Douty Street Nightmare.jpg

A pumpkin monster greets visitors at the Douty Street Nightmare in this 2018 file photo. 

 When I was a kid, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with monsters and ghouls, so that’s exactly what I did.

No, I didn’t volunteer to work on a presidential campaign; I worked at a haunted house.

I’m relentlessly shy and the thought of performing on stage sounds scarier to me than any actual monster, but slapping on a skeleton mask and popping out of trap doors to scare drunk twenty-somethings when I was in middle school was my contribution to the performing arts.

Scaring groups of teenagers at just that right moment — the moment they least suspect — was my Hamlet ‘to be or not to be’ moment. Though it was madness, there was method in it.

Being under a smelly, heavy, hard-to-see-in and even harder-to-breathe-in rubber monster mask was freeing.

Every Thursday through Sunday, my friends and I would go and volunteer at the haunted house, usually until way past midnight (we closed when the line died down, whenever that was). Our parents were probably just happy that we were out of the house.

And we’d eat cold tacos and French fries whenever there was a lull in the crowd. And we’d rarely get bathroom breaks all night. And it was worth to feel like you were part of an experience and to revel in the festivities of the best holiday of the year.

One surreal Halloweentime night, it snowed and the monsters chasing people around with chainsaws seemed almost beautiful as the powdery snow fell softly on the jack-o’-lanterns and cardboard gravestones.

For those who want a similarly fun chance to become a monster, several local haunted houses are seeking volunteer monsters.

Hanford Parks and Recreation needs volunteers for its Haunted Maze.

Returning for its fifth year, the Haunted Maze will provide scares at the Hanford Civic Auditorium – or the Hauntford Civic Auditorium, you could say – on Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27.

Anyone interested in being a monster actor or helping to build sets should call recreation supervisor Susie Chavez at 559-362-3212 or visit the Parks and Rec offices at 321 N. Douty St. Suite B.

Those interested must be at least 14 years of age.

The Hanford Carnegie Museum has put out a casting call for actors for spooky October events. 

Casting will be done from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27 at the museum, 109 E. 8th St., Hanford. 

Those under 18 need parental consent. Call 559-482-4255.

The Douty Street Nightmare will return this year and needs a somewhat less spooky volunteer — a security guard.

The haunted house, which is raises funds for Relay for Life, is seeking a punctual security guard to help out with lines and crowd control on the three nights the haunt will be open (Oct. 25, 26, 31).

Those interested can learn more at www.facebook.com/DoutyStreetNightmare.

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Parker Bowman is the assistant content editor for the Hanford Sentinel, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ Parker_THS or send an email to PBowman@HanfordSentinel.com

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