Haunted House Costumes
There are No Photos
Of What's Being
Described. So Enjoy
This One Instead.
My first adventure in costuming outside of the kid's Halloween world was for Jaycee haunted houses. My parents were involved with the Carleton Area Jaycees who had a haunted house in an old meat slaughtering factory. (I know. How cool is THAT?) The first two years I remember it, I was 9 and then 10. I wasn't allowed to work there because I was too young.
At 11, I officially became eligible and was allowed to work a little caged-in area designed like the Star Wars cantina for some reason. I can't say I recall the costume, and there is no photographic evidence, but based on what I remember the other Jaycees wearing, it probably wasn't much more than a black robe.
In fact, what I remember most about this experience was having a doorway to the outside in the back of the cantina room. This was important because it allowed me to get out and go waste my allowance money on Cheetos. (OK, not an auspicious beginning really.)
Uncle Zeke as the Easter Bunny. Hard to believe he
made it all the way from October to Spring...
In 1992, out of grad school and working steadily, I had nothing much to do in my spare time. I got involved with the haunted house put on by the Huron Area Jaycees in Waltz, MI. They were pretty short-handed, so I was able to design and build rooms, something I really wanted to do. (Well, what I really wanted to do was have an excuse to buy a prop called 'Uncle Zeke', who sold for the princely sum of $95. Haunted house work facilitated that. Zeke found a special place in my life after that, being on display for other holidays, as you see at left.)
In addition to needing help with room design and building, they needed people to work the rooms. At some point I was handed a black and white striped Beetlejuice costume and asked to work in the Couch Room. (So named because it contained a couch. It also had a large TV playing static facing the couch and a vacuum cleaner off to the side.
"I'm the ghost with the most, babe." The vacuum was wired with a switch which was under the hollowed out couch for me to turn on at the opportune moment.)
I set Zeke on the side of the couch that would hold him and hid inside under the cushion. People walked in, looked at Zeke, held a debate about whether or not he was a person in fancy make-up or a prop. I would then I would turn on the vacuum, the suddeness (and unexplained presence) of which would make them jump.
Then I would wait. Once they realized that was probably it for this room, they would start to leave. Then I would jump out of the couch and scare them.
This was fun and all, but Beetlejuice was very recognizable at that time. So I studied the movie and I started incorporating his schtick once the people got over their initial shock at me popping out of the couch. So that was my first adult haunted house costume. Alas, there are no pictures of me in this costume either.
When I started making my HEDZ props, I wanted a
The HEDZ used in the Wyandotte Jaycees 1994 Haunted House
larger venue that would allow me to feature them. So in 1994 I left the Huron Area Jaycees for the Wyandotte Jaycees. They had a 1/4 mile long haunted house and I thought they might have room for a display of HEDZ. They did. They also needed a project chairperson to run the haunted house, so I did that after some cautious questioning. This put a damper on my working rooms in the haunted houses - you can't run a 1/4 mile long house and be in costume working.
After running things and designing several rooms, I determined that I really didn't like working haunts all that much; I liked organizing and designing them. (You can learn more about this on the props and rooms pages.) Still, the opportunity to create an interesting character occasionally arose. There are two characters I created for haunted houses that you can learn about by clicking on the images below.