As the spirit of Halloween comes ever closer, so does the traditions. Every year in mid-September through early November, the Philly neighborhood of Fairmount gets a wild invasion of ghostly and grim creatures. Some are zombies, others are not so easy to describe but they are all members of the haunted attraction “Terror Behind the Walls” at Eastern State Penitentiary. As if going through an old crumbling prison in the daytime wasn’t creepy enough, let’s add scary monsters to the mix!
Every year, Eastern State has hired upward of 200 actors to fill various roles throughout the show, which begs the question, “What does it take to be a member of 'Terror Behind the Walls'?"
For starters, every applicant must be at least 18 years old. Bonus if you have experience or possess such things as “immense strength,” know how to use a chainsaw or are able to make crazy noises. After all, we are talking about a haunted house. Applicants are also asked if they “are willing to shave your head or allow us to shave it if the role requires that particular look? Circle yes or no.” Who gives much ado about hair?
Next, you’re given a group audition with Amy Holloman, creative director for TBTW. Some things she looks for: “high energy, stamina, are passionate about Halloween, because of our grueling schedule. We really want people who want to immerse themselves in this role. If you’re not into it, you’re not going to perform as well. You’re not going to connect with your coworkers or scare the customers. You have to believe in this fantasy world we’re creating.”