Halloween – the day of ghosts, ghouls and gruesome costumes – is here! But as the trick-or-treating gets underway, what about the people behind the parties, pranks and pumpkins? There are many people and jobs that make Halloween the day it is, so we spoke to three people who do just that.
You know those Halloween events where you walk around in the dark and people in zombie costumes jump out at you? Well, Madeleine was one of those people we love to hate at the award-winning Shocktober Fest.
Following an audition Madeleine worked in The Cellar, “an interactive horror attraction” where she had to “scare the public as they walked around the haunted cellar, inhabiting animalistic qualities that would put the audience on edge without physically making contact,” she explains.
Even the training was fun, with coaching on vocal, physical and psychological techniques from a SweetDreams horror attraction coach and lessons on how to create the perfect horrific face! Madeleine, who is currently on the MA Acting Course at East 15, says her experience in scare acting was a great one, if sometimes challenging when the ‘audience’ is unpredictable and in a vulnerable situation.
But if you’re a budding actor, these seasonal opportunities are a great way to try out a new form of acting away from stage, TV and film. “They really give you a chance to meet your audience and be involved in a way traditional theatre doesn’t always give,” she says. “It’s also a lot of fun and a great way to network on a social and introductory level.”
And even if you’re not into acting but just want to try something new? “Go for it! After all, it’s not often you get an opportunity to terrify hundreds of people at night without having to face the consequences!”
The Pumpkin Farmer
Did you know that pumpkins, probably the most popular emblem of Halloween, take around 4 months to grow? Yes, four months of hard work to give us the satisfaction of scooping out the middle and carving a face/spooky tree/Mickey Mouse to display at night. And, according to Crockford Bridge farmers Paul and Caroline Smith, 2014 has been a “very good year for pumpkins” as they reckon they’ve sold well over 4,000 this year!
As well as growing pumpkins, the couple who have been farming at Crockford Bridge for nearly 30 years and offer a wide range of events to celebrate Halloween: “Every year we hold our Pumpkin patch event, and this encompasses a wide range of activities from face painting to theatrical performances in our spooky forest,” he says. “A typical day might include marketing, talking to local radio and national TV crews, and repairing actors costumes. We are one of the closest farms to Central London and send a lot of pumpkins to customers there, which takes a lot of organising”.
So they can grow pumpkins and sell them, but can they carve them? “Our son is brilliant at carving! As part of our pumpkin patch we have a carving area where customers can carve their pumpkin and not have to deal with all the mess at home!”
The Campaign Leader
O2 went a step further and instead of creating a haunted house, actually went to one for their O2 Possessed event.
“It was within the dark streets of London’s Shoreditch where Jack the Ripper made his name, in a decaying Georgian house rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of one of his victims,” explains Kristian Lorenzon, O2’s Head of Social Media who organised the event.
Despite the old story behind the setting, O2’s event was thoroughly modern as they use a range of technology to scare the participants: “Wireless speakers played creepy sound effects, while light bulbs and tablets controlled the sudden flashes and sparks. The terrified visitors even had their heart rates monitored using smart watches,” Kristian says.
As campaign lead, Kristian was responsible for organising and running the event, with the main aim being to encourage conversation about connected life. Better yet, all the tech used is sold in O2 stores.
“Any member of the public had the opportunity to attend through a social media competition and by entering on the O2 Priority app, we had O2 Angels roaming the streets of Shoreditch inviting unsuspecting victims into the house. We also scared the wits out of key press, influencers and celebs including Rylan Clark, Lucy Watson and Helen Flanagan,” he says. “So a key part of his role was working with other teams including content, PR, creative, media and event production.”
That’s one scary way to get to grips with new technology…
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