How to Make a GOOD Haunted House

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Stage Fright PosterThe screams, the chills, the panic and the thrills! Nothing is better than scaring the living daylight out of poor innocent children. The best part is when those children are over 40 years old. To successfully pull off a haunted house is a skill only some have. The Ashland High School Drama Department is taking that risk this year and making a creepy haunted house, or in this case, a haunted theater, for their fundraiser.

First of all, what makes a haunted house GOOD?

“The surprise factor,” Braedon Bell, a senior at AHS, answers.

“Not all jumpy things, there has to be some suspense and spine tingling scares too.” Emma Meenaghan, a freshman, says.

It’s the fear of the unknown, no control over the situation, the dark and mysterious creatures and all that jazz. The important thing to remember is it has to have every element that is considered scary: think of the most popular phobias in the world and include them.

There are three elements to making a good and scary haunted house: the location, the cast and crew, the advertisement and publicity.

What goes into these parts to make a truly great haunted house?

The location

The creepier the better. If there happens to be an abandoned barn or warehouse in the area then you might be in luck. This year the Ashland High School drama club haunted house will be inside the theater, how fitting! The place is big enough for a million scares. Stay on your toes…

The cast and crew

A haunted house cannot be filled with a bunch of mannequins- well, yes it can but that wouldn’t be too scary after a while. What is needed are some experienced actors who can keep their character throughout the run of the haunted house. It seems like it has become an unspoken rule as a participant in the haunted house to try and get the actors to break character- so if the actor doesn’t break that makes it all just a little more creepy…

In a haunted house there needs to be a backstage/backup crew. Those are the people that helped before the haunted house started setting up the sets, help put on the scary makeup, etc. But during the haunted house people need to be ready for the unpredictable. What if a large group of scared little high schoolers come through and get scared and accidentally bump the set piece holding up the wall? Well then the backup crew can geStage Fright Postert everything up and running again quite quickly. They should be experienced too. Almost the entire technical crew at the AHS theater has volunteered to help with the haunted house, and if you have ever seen a show in their theater, then you know how great they are.

The advertisement

So, there is the great location and the best bunch of actors and techies- what is missing? Well, if no one knows about the haunted house then how are people supposed to come and support the AHS drama club? That’s an easy one- ADVERTISE. Make a good looking poster and brochure, pass it out all over the community and make sure the school knows all about it. For the Drama Departments “Stage Fright” haunted experience they have posters all over town already.

The AHS Drama Department is having its haunted theater experience on October 26th from 8-10pm at the Mountain Avenue Theater in Ashland for kids 11 years old and up. On October 27th there will be a kids haunted theater from 11-12pm for children 11 and under.

Let’s hope no one has Stage Fright!

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