"She Fell Right Inside The Coffin." Haunted House Workers Share Their Funniest Horror Stories
You're calm, cool, and collected. You're ready for anything to jump out from behind the door and scare you. You're definitely not going to chicken out.
We've all gone through the psychological experiment of walking through a haunted house. Whether you triumphed and made it to the end or lost it and ran screaming to the chicken exit, you know that when things start jumping out at you in the dark, it's impossible to maintain your composure.
But what it's like to be on the other side? To be the one doing the scaring? Now we know thanks to these Redditors, a medley of professional scare artists and amateur entertainers who responded to the question on Reddit, "What's the funniest thing you've seen while working at a haunted house?" The answers will surprise and thrill you at the moment you least expect it... kind of like a haunted house... see what I did there?
We had a guy who would chase after you with a chainsaw (chain removed) after you left the house. You know, just run after you a few steps when you came out the door. Well, one time these two girls came out and I swear to God, one of the girls just had like an extreme response and I guess her body chose fight over flight. She literally chased the guy down while he was yelling "I'm just kidding! It's just a joke!" and she kicked him in the groin so hard he vomited. She apologized and said she just freaked out.
I was playing a severed head, with my body inside a table and my head resting on top. A group of five people led by a girl comes into my room and when they get close to me I say "hey guys" fairly nonchalantly. The girl in front screams and falls backwards with a domino effect, taking everyone else in her group down with her.
I volunteered at a haunted house for a few years in high school. The best thing that happened was that I saw a girl from grade school going through the room. I was wearing a mask so she couldn't recognize me, and as she passed I whispered her name. She flipped out, starting shrieking and ran away to the next room. The next day she asked on Facebook who was working in the haunted house. I never told her who it was. Sorry Jenna.
Was a faceless hood trying to scare people from behind the curtains, but didn't hear them approaching, so I didn't manage to pop out to scare them. They pulled open the curtains and asked me which way the exit was. It was kind of humiliating and amusing at the same time.
I worked the last couple years volunteering at a haunted barn. Last year I was a nurse in charge of the creepy, old-timey asylum room. I wore scrubs and had my hair in weird pigtails, lots of white makeup with dark circles under my eyes. I stood right where people walked in and I just stood still, no blinking, no head turning. I'd just follow them with my eyes. While people were focused on me trying to figure out if I was real or not, another guy would jump out of the coffin in a straight jacket and scare the crap out of people.
One night a girl was staring at me and he popped out to scare her. She jumped so high she actually fell into the coffin with him. To make matters worse he couldn't help her get out because he was in a straight jacket, so I had to go help lift her out. Which was a struggle because I was laughing so hard.
This one was just a great memory from when I was working at Halloween Horror Nights. Around 2 am on a Saturday, the houses were starting to shut down, and only a few stragglers were going through the house.
Just before we are about to close the entrance, this one last guy arrives, all alone. He was in a full designer suit and carrying a briefcase, but his clothes and hair were rumpled like he had just arrived on a flight. Apparently, this guy told the cashier when he was buying his ticket that he was on a business trip from Japan and that his first activity was to try an American haunted house.
He just ambled through the different rooms, never scared but just fascinated as people popped out to surprise him. I can still remember the look of childlike wonder and joy on his face as he took everything in.
It was supposed to be a standard jump scare scene where a guy with a demon mask pops out, spooks the tour group, then disappears back behind the wall. But I guess the guy got a little overzealous?
Apparently, he said: "I'm gonna eat your legs!"
Tour group: "Did you just say you're going to eat our legs?"
Demon recedes back behind the wall, leaving more questions than answers
Tour group: "Okay, cool."
Not exactly an actor, but I was the guy who opened the door when a group went from one room to another. I wore this black cloak that had a hood that almost entirely covered my face (but thin enough for me to see through it). These two kids (13-15 years old) came around the corner as I was moving my head back and forth looking at people and one of them said "dude these animatronics suck." I took a single step forward and he screamed in a really high pitch and jumped so far back he smacked into the wall. His friend spent a solid minute laughing at him.
I went to a haunted house last night with one of my male friends, and at 6'4 he's a pretty big guy compared to me at 5'3. Well he complained the whole time because all the actors literally stepped around him to try and scare me. One even said "excuse me."
I hear a lot of people saying that when a family comes in, they try to scare the kids cause they're the easiest to get a reaction out of. But my brother does street scares on halloween, and I like his way better. He goes the other direction and spooks the parents, because it's much more fun to watch grown adults screaming while the kids stand there laughing.
I went with a group last year and one of the "scarers" left their walkie-talkie sitting out. As I walked by I heard them all saying to go after one specific guy in our group who a bunch of them went to high school. Sure enough, nobody even tried to go after anyone else. After ten minutes or so of getting spooked out of his wits while we stood there laughing he finally caught on.
I helped out with a family-friendly Halloween walk a few years back, mostly involved sitting in a bush and letting some of the kids walk a little past me before making some kind of sound in the middle of the group. However when the parents were far from the kids and they passed by me, I would whisper, "College tuition is rising- oooooOOOoooOoo!"
