. It was AMAZING!

Mrs. Highbury snapped this photo as the sun began to set...



Perfection!! I was giddy with what was happening.

Trick-or-treaters, their parents, and neighbors began to file down the street, checking out this new display in their neighborhood. We ended up getting a nice turnout and I was pretty happy with this year's setup. 

As trick-or-treat wound down, it finally got dark enough out to get photos of the display bathed in its truly spooky lighting. I got a collection of great photos that I'll be posting up with a full review after Halloween.

Overall, our first Halloween was a huge success. The nervous planning and stressful setup gave way to a great weather, an ever greater display and a ton of fun with friends, family and new neighbors. We were the talk of my son's school bus this morning, and Highbury Cemetery has planted the first seed in becoming the new neighborhood "Halloween House."

  

The Rainy Jack


So here we are at the last Sunday of October, and unfortunately with the crazy winds and torrential downpours over the last 24 hours, there won't be a Cemetery Sundays segment. With everything else going on, I just didn't have the time to slosh out with my camera...

But late last night, after a brief, windy and rainy trick-or-treat over at brother Scrapes' house, I was able to get my jack-o-lanterns all carved. I wanted to get them set up on the front steps for a quick night time photo session, but the constant downpour kept me from doing so.

I was however, able to get my favorite jacko out for a quick pic. And under the pouring rain I set him up with a tea light, and snapped one single shot before diving back in for cover. This is what I got...




No filters, no Photoshop. Just a quick, spooky photo with a cool light streak looking like something out of a horror film. After getting back inside and looking at it, I couldn't believe what I had captured. Not bad for a quick shot!

And as I sit here typing this out, I'm keeping an eye on the weather. Because tonight is OUR trick-or-treat!! It feels weird that after 17 years, we're not having it on Halloween night, but regardless, I have everything staged and ready to set up for tonight's big show. We're set to reveal Highbury Cemetery to an all-new audience in a new neighborhood. I just hope that people show up...

Last night, the rains were unending and now we have a high wind advisory. But somehow, the Pumpkin Gods are looking down upon us favorably, as the rain has finally stopped and  the winds will die down by noon, giving us enough time to set everything up and perfect weather to celebrate trick-or-treat tonight.

I'm off to tie up those last few ends (like finally printing my haunt shirts!!), and then it's time to do this. If you are having trick-or-treat tonight, I wish you the best of luck and if you had your trick-or-treat last night, I hope that it was glorious!

And if you're in the Akron area with nothing to do tonight, come hang out with us! We're on Alexander Road in Copley, near I-77 and Rt. 18. Our trick-or-treat is from 5-7, but we'll be keeping it going a bit later to hang out and get some night time photos. But be quick! Just like our last location, if you show up too late, you'll miss it!

  

The Misfits - "Hybrid Moments"


A little something to power through a day of prepping for tomorrow night's big show...




Glowing Trick Or Treat Reaper Shirt From Lunar Crypt


I don't always promote things here at the Cemetery, but for this one I'm going to make an exception.

I preordered Lunar Crypt's new Glowing Trick Or Treat Reaper shirt last week and it just showed up to my door, with plenty of time to spare for the big night. And I must say, this shirt is AWESOME!




The print is high quality, bold and totally solid. And of course the first thing I did was expose it to light, then take it into a darkened room. It glows like crazy. I absolutely love the old school reaper graphic and I'm sure as hell going to be sporting this at tonight's trick-or-treat party that I'm going to. Plus, with a preorder I also got a really cool orange-and-black pin (the color that I was hoping for!) with the same graphic thrown in as an added bonus, all for twenty bucks!

I'm going to say that if you're like me, you're definitely going to need to add this one to your haunt shirt collection!!

  

"Halloween Horror - Scary Sounds From The Hex Files" Cassette


Well, here we are. Somehow, we have already come to the final Friday in October. Time for one last Freebie Friday, where I comb the depths of my vintage novelty Halloween record and tape collection and then share it with all of you. Luckily, we are finishing with a bang!




An array of screams, howls and spooky sound effects to greet trick-or-treaters or put chills down party goers' spines!

More than 73 minutes of continuous scary sounds.


And how! This tape is a monster (giggle, giggle) clocking in at a walloping 71 actual minutes of Halloween greatness. I was completely surprised when after flipping the tape to side two, I was rewarded with another side of sound effects! Usually I get the same exact recording on both sides, but K-Tel International's Halloween Horror - Scary Sounds From The Hex Files from 1997 really delivers the goods.

It's a great mix of new and old sound effects, flowing nicely through each effect throughout both sides of the cassette. Lots of monster growls and upchucks (listen for it, I'm not joking), howling winds, howling dogs, a few "borrowed" screams and moans, another pissed off cat, rattling chains, creaking doors, and racing heartbeats. But the best effect is the organ that shows up almost half way through side two (which now that I look at it, may actually be side one - I mislabelled the sides, although it doesn't REALLY matter, right??). A really great creepy sound that intensifies the other sound effects going on at the same time.

