Back in 2013, my friends convinced me to volunteer at a haunted house with them. Ghoul’s Gulch was the name of the haunted house at the time. I barely had any acting experience prior to joining Ghoul’s Gulch, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was really nervous. Not only was I acting, I had to improvise everything, which made my anxiety skyrocket. What they would do was assign an actor to a different room each night, UNLESS they found a room they loved you in. I want to tell one of my favorite stories, about the night I found my room.
The previous night, I became so sore after playing a victim of a warlock and repeatedly getting “cursed” and dropping to the floor, so I requested the one room that required barely any movement. It was just a table that you laid in and half of your body sticks out and on top of the table was a mangled corpse. So, it was just an illusion, and a great character for someone as lazy as me.
Anyway, I kept debating how I wanted to portray this character. Some did it funny, others used the jump-scare method. I decided that I was half a body, I should act like it. So, I started doing this whole gimmick – twitching, eyes rolled back, struggling to breathe. It was kind of like the characters from the Evil Dead films, which, thinking about it now, those movies may be where I got that idea.
Every night throughout the season, after putting the makeup on all the actors, the makeup artists would always go through the haunted house. So, they come to my room and I’m doing my thing and I can’t see them very well but I can hear them whisper, they were very concerned, they were wondering if they should call an ambulance. Finally, one of the makeup artists got close to me and asked, “Are you faking?” or something like that. I stopped and looked at him and I nodded. Then they were relieved and continued to the next room.
That night, I got some epic and hilarious responses. One of my favorite reactions was from a group of friends. One guy said, “Oh man, I thought that was a real person.” Another person responded, “That is a real person.” And the first guy said, “Oh, cool!” I wanted to laugh so bad! At the end of the night, all the actors and crew gathered in the back room to recap and announce the room of the night. I ended up getting the room of the night because not only did I freak out the guests, I freaked out the makeup artists! That’ll forever be one of my biggest accomplishments as an actress.
Looking back on my time at Ghoul’s Gulch, even though I had major social anxiety, I pushed through it and I’m definitely glad I decided to give acting a shot. I feel like working at a haunted house should be on every horror fan’s bucket list. It was really fun, I met a bunch of fantastic people. Would I ever act in a haunted house again? Chances are I probably would not. I got it out of my system and it wasn’t really an experience I need to repeat. But I’m very grateful for the Ghoul’s Gulch family for giving me the opportunity to be a part of them.