The 5 Different Types of Scare Actors

Posted 23 Jan 2011 in HAUNTER'S CORNER

As actors, we all search for new ideas and methods to scare the victims that go through our haunts. I came across an old article in HauntWorld magazine (Issue 3) by Ben Armstrong titled What’s Your Line that describes various methods that an actor can use to improve his skit. Reading this article sparked an idea for a post that many actors will find interesting . Here are some ideas to get your actors to improve their scares and they can always switch ideas up as needed.

    • The Sharer: Wants to give the patrons something horrible they do not want. “Wanna pet my snake?” “Here. Take this. Take IT! TAKE IT! NOW!” “I want to show you something…come with me. It’s a secret. I promise not to hurt you…” This also works great if you have nasty props that no one wants to touch. One year my brother was dressed up like a Mad Doctor trying to give the guests a shot with a huge sirenge. Most people do not like needles.


    • The Dominator: Tells the patrons to do something horrible they do not want to do. “Touch me….I want to touch you…they tell me if you touch me that I can touch you!” “Get in the coffin. Uncle Bud don’t need it no more..GET IN!” “Kiss the pig. Let me hear you squeal like a pig!” “Give me your shoes. I want your shoes!” Be prepared for your customers to follow your commands. Ben explains that one year they told people to get into giant cages and commanded that they couldn’t get out until they sang songs. 99% of them sang their scared little hearts out!


    • The Questioner: Asks patrons questions they do not want to answer. “What’s your name? What’s your friend’s name? Does she like dark places? Are you scared?” “What do your insides look like? Purple or red…let’s see!” You might have to tweek this one a bit because many people have their heads down just trying to get through. If you want them to answer you find a creative way to keep them in your area until they give you one.


    • The Pleader: Begs the patrons not to do something. “No. Don’t go in there! Please! Don’t leave me here!” “Don’t look at me..please I’m disgusting. Don’t look at me….” “Stay here with me. I’m scared. Please stay here..they want to hurt you…” This is the play on reverse psychology. You’re kinda letting them know that you warned them and BOOM! Let’s say you have a little girl or petrified old lady in a corner with a little ambient light. She tries to tell the crowd not to look at her bashfully. Then she jumps out and turns on the anxiety! And maybe she triggers a strobe or different color light as her mood changes. One year we had a little girl actor that worked this one perfectly!


  • The Threatener: “I’m going to _____you” “I’m going to find you in the dark…” Make sure when you threaten that something happens to them soon afterward. “I’m going to rip off your legs” and then have compressed air shoot up their legs! Instant spillage!

Many of us experienced actors have probably used most of these methods at one time or another. However, when I’m running around like a headless chicken at haunt time and I’m at a loss for brain function-these are just what I need for my actors. I’m planning on creating a list on index cards for my actors with these ideas and some direct quotes I want them to use. Simple for them-easy for me. Enjoy!

Check out our Scare Actor Training Program by Allen Hopps Here.

Posted by ScaryVisions


  1. Rosie Redvers-Jones
    27 February 14, 10:35am

    To Brian, this Blog is fantastic!! I have found it incredibly useful when creating a system for performance when working with my scare actors.
    I’m now studying for a Masters in which I am focussing on the performance aspect of Scare Acting and would like to reference this. Of course I will accredit it to you and I was wondering where you got the ideas for this? Is it from your own experience which inspired you to create these 5 types from scratch or did anyone or anything else have any influence on them?

    Many thanks.

    • 01 March 14, 6:16am

      Thanks! I reference Ben Armstrong in the article but included a few ideas of my own. Feel free to use it as you want. If you need anymore reference we have an online training program just for Scare Acting. 🙂

  2. Bryan Barnes
    28 June 13, 10:32am

    I just wanted to say thanks again for taking the time putting this bloc and show together. I listen to it a lot! Been busy building out the yard haunt props. Love this time of year. Halloween is fun but in my opinion this time in the year is the most fun for the home haunter. Listening to your show or creepy music while working in the garage or basement building our props, going to yard sales and thrift stores finding all kinds of good stuff and ideas. Thanks again for all that you guys do!

    • 03 July 13, 6:02am

      Thanks Bryan! I’ll be setting up my garage real soon as October quickly approaches. What is your theme for your yard haunt?

  3. Steven Reeves
    15 October 11, 9:27am

    Awesome man I am teaching this to my haunt actors this year this Sunday at my very first Haunt Actor Casting call!

    • 15 October 11, 5:07pm

      Sweet! Been watching your videos…I might have some clowns in the works too. Working on a zombie walker at the moment.

  4. 30 August 11, 9:06am

    Excellent article! One effective way of scaring that I’ve found as “proprietor” of The Baxter Avenue Morgue is to lean in reeeal close to those people with their face buried between the shoulders of the person in front of them and whisper loud enough for them to hear “Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they can’t see YOU”

  5. alexandra
    27 August 11, 8:47pm

    this is so helpful i work at a haunted house so these give different view points that will help for the upcoming season 🙂

    • 28 August 11, 12:03am

      Thanks guys for the compliments! It’s also great to let the actor fit into the role he feels comfortable with. It usually works better. Pro’s can play any role but beginners are more passionate about certain things. Killers, little girls, or goofy clowns. Once the actor digs deep; they’ll perform their best.

  6. Draggonsmind
    27 August 11, 7:45am

    Great article \m/

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