Scare Acting 101 - Trying to Reason with the "Off Season"

Every year scare actors and haunt owners push through a tough schedule. Late nights, bumps and bruises, sleep deprivation and more will wear you down. But somehow when it's all over you wish it hadn't ended so soon. Well, there are some things that will help with the post haunt season blues, and that's what is covered in the article. So here we go:

After the fun ends

The season is over. You're bruised, battered, beaten and sleep deprived. You could probably build a ten foot high pile of water bottles or energy drinks behind your set. But despite all of the pain and exhaustion, you're incredibly sad that it's over.

It's a common thing that effects many scare actors, yet most of us never talk about it. Similar how most NASCAR drivers never talk about other drivers getting into accidents, it's something we all go through but don't discuss. I'm assuming that's true because it was in Days of Thunder and Tom Cruise wouldn't lie about something like that.

In all seriousness, it's a huge mistake to not acknowledge it. We should discuss it and help each other as a community. 

Don't need makeup for this sad clown face.

Picking yourself back up

We all feel down from time to time. Feeling sad or depressed after the haunt season is over is common and usually temporary. That being said, I'm not a Doctor and I don't play one on TV, so if you think what you're feeling is more than situational or if you have any thoughts of self harm, I ask that you seek help from a qualified mental health professional. This is strictly for us scare actors dealing with post season haunt withdrawal. 

I just want to scare people.

When something that is significant to you ends, there's always a sense of loss and mourning. That applies to any type of loss, whether it's a relationship, a friendship or a job. So, viewed from that perspective, it actually seems logical to feel down in the dumps after the season is over.

So, the question is what can you do to get past the post season blues?

Haunt "support groups"

A great way to keep the blues at bay it to stay in contact with other haunt industry professionals. Social media can provide quite a few resources to help with doing exactly that.

Teamwork makes the scream work!

Granted, Facebook is mostly used nowadays for people to share political opinions with others who absolutely didn't ask to hear them. But there is still some redeeming value there if you go looking for it. There are quite a few quality Haunt and Scare Actor related groups that are available for you to join.

This is a great way to converse with people who share your interests in the haunt industry. There are also quite a few local haunt groups as well that can lead you to meetups and conventions in your area.

Better yet, consider making a group for your own haunt for everyone to stay in contact with each other during the year.

Learn more about acting

Scare acting, just like any job, is something that most people will want to get better at every year. Reading my articles is a good first step, and thank you for that. But this is hardly the only resource available online.

Malcolm Gladwell once said that it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of a complex skill. If most of us only work one month per year on scare acting then why not spend more time during the rest of the year to master it?

Just trying to figure out a backstory for my character.

Spend some time online, there are numerous sites with tips on scare acting, and running a haunt. There are also plenty of pod casts available on a wide variety of Haunt related topics. Many haunt conventions offer classes and workshops on scare acting as well, which leads to my next suggestion...


There are quite a few Haunt conventions held across the country every year. Some of the major conventions on haunt industry are huge events that offer a lot to do (including haunt tours). There are also smaller local conventions in different regions of the country that offer many of the same benefits on a smaller scale.

The key is to research which convention will fit you best, some are intended to cater to actors and haunt owners while others are geared more for vendors and wholesale sellers. Regardless, conventions are a great way to learn more about acting and the haunt industry in general.

There are a multiple benefits to attending haunt conferences. Not only do you learn scare acting techniques outside of your current skill set, but these events also give you the opportunity to talk to other people in the industry with common interests and build relationships with other haunters.

Plan for next year

Does your haunt allow you to be any character you want or are you cast in a specific role? If you can create your own character, then create more than one. Develop the character, backstory, and personality for that character. Think of lines for them and how they would act and respond as that character.

Even if you don't intend to use the character, or if you're in a haunt where you are cast in a role, it's excellent practice to create characters and develop the role, traits, and characteristics for that character. It will help you refine your talents as an actor and make you more desirable to haunts who may want to hire you.

And, hopefully it will make the off season seem a little bit shorter.

Kenneth Leary is the author of Practical and Theatrical Scare Acting. He has worked in in the haunt industry since 2012 and is a year round student of scare acting and haunting in general. The purpose of this blog is to help others benefit from his research and experience in a humorous and informative way. He can be contacted at for questions and comments. He doesn't get paid for this, so he's not too full of himself yet and will be happy to talk to you.


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