I love to be scared! Which is why every year I go to Knott’s Scary Farm with my little sister. We scream and cling onto each other and run while we are there. We never allow our husbands to go because we always get made fun of or they try to scare us themselves. They also tell the talent to scare us! This year I was fortunate enough to get to attend Knott’s Scary Farm Scare School. I got a behind the scenes tour of Knott’s Scary Farm and how the talent is trained, how the costumes are made and how the make up is done. I was so super excited to go to Scare School I could hardly wait!
SCARE SCHOOL DOMINION OF THE DAMNED
When we first got there we jumped right in. The talent was practicing their monster voices (they have to use them for 4-8 hours a night!) and their monster walk. They were trained on how to use their voices correctly so they don’t lose them half way through. They also were trained to use their monster walk whenever they were in the park. Even walking from their specific area to the break room they MUST stay in character. Here is a video of them training:
Dominion of the Damned has been a maze for quite a while and is probably one of my favorites. It is Vampire themed and the costumes are amazing, the sets are Gothic and there usually is a lot of blood. Once the talent finished practicing they got placed in the maze. I then realized that we were going to be guinea pigs for them to practice on! When it was ready for us to go in the lights got turned off, the music started playing and then the moans and groans of the monsters started. None of the talent was in costume yet so I thought for sure it wouldn’t be scary….but IT WAS!!! I think I was one of the first of the media to scream and probably the only media to scream several times. I was there by myself and when I finished the maze I really missed my sister!
SPOILER ALERT: Here are some videos from inside the maze. If you haven’t seen this maze and want to be surprised then come back to this post after you have gone to Knott’s Scary Farm to watch these videos:
SCARE SCHOOL WARDROBE AND MAKEUP
After we went through Dominion of the Damned we got to tour the wardrobe and makeup facility. Wardrobe is headed up by Tim Barham. He has been with Knott’s Scary Farm for 20 years and he has never missed a haunt! We learned that all the costumes are custom-made. Nothing is bought. It all starts out as bolts of fabric. They have costume designers that design the costumes for each maze and place in Knott’s. Nothing ever looks the same. The costumes last about 2.5 years which the average (if its good) maze lasts about 3 years max. Unless it’s really really good. Then costumes are redone to stay fresh. Costumes are made with the best fabric and they search for fabric that is heavy-duty since these costumes get a LOT of wear and tear. Tim and his costume crew can get 1000 talent in and dressed in 2 hours. But they also have TONS of laundry to do. It takes about 8 hours to do all that laundry. They go to a local laundromat and pretty much take over the joint….for 8 hours! And I thought 3 loads a day was bad!
Next up was the makeup department headed by Bill Meier. He has been with Knott’s Scary Farm for 22 seasons. He employs several makeup artists to make up the hundreds of talent every night. They do about 335 employees in makeup each night. They put about 102 in prosthetics a night as well. The prosthetics last about 3 nights and then they toss it and start over fresh. They also have a team that hand makes all the prosthetics that they use. For the Tooth Fairy maze they needed something for the dentist. One of the artists took everyday items and created a mask that is one of kind and super scary. They now have a mold that can recreate this mask exactly so that the dentist will always look the same.
Before our next stop we were treated to the Knott’s Food truck. We were able to choose from a Po Boy sandwich with fries or Fish Tacos with fries. I chose the Fish Tacos. They were HUGE and delicious! The fish was lightly breaded and fried with a creamy spicy sauce, shredded cabbage and a sweet tomato relish. It was tasty! The fries were crispy and they had several dipping sauces to choose from. For dessert we had boysenberry soft serve ice cream. YUM-O!
SCARE SCHOOL HISTORICAL TOUR
Ted Dougherty is the official Knott’s Scary Farm historian. He has written a book called Knotts Scary Farm Halloween Haunt a Picture History. Did you know that Knott’s Scary Farm started it’s Halloween Haunt in 1973? We learned this fact along with many others on our historical tour throughout the park. We stopped at some historical points in the park such as the place where there was an actual mummy! Yes that’s right…the park in the early days showcased an actual real life (errr death) mummy! You can’t do that now-a-days but it was fascinating learning about the history behind the Haunt.
Knott’s Scare School Pinocchio Unstrung
Last but not least we got to see the training and be guinea pigs (again) for Pinocchio unstrung. The talent lined up, practiced their monster sound, practiced their walk and then was set in the maze. As we were waiting we could hear the moans and groans of the talent practicing. I was getting scared just standing out front waiting for it! We finally got to go in and I was not disappointed! Again the talent was not in costume but they did a fantastic job of scaring us. They did have some technical difficulty with the music but even without the music they managed to scare the bejeezus out of us. I loved it and can’t WAIT to go back and see the rest of the mazes with everyone in costume and makeup. It’s going to be a great year for Knott’s Scary Farm!