Haunted House Workers Reveal Their Weirdest Experiences Ever | 22 Words

Happy Halloween! It's the spooky season, and October 31 is right around the corner. Everyone is scrambling to find the perfect costume and deck out their homes in festive gear. That means it's prime time for haunted houses; a seasonal attraction for people to visit and get the pants scared off of them. Of course, plenty of weird haunted house experiences can happen in the process — it comes with the territory!

So several haunted house workers decided to share the craziest moments they've ever had while trying to get some good scares in. Because apparently, even the people in the ghoul makeup can get weirded out by something. That's just the magic of Halloween, right?

Check out the weirdest haunted house experiences of the Halloween season!

Here's a perfect setup for scares.

Maybe 5-6 years ago I worked at an amusement park that converts much of the park into multiple haunted houses. I worked in the area that was a haunted butcher shop, I was in a room that was supposed to be where everything got gutted and the wall had this thick fake gore with a person-shaped outline. I wore a suit that had the same fake gore on the front. In the dark light, I was practically invisible. -rico0195

And it's even easier when friends are in on the prank!

One girl was on her phone and totally not paying attention, but her friends saw right through my camouflage and motioned for me to hop in line behind their friend. I followed them for a little way and finally, this chick looks up from her phone and starts to turn to talk to her friend, not realizing that I was mere inches behind her. She turns and was close enough that I can see her pupils as they widen. She jumped probably a foot in the air and sprinted through the rest of the maze. Her friends couldn't stop laughing on the way out. -rico0195

Don't trust the "pretty" room in the haunted house.

The coolest room I ever worked in was very innocent-seeming at first. It was the last room in a "fairy tale" themed house. It looked like the inside of a little storybook cottage. Cutesy music was playing, there was a fake window with a meadow painted outside it. On a wall was a chalkboard and pieces of chalk available.

The chalkboard was split down the middle by a line, said "Were you scared?" at the top and gave you the option to mark yes or no on one side of the line. That's where I came in.


Here's the room's REAL purpose:

The chalkboard was actually a drop panel (essentially a hidden window that loudly slams open to reveal a cast member on the other side). I was painted up like a horrible, gory Snow White. When I'd drop the panel, it also triggered all the lights in the room to go out except for blacklights which revealed hidden evil drawings all over the walls and an air cannon would blast people from behind, making them feel like something was touching them.


It sounds like a good time, right?

It was just the best room because people felt safe, they finally let their guard down when they saw this cheerful space and when they went to put a mark on the chalkboard, often bragging to their friends "That wasn't scary", that's when BANG! Blackout, satanic scrawlings everywhere, air cannon smacking their heads and Evil Snow White was cackling in their faces all in the span of 1 second. They always ran out shrieking bloody murder. Never trust the last room. -ALasagnaForOne

This haunted house is actually supposedly haunted!

via: Getty

I worked at a haunted house that used to be a slaughterhouse that many believed was actually haunted. I worked in a room that was a pitch-black winding corridor with many secret doors so I could get 4 scares on a group by myself.

At the end we have moving floors (plywood with balls under them) that are very loud when you step on them and shift slightly, making most people look down even though it's pitch black.


Listen, clowns are just a big NOPE.

My favorite scare would be to sit at the end of the hallway, waiting to hear them touch the first moving floor (audio queues were important), then click on my flashlight, point it up at my face (I wore a 3 headed clown mask) and just fucking charge at them. So you now you have a creepy looking clown guy charging at you, the moving floor is making the footsteps into really loud bangs, and you can't go anywhere since your hands are on the walls guiding you through the darkness and your group is behind you blocking your escape.


Scare goals: achieved.

The dread you see on some of these tough-guy group leaders is hilarious. I get as close as I can, shut the light off, and just silently walk backward and disappear through another door.

The number of people that pissed themselves on that scare was astounding. I had only even made 2 people piss before I thought of doing that. Then I got my number to 7 in the last couple weeks of the season.


This haunted house got an overload of reapers. Literally.

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All-volunteer haunted house and one year we have like 10 teen guys show up dressed as the Grim Reaper. OK, well, hm... the organizers decide to put them all together in a corridor and make people walk a gauntlet through menacing scythes.


