Who knew clowns with chain saws and other ghoulish creatures could have a fan following? It’s one of the job perks that comes with being a roaming scare actor inside Fright Dome at Circus Circus.
“For a month I’m a mini-celebrity. It’s not just me. We’ve got people who’ve been doing this for three or four years that are strollers. Everyone’s got their own little following of people,” said Cameron Scott who plays a scary clown named Khuckles.
Of course seeing one of these creepy characters isn’t your everyday celebrity sighting. Instead of camera flashes there are blinking strobe lights and the screaming fans are people shrieking in terror. It’s the typical scene you’ll find almost every night during October inside Fright Dome.
Scott, along with between 15 and 25 other spooky characters, make up the cast of scare actors that roam the five-acre theme park. Their job entails lurking in dark corners and frightening the 60,000 plus people who visit the haunted theme park every year.
When it comes to scaring people, Scott explained that the secret is timing.
“That’s all there is to it. Just paying attention to the people not paying attention and timing,” said Scott.
He always liked horror films but never worked as a scare actor until he teamed up with Jason Egan, the creator of Fright Dome. When Scott started working at the haunted theme park six years ago he was assigned the character of a famous scary clown. After a few years he wanted to dress up as something more unique and developed Khuckles. His costume consists of different pieces that he found and modified to suit his character.
“The amount of money that goes into my costume is ridiculous. My contacts are $300 a pair,” said Scott.
It’s a hefty price, but he explained that it’s worth it if it means people are going to get scared and have fun.
It takes him about 45 minutes to transform from everyday guy to Khuckles the evil clown. First, he puts on his scary clown outfit and industrial boots. Then he heads over to the make-up tent where all of his face painting is done with spay airbrush paint.
Unlike other clowns, Scott doesn’t wear a wig. Instead, he puts his long dark dreadlocks into two pig tails.
“That’s my defining clown thing. Everybody else wears clown wigs. I just use what I got,” said Scott.
He explained that aside from his costume, energy and enthusiasm are the most important parts of the job. He works from about 6:30 p.m. to midnight almost every night of Fright Dome. During that time he is constantly doing laps around the theme park, interacting with anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 people a night.
“Your character has to be high energy all the time when you’re strolling around here or no one would have any fun,” said Scott.
When he’s not working as an evil clown, he lives in Phoenix, does some work in Seattle and looks forward to Halloween. Throughout the interview he talked about having fun and making sure that guests do the same as the best part of his job. He never stopped smiling and got excited just talking about the upcoming season.
“For the strollers that have all created their own characters, for the month of October you’re like a Halloween rockstar,” said Scott. “It’s the greatest thing in the world.”
Fright Dome is open Oct. 2 – 31, 2009 everyday from 7 p.m. to midnight.
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