Who Haunts This House? Marian students take on spooky roles in local haunted houses

Caroline Drew

The Halloween season has arrived at Champion’s Run country club and all with the help of Marian junior Lauren Zadalis. Zadalis started working at Champion’s annual haunted house in eighth grade, but for the past couple years, she’s directed her talents to the behind-the-scenes planning of the haunted house. “We go through, we write out a floor plan and we figure out the theme and decorations and everything,” Zadalis said. Though not a big fan of scary things herself, Zadalis says she enjoys planning out the haunted houses for others.

Freshman Isabella Schinco, a fellow employee at Champion’s haunted house, testified to the impressive pay off of Zadalis’ hard work. “It’s so insane how much work they put into it,” Schinco said, “one time I went through one of them[haunted houses], and I didn’t know where I was; I didn’t recognize my surroundings at all.” Schinco says her love of all things scary motivated her to work at Champions. For Zadalis, however, the thrill of the haunted house is in watching others react to it. “Since I can’t be there, they record it,” Zadalis said, “so just, like, watching how it all comes together is probably my favorite part.” The Champion’s Run haunted house is open to members and the public each year the Friday before Halloween.

Freshman Chloe Oberle has always loved Halloween. “I get to pretend to be somebody I’m not,” Oberle said, “That’s, like, my favorite thing: dressing up and pretending to be something I’m not.” Working at a haunted house gives Oberle the perfect opportunity to take pretending to the max. “I would be one of the people that would just scream at people and tell them to say certain things, like to say that I’m pretty or something when they [other haunted house workers] did really ugly makeup on me that made me look like I was melting,” Oberle said.
The theatrical makeup Oberle applies before working is a big part of her role in the haunted house. It allows her to get creative and utilize unique methods to produce gruesome and scary makeup effects. “I remember one day we had set it[the haunted house] all up and one of us forgot makeup,” Oberle said, “and we were like ‘okay, how are we going to do this?’” Thinking quickly, Oberle gathered together some plastics she had at home and, with help from her coworkers, melted it to fit her face. “It burned a little bit because it was still warm when we were putting it on,” Oberle said, “so it looked like my face was actually melting off.”

Oberle has honed her improvisational makeup skills and spooky lines throughout several autumns working at a haunted house set up in a residential backyard, in the Skutt neighborhood and is free and open to the public the week before halloween. “I’m always either in the doll area or, like, the surgery section,” Oberle said. She compares her love for her job to those who enjoy making people laugh. “The same thing where like I can make people happy,” Oberle said, “I can scare people and make them freak out.”

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The Network is the student newspaper of Marian High School, Nebraska's only Class A College-Preparatory School for young women.

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