Don't fear the reapers!

This one young woman is really freaked out as she edges through the rooms; senses on high alert, visibly shaking. As a living mannequin, I decide to just say a quiet “good eeevening" which sends her scrambling away from me into the Reapers’ corridor. They all converge eagerly, scythes flashing-

-and she shrieks and drops like her strings got cut. She’s passed out cold. All the Grim Reapers are standing over her uncertainly, shocked. Then from one skull comes a wavering, really worried: “Oh, s**t. We killed her."


Now that's a scarecrow.

At the local state park/camping area my family would go camping every year for Halloween. Everyone decorated their campsites and the kids went around trick-or-treating. One year I took a large pumpkin and carved it hallowing it out through the bottom. I covered my hair in an orange bag and painted my face the same color as the inside of the pumpkin. I put the pumpkin on my head and I dressed in over-sized clothes stuffing them with leaves and put on a pair of red gloves which I attached fake claws to.

Everything was topped off with a nice black cloak and then I taped a pair of monster hand gloves to my wrists to hide my actual hands and make me look like I was essentially a scarecrow, and a real - though very dull- sword.


Ah, the famous last words.

I then took my place in the field with the other decorations but I made sure I was reasonably close to the edge where people would walk by. My first one was the best. A family walks up with two kids. The kids are telling the mom that I am real. The mom is telling the kids I am not real and she decides to show them by coming up and touching me. She comes close and looks back at the kids saying, "See, it's not real."


A satisfying haunting, and an adorable twist!

At which point I raise the sword in my left hand, reach for her hand with my right as I step forward and the kids lose their s**t. She turns around and sees me and tries to walk back but just falls on her butt screaming. The kids run. The dad was doubled over in laughter literally in tears. Once the mom got herself under control, I offered her a hand and help her up. The kids, who had stopped about 15 feet away are yelling "We told you so!" And the mom is fake hitting me as she half laughs and curses at me. The dad could still hardly breathe.

The best part, though, was the fact that I was 14 and that night I also unknowingly frightened a little girl of 11 who around 15 years later I would marry.


Another great Halloween trope: haunted dolls.

via: Getty

I worked at a haunted house when I was younger as a youth job, it was a lot of fun. I had to sit in this narrow hallway in a doll costume and sit perfectly still. Then when people passed me I would suddenly move, making it look like I was trying to grab them, and do my best creepy voice saying stuff like "come play with me" or "stay with me, FOREVER". I got some great reactions, though some stand out more in my memory.


This guy was NOT having it!

The dude that tried to scootch by the opposed wall while muttering "nope, nope, noPE, NOPE" and when I reached for him, he did this weird jump thing, the kind you see cats doing in videos while yelling "F-- NO, ANNABELLE-LOOKING WITCH."


Scare off ALL the dude-bros!

Then there was this group of dude-bro looking guys that were one hundred percent sure I was a human-sized doll, spending the whole walk down the hallway saying stuff like "that isn't that scary, it doesn't even look very life-like", and weren't they surprised!

God being a scarer was fun, 10/10 would do again.


Some costumes have multiple uses!

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My ren faire garb is the habit of a Benedictine monk. All black, deep cowl. Lots of people assume I’m death or a Nazgul or something. The cloth of the cowl is thin enough that you can see through it pretty clearly as long as it’s right against your face.

The fun part is that I can stand very still for extended periods. Not really prone to fidgeting. I’ve had multiple people assume I was a prop while I wait for my wife to use the bathroom.

One year I used it to give out candy at Halloween. :) Just stood there, making very slow, very repetitive movements like a cheap lawn decoration.


Years of experiences mean LOTS of stories!

I've been scaring off and on for years, so there are a lot.

-I worked as a generic scarer where my creepy makeup was having one of my eyes blown out. So I had mountains of goo on my face every night. A guy got freaked out and basically face-palmed me right in my fake non-eye. He then looked down at his hand covered in sticky fake blood and gore, gagged, and said "Oh God." Ran out of the exit.


Good to know people usually apologize after they punch!

