Salute to Spouses Blog

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A Job Haunting We Will Go

Best. Teenage. Job. Ever.

As a junior in high school I spent my October working in a haunted house. Every Friday and Saturday night I diligently applied globs of hair gel and aqua net to my curly locks in an attempt to make them stand on end, painted my face white and donned the tattered, "blood-stained" duds of Dracula's bride.

They paid me to make people scream. That part was awesome.

They also paid me to listen to the same dreadful organ music waft over my head, on repeat, at my beloved Dracula's castle.  And in the downtime, four weeks from Halloween, I stood, sometimes for hours, waiting to hear footsteps creep around the corner.

I screamed. They screamed. We all screamed. Ten seconds of terror followed by two hours of sheer boredom. That part was not so awesome.

But, by Halloween night, my voice disappeared as my shrieks at our "victims" were needed every few minutes. I listened for Dracula's strike and then positioned myself around the corner for a double whammy. The greatest moments were realizing that the frightened souls on the other end were my friends who came and intended to scare me instead.

Between our haunts, I had time to talk with my fellow ghouls and met teenagers, out of work grownups and actors who just couldn't get a break on the stage. This silly job, as my mom called it, meant Friday night money to spend with my friends. But it also put food on the table for some of my co-workers' families. Meeting them taught me very quickly the value of a job and the importance of doing it well, no matter how "silly" some people might see it.

Dracula, it turned out, returned every year to haunt the halls. It was his version of working the Christmas rush and gave him a chance to earn extra money. By day, he was a professional opera singer and when the house was empty, he would sing Broadway tunes for us ghouls in waiting.

As a teenager, I could imagine no better way to spend my fall then working as a professional ghost - fun, relatively easy money. But when I look back 20 years later, I realize, that job was so much more. The people I met taught me more about making it in the workforce and what it really meant to make ends meet when times were tough than I could learn in any classroom.

So this October, when I round the corners of the local haunted house with my friends, I remember fondly my days in the gory makeup and appreciate the good scare, the high pitched scream and the ghoul behind the mask. Hope business has been good this year my friends!

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