Hired for Haunting: Students enjoy work at haunted houses

Maya Amjadi/Staff Writer

Many students find a thrill in a job they like to call haunting. Panic Park, the haunted house in Cedar Falls has jobs open to high school students for weekends in October from about 6 p.m. to midnight. The job is volunteer work but employees do get a free T-shirt and food when the night they worked is over. Several Cedar Falls students are taking advantage of this opportunity.

Senior Emily Hurban said, “I do it because of the ridiculous amount of fun I have. It’s great to get to act like a crazy person doing a wide variety of ‘heinous’ activities. It’s really amazing to get to see the way people react to the different types of scares. Also, it’s really fun to make people feel extremely uncomfortable and know that they paid for you to scare them.”

Freshman Lauren Hudson said, “I do it with friends, and it is so much fun to scare people, especially if you know them.”

To volunteer at Panic Park, workers don’t have to commit to every night. They come in as many nights as they can. Panic Park provides the costumes and makeup; all volunteers have to do is show up. They can also work in any room they want. Hurban’s favorite room to work is the Doctor’s Room.

People react to these scares in all sorts of ways. Hurban said some common reactions she gets out of people are peeing their pants, crying, screaming, yelling or even threatening out of fright.

“One of my favorite reactions is in this year’s door room. You have to stick your finger in a hole in the door to get it to open, and everyone’s first reaction is ‘No! You’ll cut my finger off!’ But the first rule is we don’t touch them — that would include cutting off body parts.”

While working there, volunteers can think up their own ideas on how to scare the people coming through just as long as they don’t touch them, because that is one of Panic Park’s rules.

Hurban said, “The main guys who run the whole thing think up ideas all year long. They try to only have a version of a room for two years in a row and then they will reinvent it or scrap it. It’s cool to see how the place changes from year to year.”

This weekend, Halloween weekend, the haunted house will be open an additional day, Sunday. And no doubt, there will be several of CFHS students working there.

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