I work at a haunt in Pennsylvania. Last year, my job was to sit in a shed where the exterior had been modified to look like a small mausoleum in the graveyard portion of the haunt. Thanks to a relatively simple system I knew the names of at least three people in each group that would come through. There were speakers hidden throughout the graveyard, and I'd sing into the mic, "Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies..." Then I'd pick a name and ask "Why won't you play with me, (insert name)?"
People would lose their minds, especially since part of the "lore" for the house was that a young girl had died on the grounds and she was buried in the graveyard.
My brother worked at a haunted jailhouse place in my town. He said it was all going well until like an hour before it ended. Nobody was showing up and he had to relieve himself really badly. He can't leave his station, so because the haunted house is in a tent on a grassy patch he decides to urinate in the corner. As he unzips and starts, he hears talking and commotion. A large group of people reach his cell and look in expecting a scare, but instead they see a wolf man urinating in the corner. He claims his response was to turn his head and growl at them without stopping.
A friend of mine used to own an old Victorian building where they ran a haunted house during the halloween season, and the rest of the year they'd do "Ghost Tours" through the building.
One night we had a group of 10 friends in their mid-30s who were wanting a night away from the kids. During the off season, a lot of the props and decorations were stored either in the upstairs or the basement to keep them out of the way. Some dude from the group snuck away to look into one of the rooms in the basement. He didn't notice the big sign that said "PROPS," walked in and started screaming hysterically at something.
What freaked him out? Not any of the creepy props, but a large mirror in the middle of the room that made him think someone was moving around in there, sending him into a full-on panic.
I was a scare actor for a haunted corn maze back in high school. People would enter in groups, and I was right near the beginning. I was dressed in all black, had long "fingers" with claws, and a burlap sack mask over my head. Right before me, however, were a group of killer clowns. My job was to crawl out of a ditch onto the path right after the clown scene.
This one girl comes in with her group of friends and is immediately freaking out at the clowns. Refused to go through. After much coaxing, she finally decided to do the rest of the maze. Well, during her freaking out I had crawled out from my ditch and ended up in the middle of the path right in front of her. After they finally convince her to go through, she looks up and makes eye contact with me. With my long claw hand, I slowly make the "come here" motion. She immediately screams "are you KIDDING ME" and storms out. Didn't see her again for the rest of the night.
I had been volunteering at a haunted forest attraction sponsored by the Red Cross. I was in the section where we dressed up like zombies and lurched out of the forest at people. We did this for two weeks, but, on Halloween night, I went to a party beforehand. When I got to the haunted forest, I realized I had left my zombie costume at home, so instead I had to spook people as my Halloween character: the lovable, cat-like space adventurer Ratchet from the Ratchet & Clank games.
Long story short, Ratchet was a big hit and we got a ton of laughs. One guy was like, "I love you Ratchet, why are you attacking me?" as he ran away.
My friend and I worked in a room as crazed mechanics who were operating power tools on a dead woman. We used air compressed drills and acted out drilling into this dead woman. Ripping her head off and such. Now, like most places there's a no touching rule. However, the attachment bit to these drills are just cylinders so we could run them along surfaces to make metal grinding noises and scare people. The wooden floor would vibrate violently if the drills were used on them. Well, we had a group of teenage girls come in that were so scared of these drills and that we were going to "kill them" that they ran into the corner of our room, climbed a shelf and stayed up there in pure panic. We couldn't get them down for about ten minutes and had to act out the scene a few more times because other groups were sent in.
We had a community haunted house when my kids were little. Well my son and I came up with this bright idea for a prank, to make his friends freak out. I was in a crazy clown mask and when he came up to the haunted house with his friends, I'd jump out and grab him and haul him away screaming into a dark garage. My son was wearing a Batman costume so he could easily blend into any group.
Well, group comes by, I grab Batman, he lets out a blood-curdling scream and I'm thinking "wow, you're doing a good job."
Turns out wasn't my kid. He was in the next group...
I was an actor at The Haunted Hotel (located in the basement of this huge building downtown San Diego) and one season, we literally had half a car attached to a track that can be pushed quickly forward, complete with a real working horn and headlights. So when people came through in total darkness, a staff member would shove the car into motion, blare the horn and the headlights simultaneously, blinding the guests and making them go absolutely nuts. I have never laughed this hard in my entire life at anything. People's reactions were absolutely horrified on a debilitating level, their faces were indescribable, I'm talking 'preparing for death' faces. People would fall over backwards, push their dates in front of them, whatever they could do to avoid getting run over.
I couldn't breathe and my abs constantly hurt from barreling over laughing every night. Most incredible job I've ever had.
