By NICOLE LINDELL
Watch your back, Eagles! There are monsters among us, and they are hiding in plain sight. You might be passing them on the sidewalk without noticing. You may even sit next to one of them in class.
Sounds terrifying, right? Not exactly. These monsters are simply students who work at Halloween Haunt in Kings Dominion.
Every year since 2000, Kings Dominion has held its Halloween Haunt during the months of September and October. The event has grown exponentially, causing a huge hiring need for the Hanover county amusement park; it now includes nine mazes and five outdoor scare zones as well as several live shows.
Due to its seasonality and relatively high wages, college students, UMW included, naturally flock to this opportunity. Of course, it does not hurt that it is also an extremely fun and unique job.
Junior English major, Katie Lamb, is working her first Halloween Haunt this year as a vampire in the maze called ‘Club Blood.’
“It’s a super unique experience to say the least,” Lamb said, “I love it though; it’s like making a little weird family where you can all have fun together and support each other when the night gets rough.”
The nights do get rough- at times there are over 25,000 guests in the park, which makes for a grueling six hours of scaring. The rewards are, for the most part, greater than the hardships. What other job can you get that pays you to scare your peers?
Sally Marrazzo, a freshman English major, is working her second season of Halloween Haunt in Zombie High. “I’ve seen quite a few UMW students slinking through the maze, some of whom I’ve scared,” Marrazzo said.
Marrazzo also accidentally terrified the campus one night after getting off work. “Usually I take my makeup off before the car ride home, but one time I didn’t…that was the night I had to stop at my friend’s dorm building to pick up some work and accidentally spooked some people,” she said laughing. “I think they just didn’t expect to see a zombie outside.”
The makeup that the monsters wear is professional quality stage makeup that is applied every night by a makeup artist. Because of its high quality and staying power, the makeup lasts for days after a shower, which can lead to some embarrassing moments.
“One time I went to classes with faded black makeup all over my neck and didn’t notice until a classmate told me. I was pretty embarrassed,” said freshman theatre major and a doll in The Doll Factory Abbey Delaney.
Balancing such a strenuous, time consuming job and classes is not always easy. All three of the monsters commented on the difficulty of making time to study and do homework over the weekends. “While I wouldn’t trade getting to scare the life out of people, one thing I didn’t quite anticipate was how hard it would be to balance academics, friends, and Haunt when all my weekends are spent, for the most part, at Kings Dominion,” Marrazzo said
Monsters are generally at the park from 3 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and until 10:30 p.m. on Sundays. This, combined with the demanding physical expectations leads the monsters to become exhausted and sore all weekend, and sometimes into the week.
As the season draws to a close, the monsters of UMW are simultaneously relieved and saddened that they will have to wait another year to scare unsuspecting visitors.
On one hand, there will be more time to devote to focusing on school work, but on the other, they will be saying goodbye to the close-knit family of Halloween Haunt and to the terrifying mazes that they call home during the fall.
The last days of the season are Oct. 30 and 31, so come down to Kings Dominion and support your fellow Eagles…if you dare.