- I was a scary clown at a different haunt. Had a very loud horn rigged to a power drill. Think of a cartoon "Ah-oogah" type thing. A few rooms back, we had a first-night volunteer who, IMO, was kind of a dick to do this because you're interfering with the enjoyment of other people going through the house since you're not in your place/are rushing them through where they're going to run into others, but w/e. He has a person in this group freaked out and decides to chase them out of the rest of the house with his chainsaw. They come into my room. I go to hop out with my horn, essentially trapping them between a scary clown and a maniac with a chainsaw. It all happened in a split second, and the end result was that I got full-on decked right in the ear. Fight or flight is no joke. They felt really bad about it and apologized a ton. Most people who hit you do. -A19C89

Here's another insane clown experience:

- Same scary clown. Less of a fear reaction, more of a wtf. My makeup was bloody and gross and I wore tooth stain, so my teeth looked rotten and disgusting. All this to say that there was nothing sexy about me in my makeup. A guy comes through acting macho with his girlfriend. He looks at me, makes an "mm" face, and says something along the lines of, "Oh baby, you are so sexy." Number one rule in haunting: if you can't scare them, entertain them. So I fell right out of creepy mode and blew him a flirty kiss complete with a rotten-teeth smile.  -A19C89

And the girlfriend had the WEIRDEST reaction.

The girlfriend immediately freaks out on me. Starts calling me a b**** and telling me to leave her boyfriend alone or she'd kick my butt. I reiterate that I'm covered in blood, gore, and essentially have faux meth teeth. I'm not exactly sure where the threat was there, but I was glad to be behind the clown cage bars for that one. -A19C89

...Oh, hon.

Simple one. Regular old jump scare. Lady screams and makes an oh-no face, then quietly says, "I just... peed on myself." -A19C89

A haunted house in a real haunted prison? Yikes!

via: Getty

- Volunteered one night at the haunt set up in the Mansfield Reformatory. (As an aside, scaring people in an actual haunted prison is amazing, 10/10, would do again.) Ended up as a corpse in the "morgue." I'd been given some mouth blood earlier on in the night because I wanted to have some oozing down my chin. This stuff was almost black. Very gross-looking. I didn't need the full tiny cup I'd been given to complete my look, so for kicks, I took it with me to my room and hid it with my water and stuff. I realized it was getting late and asked for the time. Very likely next group coming through was going to be the last, so I took the blood, tipped it back into my mouth and waited. -A19C89

Fake blood will always get the scare!

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This was one of those houses where you could touch people if they paid extra, and lo and behold, the last group is just two burly dudes without a care in the world, and they're wearing the "you can touch me" glow necklaces. My friend/the other person in the room knew what I was doing and just sort of lurked creepily to let me do the thing. I approached, put my arms on the shoulders of one guy to stop them. "What does she want?" one friend asked. And that's when I proceeded to let this torrent of black blood gush out of my mouth, all down my face and the front of my hospital gown. "Jesus f***ing Christ." Golden. -A19C89

Okay, that's rude!

I actually knew a couple of the actors in a Fright Night event at a farm about an hour away and, when I entered the first of like 12 scares, I tried to comfort my older brother by saying, "It's okay [brother's name]." and putting my hands on his shoulders.

One of the actors heard me say this, unfortunately for my brother, and followed us for the entire scare, screeching his name at every turn. Even I was losing it.

He didn't partake in any of the other scares, needless to say.


Turns out, using names is super effective!

I live in a small town and our haunted house is volunteer-run. The actors always use people's first names. It makes it so much worse. I got so scared one year that I took off running and slammed my head against a fire extinguisher. Lights went on so they could make sure I didn't have a head wound, lol. -Socksnglocks

It's a pull, not a push!

Not a scarer, but I have a feeling I (and by proxy the group I was with) was this person's best scare. Our group was in a dark maze filled with chainsaw maniacs all dressed in black. After a couple of scares, all the chainsaws went quiet, setting a very uneasy calm. I had been sent to the back of the group because I wasn't fazed by the haunted house section.

As we came upon the end of the maze, I heard footsteps behind me. Thinking this was another group, I said 'hey, we think the exit is this way.'