Overall, it's a great, high quality addition to anyone's Halloween soundtrack collection and one that I would seriously consider playing at my home haunt display. And it's a great way to cap off another October of Freebie Fridays! Enjoy, and Happy Halloween, 'ya creeps!!

DOWNLOAD "HALLOWEEN HORROR - SCARY SOUNDS FROM THE HEX FILES" HERE.

  

"Creature From The Black Lagoon" Poster by Jason Edmiston


GAH!! Incredible new limited-edition posters of everyone's favorite fish man, illustrated by Jason Edmiston. These super-limited posters will be available today over at Mondo, but you'll have to be quick because like all things at Mondo, both the regular and the variant versions will sell out in literal seconds...




Visions - "Aura"


A fantastic new track from dark ambient artist, Visions. This pulsing, menacing piece would work great in a home haunt setting, don't you think? Enjoy!



Millersburg Brewing Co. - Pope's Imperial Pumpkin Ale


We're back with another seasonal pumpkin beer ready to face our dreaded Drunken Jackos rating scale! But this time we have a slight surprise!!

Today's review will not be done by yours truly, but rather an old face familiar in the early days of this blog - my good brother, Scrapes!

It's been a while since he's thrown down some words around here, but he's still an active member of the yard haunt, so I'll be nice and throw him a bone every once in a while.

This particular beer is one that has been on my radar this season, only I hadn't had a chance to get to it yet. I'm quite curious to hear a review on this one, so take it away, Scrapes!!


Brewery: Millersburg Brewing Co. – Millersburg, OH
Brew: Pope’s Imperial Pumpkin – Ale Brewed with Pumpkin & Spices
Cajones: 9.0% ABV
Cost of Entry: 12 oz. can 4 pack: $9.99



Prior to moving into my dorm at Kent State University in 1996, Mom was in charge of outfitting me with all the dorm things I would need such as clean sheets, a shower caddy (?), an ungodly amount of Ramen noodles, and most memorably, a tiny little refrigerator.  

Faced with a wood-grained decal, that fridge has withstood the various stages of my adult life and today it serves handily as my basement beer fridge. Oh, and that little dial inside that controls the temperature got lost during those crazy college days (ok, it was one year, and then I was placed on academic probation), and I believe the fridge is permanently set to “Icelandic,” which I like.  

And so it has become an annual fall tradition, stocking that tiny fridge with a few different pumpkin ales. I snatched up this 4 pack from my local grocer. It’s malty and sweet whether enjoyed from the can or from a glass. I’m not too experienced with describing all the phases and food groups of beer tasting. There is a hint of spice and vanilla, and when I drink it, I smile and usually have another.  

I could compare this to another of my local pumpkin ale favorites, Fat Head’s Brewery’s Spooky Tooth.  Both are sold in 4-packs, and pack a wallop at 8%-9% ABV. I’ve seen Pope’s at numerous Akron-area beer sellers over the past few fall seasons, so if I were to give this beer an availability rating, I would say 8 out of 10.  


Looking the can, we see Wild Rosie, the smiling horse in a jack-o-lantern disguise. What do you know about Millersburg? What I know is that it is smack dab in the middle of Ohio’s Amish/farming community, dotted with rolling hills and undulating corn fields (where are there are no Ramen noodles found for miles). This unique setting lends a little mystique to the brewery and the beer. Pope’s Imperial Pumpkin easily scores a 4.5 out of 5 on the Drunken Jackos scale. 



So there you have it! A bold review by brother Scrapes! And with a rating THAT high, it looks like I'm running out to the local grocery store to score a 4 pack of this immediately!!

  

Recap: Haunt Acting At The Haunted Schoolhouse


When I was 16 and briefly living in Plano, Texas, my friends and I decided to take our love of haunted houses to the next level. For years we had gone to local haunted houses in both Ohio and then in Texas, but we finally decided to take the next step and actually act in one!

A friend had gotten word that a local haunt in Plano (I can't remember the name, as it was way back in 1989), was opening and needed volunteer actors. So we jumped at the chance and hurriedly sped across town to get in on the action. Upon arriving, we met up with the people running the haunt, letting them know we were ready to go. They asked if we had brought any masks or costumes...

Of course we had nothing, figuring that everything would be supplied. I was one of the last volunteers to get assigned, and I remember the one thing they had left for me to use. A single flashlight. What the hell was I supposed to do with that??

So I grabbed the flashlight and unenthusiastically took my place in a dark corner. I realized that I needed to act fast to come up with a way to be scary. Even with nothing more than a flashlight.

It was at that point, even at my young age, that I realized that fear was already on my side. Patrons were already terrified, so I just had to keep the fright going until the next scene. As each person would walk through my darkened section, I would quickly flash the light on, pointing the light upward on my contorted face, then quickly turn it back off again, disappearing back into total darkness. The uplighting created unnatural and creepy shadows across my face and provided a quick jump scare with a simple growl or grunt. No mask or costume needed. It didn't work with every person that came through, but I still managed to get a few good scares.