I had a little girl come in with her mom. She got to my room, where I was "the living doll." I had prosthetics that made it look like my eyes had been cut out, wrapped in barbed wire in a tattered tutu. She and her mom screamed, but then the girl started clapping and laughing. I curtsied and she said, "Mom, I wanna do THAT!" Her mom was still panting and shaking. I looked at her, looked at her mom, and knew I had enough time to ask if she would like to join me for the night (we had a break before the night shift). Happily enough her mom agreed, and we got that girl in full makeup with a sailor suit and bright doll eyes.
Night comes, and we held hands and scared the living daylight out of people. Bonding through haunting.
I volunteered once at a haunted house. I was the chainsaw murderer or something like that and I had a real electric chainsaw but with a rubber/fake chain. I jumped up at one girl who was by herself but I got no response, so I thought, "Darn, didn't get her."
I look away for a few seconds to see if someone else was coming. When I looked back, she had fainted and was lying on the floor.
I was a psycho chainsaw clown that chased people out of the exit of the haunt. I'd say the funniest thing is when people lose their minds and just fall all over each other. Also, some people have literally zero survival instinct and when I jump out and chase them they don't run, they just immediately cower into a corner. I would yell, "well isn't this awkward" to make them laugh and usher them out.
Back in the mid-90s I went to a haunted house with my family. I was around 8 and my little sister was like 4. She had those light-up shoes that everyone loved back then, and still do. One of the actors saw the shoes light up and thought they were on fire. He broke character and started screaming "FIRE!" My mom didn't skip a beat and was just like "those are her shoes."
I was at Universal Studios in Orlando during Halloween Horror Nights, going through the Nightmare on Elm Street exhibit. One of the rooms had a strobe light and was filled with actors dressed in blood-ridden sheets, who walked around like zombies. In the group in front of us, there was one really loud guy who kept talking about how stupid the whole exhibit was.
Suddenly, he found himself surrounded by three of Freddie's victims and started shrieking at the top of his lungs, then pushed the actor in front of him to the ground and bolted. With all of the fog and lights, you really couldn't tell where anybody was. So loud guy tripped over the actor he'd just pushed to the ground and smacked into the wall, then crumpled to the floor. His buddy ran over and tried to get him up, but this made loud guy start flailing his arms wildly and he accidentally clocked his buddy right in the face, knocking him down too. Security had to lead them out, and as they left we heard loud guy threatening to sue the haunted house, as if the actors had done anything wrong!
This group of girls came in a few years ago, they had clearly been drinking and one of them had a cast on her arm. I was waiting in the final room of the house, which was in a dingy basement, and as the group came through, I jumped out at them. The girl with the cast didn't run out of the door, but instead took a sharp right and banged her arm against the concrete wall, collapsing in pain. She's frozen terrified so I backed off of her, and her friends help her up. As they make their way to the next room, she yells:
"You broke my arm, dude!"
Her friend who's pulling her along: "Becky you broke it last week, you're just drunk!"
Once, a little girl and a woman who I assume was the mother walked into my part of the exhibit. When I scared them both, mom pushed her kid in front, and sprinted away while screaming "survival of the fittest!"
We had a haunted outdoor maze section. I would chase people dressed as a hillbilly werewolf with a real chainsaw (we used a fake chain that wasn't sharp).
I would near the exit in hidden walls, and would literally turn on the chainsaw and start revving it up when they were about five feet away. The smell of real chainsaw exhaust would hang in the air and only added to the effectiveness of the scare.
One night I was scaring a particular group of teenagers particularly well, and had them thoroughly freaked out by the time they were getting to the exit. There was a younger guy around 10 years old who was part of their group. When I revved up the chainsaw and started to run towards them, they all ran screaming through the exit except for this kid. He barely flinched when I ran at him with the saw, and when I got close he just looks at me and says, "If you're a werewolf why would you need a chainsaw?" Proceeds right past me out the exit.
Not an actor, but I had to stop going to haunted houses with my dad. Literally nothing scares him, and he'll go through haunted houses a few turns ahead of the rest of the group while telling the actors to turn everything up to eleven. Not fun.
My costume was vaguely like the girl from The Ring, and this was back in 2004, right after the movie came out. Pink little girl's dress, long black wig over my face. I was pretty tiny back then and quite flexible, so I could contort myself in pretty creepy ways. Add a strobe light and you've got some terrifying movements. Without fail, it was always the huge football players in letter jackets who would absolutely lose their minds in my room--screaming, trying to climb the walls to get away, breaking and running, the whole works. Usually their girlfriends would be standing by calmly. One guy's reaction was especially delicious. Once he saw me in the corner, contorted but slowly uncurling to drag myself across the floor, he screamed "NOPE!" and ran through the nearest wall. Just took it right out (made of plywood, plaster, and some dry wall).
Someone else ended up having to take him out of the exhibit; even once I was out of character he still couldn't stand to be near me. I won an award that year for Best Scarer.
When you're a kid most adults will tell you one thing or another is "cool" and "fun." Odds are you're too young to form any kind of opinion on the matter one way or another. You're a kid, right? You don't know what you're eating for breakfast. However, when you get older and form that larger worldview, you realize that yeah, maybe that one time when you were a kid actually wasn't fun.
These are those stories.