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Local teens take on frightening roles at Scarywood, a dream job for adrenaline junkies

By Carly Dykes The Spokesman-Review

For three young adrenaline lovers, working at Idaho’s Scarywood is an obvious dream job opportunity.

Though the job comes with some unconventional, after-dark hours and requires training and arriving early to perfect their ghoulish looks, local teens that work at the haunted amusement park said the thrill of scaring parkgoers and the ability to flex their creative muscles makes it all worth it.

Recent high school graduate Rylie Annis, 19, knew the second she saw a job listing that she wanted to work for Scarywood, Silverwood’s Halloween-themed horror makeover.

“I loved Scarywood and just being a guest and coming,” she said, “I thought it would be even more fun if I worked there.”

Lurking in the shadows of the haunted amusement park lies all your worst nightmares, including clowns, zombies and monsters. The actors portraying these frightening guests are known as the park’s “scare team,” and they refer to themselves as “scare-actors.”

Actors are required to attend an orientation that teaches them the essentials of mastering the bone-chilling aesthetic Scarywood shoots for. They learn scaring methods, developing a character and training your voice to match your character, Annis said.

Annis has worked at the park for two seasons. Last year, she was a part of the “Blood Bayou,” one of the park’s haunted walkthroughs that is infested with nightmarish, cannibalistic scenes.

“My job was to torture the other cast members who were the victims,” she said. “I would then go around the haunt yelling at people.”

This year, Annis played a character with schizophrenic tendencies for the 2022 Halloween season.

“I get still, I stare at (visitors) and then I start moving my body towards them,” Annis said. “I’ve had people run into the wall when I scare them in order to get away from me.”

Actors, even while being in school, generally work 20 hours per week. The park is open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursdays, and 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Phoenix Vollart, 19, is also a recent high school graduate and said that scheduling can sometimes be a challenge while being in school; however, she believes that the pros of the job outweigh this burden.

This is also Vollart’s second year as a part of the scare team. She made her appearance this season as a character on stilts nearly 3 feet tall that cause her to tower over guests as a monster, allowing for some unique scares.

“The stilts took a little bit more practice, but it’s very fun,” she said. “I can even look over people’s heads.”

The process of getting actors ready to scare is a delicate process. Rebekah Ivey, 16, is spending her first year working at Scarywood as a makeup artist.

Although the park opens to the public at 7 p.m., actors are required to be on-site hours earlier in order to perfect their gnarly makeup. Annis said the makeup artists are usually able to finish intricate looks in just 10 minutes.

“Overall, I would describe this job as a really fun time and a really good way to make new friends,” Annis said. “This job is so amazing.”

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