Cedar Point usually has the plans for the haunted attractions set by the end of March, but biweekly meetings continue until HalloWeekends starts around the middle of September. All the screamsters are selected, and costumes fitted before and after training sessions. Every character has one costume that they use for the entire season.
Here is the before picture, as if that isn't scary enough. Cedar Point has thirty-five make up artists to prepare between 300-500 screamsters every open night for HalloWeekends. Haunt Central is set up in the ballroom, and 583 costumes are stored around the walls. Every costume is cleaned once a week, and the characters hope for cool nights. No one likes to put on a costume with dried sweat Saturday night.
This is a typical make-up station. Cedar Point provides the materials, unless the artists prefers to bring their own. When the place is in full swing, all you here is the swish of airbrushes and calls of "next." Some years the artists do the same screamsters each night, and other years they just do whoever is next in line. The goal is to complete at least four subjects per hour, because the crowds on the midways are waiting for be scared.
This is Megan, who although she started working at HalloWeekends in 2002, since 2011 her efforts have been in the make-up process. Her full-time occupation is both art and massage therapy, and sometimes she likes to recall the fun of participating in the scary attractions. Here she is painting Scott with a white base that helps the colors to pop.
Since most of the work is done with an airbrush, cotton swabs are put in the ears. Megan says, "I try to accommodate the wishes of the people I make up, within reason, because a happy monster is a scary monster." She continues, "We put new artists next to experienced workers so they can learn new things. The best thing for them to do is start small and don't be scared to be creative."
Colors are layered to add depth and get that "just right" effect. Sometimes different lights are used so simulate the lighting used in the haunted attractions.
Here Megan is finishing up a layer of black highlights, which adds more depth to a screamsters face.
Here a paintbrush is used to add some blood. It is a thicker mixture that isn't done with an airbrush. The forehead has already been done and more red added beneath the eyes.
When you see the finished product, you would never guess that she has never had any make-up or airbrush training. This entire process took on twenty-five minutes, with some of that including a discussion of what the end result should be, because due to lack of training, Scott wasn't going to participate in scaring any guests. The regulars all have a card they take to the artist's station and that reduces the preparation time immensely.
Using her versatile skills, Megan accentuated Scott's wrinkles, camouflaged his mustache, and gave him the worst shaving cut imaginable.
Even a screamsters cannot resist snagging a ride on the #1 steel coaster on the planet! Big props to the operators who reminded Scott "Don't do anything ghoulish" as the train left the station, what a hilarious touch to a special ride.
This sign says it all. Based on all the screams we heard that night, a lot of work was done. our thanks to Megan, Annie, and the Millennium Force crew. And also to our loyal readers, we hope you enjoyed the transformation.