Every year, Knott’s Berry farm puts on the biggest, longest running special ticketed Halloween party ever. Knott’s Scary farm will celebrate its 40th anniversary this Fall and they are preparing to knock it out of the park by hiring the scariest monsters available. Over the course of four days, producers of the event auditioned and interviewed endless amounts of would be monsters to fill a whopping 1,000 positions. These parts range from street actors that roam the park to those that inhabit the mazes to those that simply direct guests along the paths. Each part is important and each is needed.

New Hires, as the first-time frighteners are called, are given an appointment time to meet with casting. After getting their paperwork in order, they are asked to enter backstage and wait for their audition time.

The hopeful monsters are escorted backstage to the audition and interview area, where they are asked to act out a random scenario. For instance, they could be a monkey hosting a cooking show, or a mad scientist ordering at Starbucks. The idea is to see how their improvisational skills are and how they create a presence.

From here, the more talented actors are sent for a one on one interview and possibly cast in either a maze or scare zone.

After the audition and the interview, the new actors are sent to wardrobe. Along the way there are some interesting things to see.

Ooooo look Delierium!

Is that the exit to Dominion of the Dead?

Timothy in wardorbe is tasked with fitting hundreds of new actors with their costumes the minute they are hired. How DOES he do it?

Clowning around in wardrobe.

If a scare-actor is cast in a part which requires particular make up, they are then sent to the make up department to be fitted for prosthetics. Otherwise they are ready to go! The work that is put into this event every year is truly impressive. Knott’s is a pro at this and despite a few stumbles in the past, they seem to be tightening the show up dramatically this year.

Speaking of better show, we have noticed a few more interesting things being touched up in Ghost Town and were even invited to get a look at one of the simpler, more charming nuances at the Saloon. If you wander over to the Boot Hill Graveyard you can be treated to some recently touched up peek-ins (the little dressed sets inside some of the buildings, many of which are animated).

The Barrel House

Inside the barrel house the dust has been cleared and the scene inside freshened up.

The pages of the book sit, clean and crisp as the day they were made

Same thing in the Engine house…

No dust here and the figure looks great.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: there is a little shadow effect over at the Calico Saloon that is only visible at night. Park Decorator, Jeff Shaddic too us backstage to see the quaint mechanism which makes the effect work.

At night, you’ll see shadows appear in the window.

On the inside, the original mechanism still functions and creates an animated scene of a cowboy getting fresh with one of the saloon gals.

It’s these small touches that add such a rich atmosphere to the park and really add value to one’s experience.

We would also like to wish a heartfelt congratulations to all the monsters who were selected for this year’s Halloween Haunt.  You are now part of a frighteningly fun family of monsters, designers and performers that you will never forget.

For those of you interested in going to the 40th anniversary of Haunt this year, MiceChat will be having its very own Haunt meet on Saturday September 22nd.  The night will include special access to shows and mazes, dinner, backstage tours, a chance to meet the folks who bring the Haunt to life (or should we say death?) and more!  Tickets will be going on sale any day now, but you can learn all about it here!