I only volunteered one night at that haunt, as the prospect of bringing all of my own costuming or getting stuck with only a flashlight didn't appeal to me back then.

But fast forward about 15 years, and as I was becoming a home haunter back in Ohio, my one night of acting in a low budget Texas haunt became quite relevant again.

As I developed my home haunt and subsequently my acting within it, I thought back to that one night in Texas and what I had to do with so little available to me. It wasn't about what you had, but how you presented it that really made it scary. I eventually developed an acting style, gathering techniques and mannerisms that would really get the most scares.

Every Halloween, I would shamble around the haunt and eventually up and down the entire street, spreading fear to both trick-or-treaters and their parents. As the years went on, I began to think again about taking it to the next level...

Fast forward again to 2019, and I finally had the chance. In hanging out recently with my good friend Dave from Closed Casket Studios AND Akron's legendary (and still my favorite) Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory, he proposed that I come and guest act for a weekend. I couldn't believe it. I had to play it cool and tell him that I'd think about it, even though I was jumping up and down inside my head with such an opportunity presenting itself.

I had been going to the Schoolhouse and Laboratory since about 1986 or '87, when we would beg our parents to drive us down for a visit each October. Back then, we'd get the Friday section in the local newspaper and just ogle at the amazing black-and-white ads for all of the local haunted houses. But the ad I remember most was that iconic grim reaper inviting me to the Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory.

And after two years of living in Texas, it was one of the first haunts that I went back to. It holds such nostalgia for me, and I still go back each year.



A great old tv spot for the Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory, featuring legendary Cleveland late-night hosts, Big Chuck and Little John. And if you listen very carefully, you'll hear the classic "Chamber of Horrors" novelty cassette audio playing in the background, which you can actually get right here!!

So with this past weekend being Sweetest Day, they were expecting massive crowds and would need all the help they could get. I grabbed a costume and a mask (because this time a simple flashlight just wasn't going to cut it), and got ready to go. I was going to be a queue line actor for both Friday and Saturday night. I was a bit nervous, but I was a lot excited. I was finally going to get the chance to test my skills at the pro level.


I showed up on Friday night, found Dave, got a really quick tour, and got ready. The costume I was going with was my flesh-faced plague doctor, complete with the lantern staff that I made a few years ago for an MHC Masquerade Ball. I put on the costume, threw on the mask with one colored contact lens, took a deep breath, and was ready to go.




The "Plague Of The Flesh" character, and the lantern staff from my original 2017 MHC costume.


I got to sit in on the pre-haunt meeting and hang out with a few of the regular actors. And after a quick pep talk, we were released upon the masses...

As soon as I made my way toward the people already lined up to get in, it felt like a switch had been thrown. I immediately got into my haunt character and began menacing the crowd. It felt totally normal and comfortable. And it felt fun!

For 5 plus hours, I strolled the midway, scaring and chasing some patrons, while getting my picture taken with many, many others. I felt like a kid on Halloween again.

By the end of the night, I did feel pretty beat. Achy back, achy arms, and achy feet. But it was still so much fun. I drove straight home to bed, as I would need all of my energy and stamina for Saturday night, which was already shaping up to be an even bigger night...

The next night, I arrived to a palpable buzz. A huge crowd was expected and rumors of attendance records were already being talked about. A long night was ahead of me but I was ready to go. I again got into character, ready to be unleashed again.

This time, it was a non-stop flood of patrons. Lines quickly stretched through the midway, out the gate and deep into the parking lot. It was absolute mayhem. But I loved every single second of it. I canvassed the crowd with the other queue line actors the entire night getting screams, laughs and pictures all along the way. It was nonstop, but I had so much fun.

As the night eventually crept past 6 hours, my old body began to slow down and the aches and pains from the previous night had returned in full force. We eventually ushered the last guests into the Schoolhouse just after 1:30 in the morning. I sat down with a few of the other actors at the bar, did a quick congratulatory shot, and called it a night.

After all was said and done, Saturday night's crowd broke their all-time attendance record, and I was incredibly happy to be a small part of it all. A little dream of being a pro haunt actor, even for two nights, had been fulfilled and I was ecstatic.

I want to thank Dave and Katie for allowing me to come act at my favorite haunted house ever. Although it was actually hard on the body, I had an absolutely great time and would love the chance to do it again if you ever need me.

I also want to give high fives to Mrs. Alvah, Patient Zero, and Dr. Guggenheim, my fellow queue line actors for having me along and making it so much fun. You guys killed it all weekend!!

With this new haunt acting experience under my belt, I can't wait to unleash it all again come trick-or-treat night in my brand new neighborhood. But beware neighbors, because I'm coming with more than just a single flashlight this time...