Eeriebyss scare actors share what it's like being part of a haunted attraction – GoErie.com

While many might look forward to the apple picking, pumpkin patches and pie baking in the fall, others seek out more terrifying endeavors.
Haunted attractions across the country are in full swing, including Eeriebyss Factory of Terror at 1053 W. 12th St. in Erie.
Eeriebyss operates Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. until midnight and Sundays from 6-10 p.m. through Oct. 31. Face masks are required, organizers said, and social distancing of 6 feet minimum will be required in the lobby and haunt. The business will operate at 50% of normal occupancy, among other COVID-19 safety measures. Get your $20 tickets in advance at eeriebyss.com
We spoke with three Eeriebyss workers about what it’s like being part of a haunted house during the spookiest month of the year. 
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Jake Craft, of Fairview Township, sits patiently as Julia Baldwin, head of makeup and costumes at Eeriebyss, applies fake blood to his forehead.
Craft, whose character is the “Vine Guy,” occasionally catches a glimpse of his transformation in the mirror. He watches Baldwin touch up the prosthetic on his arm, which makes it look like vines are intertwined with his skin.
Craft is pleased with how he’s turning out, but along with the excitement, nerves set in for the first-time scare actor.
Craft’s days are often spent playing video games and hanging out with friends, but when the 30-year-old couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work at Eeriebyss.
“This is the first major job I’ve had in a while,” he said. “I didn’t think much of it, but thought I’d check it out because it sounded fun. As soon as I walked in, I loved it here.”
The haunted house set-up was one reason Craft chose to become a scare actor, and the other seasonal employees have already made him feel at home, too. 
“Everyone here is so awesome. If you’re new here and you’re nervous, everyone here will walk you through it,” Craft said. “They’re all so cool.”
The encouragement Craft gets from the other employees helps him to focus on what he’s most excited for: scaring people. 
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As Baldwin finishes up his look, Craft can’t help but smile thinking about all the people he’ll get to scare all October long.
“Outside of this, I’m actually one of the most jumpy people in the world. You can say my name when I’m not expecting it and I’ll jump two feet in the air,” he said. “People love scaring me. Finally, I can get my payback.”
While Baldwin applies makeup to Craft, she’s also touching up several other scare actors. She’ll work on three to four people at the same time, and up to 15 people each night. But being in the business for nearly 20 years has helped her find a rhythm.
Baldwin, of Fairview Township, is no stranger to fake blood, jump scares and every haunted house costume imaginable. She’s acted in haunted attractions since she was 8 years old, becoming familiar with the looks that terrify people the most.
Baldwin began learning how to create those horrifying looks from her mother, Autumn Coverdale, manager of Eeriebyss, who used to be in charge of the makeup.
“She was teaching me just kind of casually and the busier she got the more I took on, and now I’m here,” Baldwin said.
The 25-year-old has been in charge of makeup and costumes at Eeriebyss for almost seven years.
But even with a few tried-and-true tricks in her pocket, Baldwin experiments with a new look every week during the season. 
“Unless there’s something I’ve done and the worker really likes it, then we’ll stick with it,” she said. “But I just watch every horror movie I possibly can on Netflix and Hulu (for inspiration). Just so it looks fresh.”
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Outside of working at Eeriebyss, Baldwin will practice makeup looks on her boyfriend, whether it’s attempting to mimic a certain look or firm up a creation of her own.
“I like taking my time with this work, and I do wish I was a little bit better, but I’m getting there,” she said. “Like this was one of the first years I’ve made my own prosthetic pieces.”
To Baldwin, the more time she spends on a look, the better the outcome, especially when guests praise her for it.
“I love seeing what customers think of all the work I’ve put in,” she said. “We’ll be walking through and people will say ‘wow, that makeup looks really cool’ and that kind of stuff just makes my night.”
Before each shift, Caleb Mohr throws on his headphones, drowns everything out and focuses on becoming his alter ego, Kinky the Clown.
Mohr has taken on the clown persona for the past seven years, a character that has helped him overcome his own fear of clowns.
“I was actually terrified of clowns before doing this,” he said. “So I use that fear during set-up, because if it terrifies me, it’ll terrify a normal person.”
For character inspiration, Mohr references the movie “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” but he doesn’t focus too much on becoming any specific clown.
“I’ve never really worked on an act, I go with the flow,” he said. “Sometimes you get the mean Joker clown, or you just get the silent creep or you get the actual friendly kid clown. It just depends who’s out there.”
With his act changing each night, Mohr focuses on the look he wants to present. This year, he’s adding a new prop to his costume.
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“I’m introducing my friend Tobias,” Mohr said. “He was just a random head that we never knew where to put so I’ve put him on my leash and I’m going to wear him like a necklace this year.”
When he’s not scaring patrons on the weekends, Mohr works as a cook at Applebee’s Bar & Grill and spends time with his 9-month-old. The job at Eeriebyss provides extra diaper money for Mohr, but it’s become something he looks forward to every October.
“It’s more of a passion than anything,” he said. “Every year I like to see us go up a level, take it to the next notch. My dream is to be like ‘Fright Night,’ because this building has so much potential. So we have some new stuff this year we’re excited for.”
Baylee DeMuth can be reached at 814-450-3425 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BayleeDeMuth.

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