The 5 Stages of Haunt Season

Everybody scream…everybody scrEeEeaaaaAmmm

For professional haunters, Halloween isn’t just one day on the calendar. It’s an intense six weeks filled with late nights and 7-day work weeks that demand our very best performance every time.

Here are the five stages of emotion every haunter experiences during the season.

1. The Antici……pation

Haunters know: Halloween doesn’t start on October 31. Not October 1. Not even September 1. Our work begins months and months before the fall leaves start to change colors. 

As opening night gets closer and closer, you sometimes literally shake with excitement. At the same time, all that preparation requires long hours and you are exhausted. 

2. The Honeymoon 

The butterflies and opening-night jitters subside, and you start to get into the groove. Every night you’re introducing new scares, developing your character, or expertly juggling tasks behind the scenes like a seasoned pro.

Sparks fly. Guests scream. Is there any greater high? 

3. The Monotony 

A few weeks into the season, you’re getting comfortable. You’ve probably encountered a few rowdy or ill behaved customers by this point, which makes the magic of your job fade a little. You’ve worked in all kinds of weather, and had more than a few late nights. You’ve given the same entrance spiel about 1,000 times.

The nights run together. Sleep deprivation sets in. You wonder how you’re going to make it to Halloween. 

4. The Second Wind

Maybe it’s one really good, unexpected scare that helps you make it over the mid-season hump. Or watching a kid go through their very first haunted attraction.

It could be re-watching your favorite scary movie, or even just a kind word from a co-worker that helps you rediscover your love for your haunt. Your energy levels creep back up. You feel strangely refreshed, ready to finish the season strong.

5. The Aftermath

November 1. Exhaustion sets in. There’s still cleanup, teardown, bookkeeping, and season wrap-up work to do. You really have to dig deep for motivation at this point. 

Then, it’s back to reality. For some of us, that means back to our full time jobs. Others are headed for some much-needed time off, or getting straight to work on new scares and counting the days until we can do it all again next year. 

Happy Haunt Season, Haunters!

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