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Well, for one thing, it's the coolest high school newspaper in all the land. Watch our video and find out more.
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
As told to Caroline Wallace, St. Petersburg High
I’ve gone to Howl-O-Scream almost every single year, so obviously I love it. I was looking into working there in high school, but you have to be 18 to audition. During the audition process, the judges made us get up and do crazy things like, “Be a werewolf and dig a grave.” So we would run across the room like a werewolf and start digging a grave. And then in the middle of running they’d be like, “Drop dead!”
I think there are two types of people who work at Howl-O-Scream: People who are actors, and people who really love to scare other people. They range from college kids to 70-year-olds, who have been doing it since it started about 10 years ago. Backstage they always have candy everywhere, and other actors will come up behind you, or make a creepy noise to try to scare you.
We had creative license to figure out our scares and makeup. You can pretty much do whatever you want with the role. We have a stage manager at each house to make sure everything’s going right. I’m part of a half body illusion in the house Zombie Mortuary. I sit in a wooden box that looks like a table and on top is a body with guts hanging out and legs half cut off. My head sticks out of the top so it looks like it’s me. I have another guy in my room who’s cutting me up and operating on me. I just lay there and when somebody comes, I reach out and scare them.
It can be hard not to laugh. A lot of people will get right up next to my face trying to figure out if I’m real or not. Then suddenly I scare them, and they jump back and fall on the floor. It’s really funny when grown men do it. Their wives and girlfriends won’t be scared and the guys will freak out. After they leave the room, sometimes I chuckle to myself. You really have to stay in character unless something bad happens, like if someone punches you. We all have whistles around our necks just in case.
What you learn a lot in Howl-O-Scream is timing. I’m learning exactly where people need to be in my room so that I can scare them most effectively. If they’re not looking at me, the scare doesn’t work. The people at Howl-O-Scream tell us that eye contact, body language and a smile are all really important in scaring. When you combine those three things you get the attention of a person and then you can scare them.
My favorite part of the experience is just dressing up and being somebody different for a night. I get to put on the zombie makeup and be crazy and get a reaction from people.