Turns out I was wrong. Not about the exit, but the fact that it was another group. It was one of the chainsaw maniacs, and they responded by revving the chainsaw. Cue our entire group and accordioning up on door out of the maze because the sickos who designed it built it so the door opens in, not out.


Haunted house zombies like to coordinate!

I volunteered at a zombie-themed haunt one year. There was a guide with each group and a definite path for the guests to follow. Which meant that the zombies had plenty of behind-the-scenes ways to get through the haunt without being seen. And if one of us found out anything at all about one of the guests, we shared that info quickly with as many other zombies as possible. We'd let everyone know names, who was the most scared walking through, and who was touching the actors. It made for a much scarier event for many. We even had a chalkboard wall where we kept track of how many people needed to be taken out through the "oh s**t" doors - the ones who were too scared to get through the haunt. There were a few hundred cowards. -cke324

Some haunted houses have the most interesting settings!

via: Getty

So I worked as a scare actor at a haunt on an old aircraft carrier from WWII for a couple of years. There were two parts to the haunt, one below deck in what was called 'sick bay' which was mainly the ship itself being old and creepy. Up top was the more traditional Halloween haunt maze with themed rooms and chainsaw guys. Normally I worked in sickbay, but that night I was put in the maze. I was in the bathroom themed room and was the victim of the deranged plumber actor. So I'm sprawled out on the floor and when people walk by, I lunge and groan and beg for help. It worked pretty well.


Life lesson: don't wear heels to a haunted house.

Then this one woman came in wearing high heels. I don't know who wears high heels to a haunted house on an aircraft carrier but hey, you do you. Anyways she doesn't see me on the ground and manages to step on my arm with her heels. I know we had strict rules about not touching the patrons, but due to the pain/surprise, I wasn't thinking, and I grabbed her ankle in hopes to get her off me.

This lady screamed and bolted for the emergency exit hallway that would take her out of the haunt, leaving her friend behind and dumbfounded. I felt terrible at the time that she missed out on the rest of the haunt but now I laugh about it because I really scared her.


Ever heard of a Valentine's-themed haunt?

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Different haunt for Valentine's Day in a defunct mall. It was set up in a vacant department store, and my room had one of those pillars with a mirror on it. The room was set up like a bedroom, with an actual four-poster bed. There was ample room to hide behind the pillar and jump out at people, and people expected this. I'd often see people think they were being clever and trying to get the drop on me. I, however, was lying on top of the canopy for the four-poster bed. There was a wooden board up there strong enough to support me and keep me out of sight. They'd fail to find anyone behind the pillar, turn, and then I lunged at them from the canopy and they'd scream.

I really loved that job.


It's the Wild West out here!

I worked for a rather popular haunted house/hayride/cornfield. It's made the Travel Channel shows a few times.

So my now-husband and I were supposed to be dead cowfolk in a wild west scene. The way it was set up is the people walk in through a big opening in the front, there are two "buildings" on either side where two actors should set off the scene. After that, the people walk around a stable-like fenced off enclosure which put them in this narrow-ish corridor where I and my husband were. I was on a barrel, he was lying under the fence.

From there, the area would open up just a little with a blacksmith (the dude was actually a blacksmith, he'd spend the night making cool stuff and we'd warm up by the fire while we waited for groups) there was an emergency exit that was part of the scenery, the firing thing (I can't remember what it's called lol sorry) and then the entrance to the "Mineshaft". The entire walkthrough was maybe 40ft. Oh, and it was always really dark. Our main source of light was the fire from the blacksmith and nearby hayride. Other than that, we had a few very dimly lit light bulbs.


There are emergency exits for a reason!

So one night, we were doing our thing, scaring people and whatnot, when this kid comes BOOKING it through the scene. He's all alone and just terrified. I mentioned the emergency exit because if someone ever said "I can't do this, I want out" we'd have to exit character (the only time we were allowed to) and escort them out. So this kid is hauling ass, IDK if he got separated from his group and was trying to find them or if he said 'screw this' and wanted to just hurry out or what but he gave us about a second to try to scare him as he flashed past us. Well, the ground was uneven and I think a little damp and he slipped and fell and slid to a stop against a barrel right by the exit door.


Well, he said he was okay!

