Lifestyle

Get spooked at FrightFest Halloween extravaganza

Kristi Brady, Wild Waves general sales manager, demonstrates how a clown prop in the FrightFest haunted house works. FrightFest begins Oct. 3 and runs every weekend from 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Halloween. Tickets cost $24.99 at the door or $19.99 online at www.wildwaves.com/tickets.aspx. - Jacinda Howard/The Mirror
Kristi Brady, Wild Waves general sales manager, demonstrates how a clown prop in the FrightFest haunted house works. FrightFest begins Oct. 3 and runs every weekend from 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Halloween. Tickets cost $24.99 at the door or $19.99 online at www.wildwaves.com/tickets.aspx.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

Monsters galore have arrived in Federal Way.

Wild Waves' annual FrightFest event opens this weekend. This year will bring plenty of scares for people of all ages. It will also be the first time in eight years Wild Waves staff will shake up the haunted house, adding a spooky house-wide theme, new rooms and a few other surprises.

FrightFest is the amusement park's Halloween extravaganza. A 5,500-square-foot haunted house, a children's trick-or-treat zone and a maze are on the park's grounds. The new maze replaces a haunted trail.

Deciding the layout of the haunted house begins every July. An appreciation of popular culture, as it applies to horror films, assists the crew in creating something that will spook thousands of visitors who experience FrightFest.

The haunted house will see its first major change this year. Instead of several rooms with various themes, it will feature an overall creepy hospital theme. Patrons will wind their way through rooms representing a morgue and burn unit. They will find loads of scary props, plenty of spider webs, dozens of fake skeletons and plenty of staff looking to make them scream.

The seasonal activities require approximately 300 staff members, said Mary Bigham, Wild Waves agent manager. Several of those are full-time employees or teenagers who worked at the amusement park during the summer. Around 30 to 40 individuals were hired to be monsters in the haunted house and on the park's grounds.

Amy Ashmore, 18, has a background in drama courses. She turned out for the FrightFest open audition because scaring people sounded fun.

"You get to chase people around and be scary," she said.

Monsters wear masks, makeup and costumes. Some are stationed in the haunted house and others roam freely around the park. Landing the part of a monster, and the accompanying opportunity to freak out visitors, does not come easily.

Each person auditioning for the role had to read a convincing monologue from the classic horror film "American Psycho." A demonstration of methods to scare visitors was also required during the application process.

The park's lone rule when it comes to scaring haunted house patrons: No touching the guests. Everything else goes.

"I'm pretty open with scare techniques," Bigham said. "It's what works for the actor and the space."

Check it out

FrightFest begins Oct. 3 and runs every weekend from 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Halloween. Tickets cost $24.99 at the door or $19.99 online at www.wildwaves.com/tickets.aspx. About 30 rides and Friday-night dance parties in the drained out wave pool will take place throughout FrightFest. Wild Waves is at 36201 Enchanted Parkway S. Call (253) 661-8000.

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