Leaving out the months of concept development, marketing planning, culinary and merchandise development, show rehearsals and prop and scenic orders, the last few weeks leading up to the event are a mad dash to make the park look effortlessly eerie, and is one of the reasons I love working in entertainment so much. As a department, we regularly work on events that completely transform the park. Each team member in our department collaborates together in the final hours to create a cohesive product for our guests.
Take the Abbey Stone Theatre, for example. As Celtic Fyre closed, our install team removed and packed away the set and refreshed the pre-existing set in about two days. Once that was complete, stage lighting was removed and reconfigured to match the Monster Stomp Revamped lighting plot. From there, the cast and crew began rehearsing in the venue, adding video, lighting and costumes as the rehearsals progressed. The entire process, from set strike to final dress was less than two weeks.
This same process is used throughout the park. Our install team works during the day, installing thousands of crows, pumpkins and ghosts overhead, theming the inside of haunted houses, and installing lighting and set pieces inside our indoor venues. Then at night, our lighting team makes sure the park lighting is perfect and tests the fog. Our production and operations team rehearses the haunted houses, shows and street scares.
Each night of the event, we take notes on the shows, houses, park-wide theming, sound and lights to make sure the event is consistent and to note opportunities for improvement. With everyone’s help, the event opens seamlessly. As you can see, there are many different things that need to happen in order to open an event like Howl-O-Scream. Make sure to come out and see it for yourself, And remember, the scare is everywhere.