My husband and I are like "oh s**t". We walk over to him and he's lying on the ground, panting hard, staring up at us with sheer terror in his eyes. I'm like "for real, dude, not playing. Are you ok?" And he quickly nods, eyes still bugging out and looking between us. I'm like "you sure? Do you need to leave?" He takes a second, looks at us again and shakes his head. I look at my husband and then back at this kid and scream "THEN GET UP AND GET THE HELL OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OOOOOOOOUTTT!!!!!" That kid jumped up like he had rockets strapped to his back and bolted into the mine shaft, leaving me and my husband rolling. Good times... -suestrong315

Don't grab unless you wanna be grabbed back!

I volunteer as a wall of spooky living mirrors in a little family-friendly haunted house for a couple of nights every Halloween season. Basically, I poke my hands and a plastic skull through panels of stretchy silver fabric while kids are walking by. The best are the kids who are brave enough to announce that they know it's not real, it's just someone behind the wall, and to try to grab me through the fabric...but not fast enough to get their hands away before I grab back. Turns out that even if you're feeling brave, you still screech when a mirror grabs your fingers and tugs. -sn0qualmie

Note to self: zombie repellent doesn't work.

Not a haunted house, but a zombie run. I was the last zombie before you could escape.

I’m 4ft 11. I look pretty weak and I wear glasses (which I had fixed with tape as part of my costume - I was supposed to have been a medic before I became a zombie). Despite how I look, I have a very loud voice, am good at screaming and I’m a good runner.

My job was to mill about near the end of the course, and catch (and tag as infected) anyone I felt like. I used to approach or look distracted as people crept towards me - not all zombies attacked, so people weren’t sure how to deal with me (plus there were some who had acquired ‘zombie repellent’ and were quite confident - spoiler: zombie repellent doesn’t work). I’d wait until they had just passed me before unleashing an unholy scream and sprinting after them.

I caught quite a few, but the best reactions were a fully grown man who cried actual tears and asked for his mum, and a girl who pissed herself, then threw her water bottle at me.

It was a lot of fun, and all the screaming was quite a good core workout. My abs were agony for days after.


Make them think you're a robot, and then...

I did a bit of time as a scarer when I was 15 and a decade later it's still my favorite job I've had despite it being a fully costumed 6+ hours in near darkness with no break.

A good 20% of the time I had punters fully convinced I was animatronic and the moment where you moved suddenly times just with them trash-talking was absolutely the best.


This scare was so good, the guy did some impromptu advertising!

In particular, I remember a guy who was poking stuff and laughing whilst his girlfriend was kind of scared in general trying to poke through a cage I was in at me. Reacted like a robot for long enough that he got bored and just as he went to go I grabbed his fingers, started waving a knife around like mad and pressed a foot pedal for some sounds.

6 foot plus guy ran out back towards the entrance screaming and my manager came back in to have a laugh, we actually shut down for 20 minutes or so because the guys raving in the lobby caused so much fuss, some thought he was a paid actor, kids started crying and the line doubled up.


The undead can still be decent people!

Not a scarer, but one of my earliest memories involves riding on my dad's shoulders and getting hit in the eye by a haunted house mummy with a fingertip squirt gun. He felt so bad, he leaped out of his sarcophagus and broke character to apologize and make sure I was alright. That's when I learned that the undead could be pretty alright sometimes. -Flaming_Dutchman

It's a superhero scare!

This wasn’t my best scare, but it was the funniest scare. I worked as a clown street performer at a well-known amusement park. Part of my costume was a clown jacket, but I didn’t have a shirt underneath it, so I had bloody makeup all over my bare chest.

One evening, I walked up to a couple who was minding their own business. I was holding my jacket closed so that they couldn’t see my chest. I asked them what their favorite superhero was. I think they both agreed on Batman. At that moment, I screamed “Mine’s THE FLASH!" as I pulled open my jacket and exposed my bloody chest makeup right up in their faces.

It’s incredibly difficult trying to scare someone if you’re already in plain sight, but I managed to pull it off this time. It also gave them a good laugh.

-forever_a10ne Stay tuned because we've collected here some of our favorite costume fails. These people definitely screwed up their Halloweens, but at least they got a good story that might land them on The Tonight Show out of it?