The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here. The lights are dim, the skeletons are in place, and you’ve got just the right amount of cobwebs. You’ve poured all of your blood, sweat, tears, and money into perfecting your haunted attraction. Now the only thing left is acquiring the right scare actors to bring your experience to life.
It’s a no brainer that your cast is a vital aspect of your haunted attraction. Even if you have the coolest animatronics, or scariest special effects, lackluster actors will leave your haunt feeling lifeless. How do you find quality scare actors that will ensure your guests have a fang-tastic night? Let’s talk about how to both recruit and retain a killer cast for your haunted attraction.
1. Getting your advertisement out there
Finding people who want to spend a majority of their weekends with you all throughout haunt season can seem intimidating. Lucky for you, there are a variety of free places that you can advertise your job opening. This can be on your social media pages, on your own website, on Facebook groups directed towards local theater groups or haunt enthusiast groups, as well as local high school or college student job boards. If you have the budget, you can also post on job-listing websites like Craigslist or Indeed for some extra traction. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, and previous cast members if you’re struggling to find help. For some added motivation, offer an incentive like a referral bonus. For example, those who refer an actor that gets hired can get $200, or something similar. Sometimes the people you already know can lead you to the best connections!
2. Host worthwhile auditions
Most haunt applications are then followed by an audition process to really test how actors will perform. Before you have any actors audition, it’s important to collect information on their availability during haunt season, costume size, any special allergies, and so on. Next, have them audition by actually doing. Sounds obvious, right? But what most haunted attraction owners don’t realize is that most people will come in with an idea of what kind of character they want to be, like a mad scientist or deranged clown, but can’t actually act out what it takes to play the part. So see how people react on their feet through a series of improvised games rather than tackling a prepared monologue. After all, scaring the living daylights out of people isn’t something that can be so meticulously planned out. It’s something that comes naturally, and requires a high level of audience interaction that a lot of traditional actors can’t keep up with. Keep this in mind when selecting who is the right kind of scare actor for your haunt.
3. Treat your cast like your after-dark family
Now that you’ve got an all-star cast of actors, how do you make them want to come back next season? Remember that making your haunt a memorable and enticing experience also extends to your employees. One way to do it is by offering free food and drinks to your staff throughout your event. This small gesture really goes a long way to keep your scare actors happy when they’re often working busy weekends that feel like they go non-stop. It also lets them know that you care about them and want to keep them fueled so they can keep their stamina up and produce the best screams possible.
You can also focus on more bonding activities to create a tightly-knit team, increasingly the likelihood that your staff members will want to return. This can be done through having a fun awards ceremony at the end of the season to highlight the actor that improved the most, who got the most screams out of guests, and so on. Or, offer an exclusive “cast member night” where your staff, along with their loved ones, can take a tour through your attraction. It’s likely that most of your scare actors will stay in the same spot in your haunt while they’re working, so doing this allows them to see the full experience. Taking the time to build these kinds of connections doesn’t go unnoticed, and will make your cast feel valued in their efforts. For four more additional ideas, read here.
Never underestimate how important your cast is to the success of your haunt. Most people who get into scare acting do it because they absolutely love it. Don’t lose sight of this– the right actors will leave the best impressions on your audience, leaving them dying to come back. While the recruiting process varies slightly from haunt to haunt, following these tips will help you find that perfect cast of scare actors to bring your attraction to life.
When you’ve gotten your haunt set up and you’re ready to start selling tickets, let HauntPay take care of the rest. Schedule a demo with our team to see how we can help you reach more haunt enthusiasts.