Creepin’ it real

Junior Kyle Parini ends off his second season as a scare actor at Six-Flags Fright Fest

Roaming around crowds of visitors, junior Kyle Parini gives looks of horror to children. Parini was assigned to the cannibal section of this years Fright Fest experience. “[The highlight of this season] didn’t happen until my last shift, when my monster maker gave me a staff, so I chased someone with it, then two girls fell on top of each other, and I griddied over them, it was the best thing ever.”

Sam Tang

Roaming around crowds of visitors, junior Kyle Parini gives looks of horror to children. Parini was assigned to the cannibal section of this year’s Fright Fest experience. “[The highlight of this season] didn’t happen until my last shift, when my monster maker gave me a staff, so I chased someone with it, then two girls fell on top of each other, and I griddied over them, it was the best thing ever.”

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scene of Six-Flags Fright Fest? So did Junior Kyle Parini, who just finished his second season as a park scare actor. From visitor interactions to coworker fun, Parini carries on Six-Flags 1986 Halloween tradition by keeping the eerieness in the air. He can’t have an off day when he works at a haunted theme park. 

“Every single night is chaotic. There are fights all the time, people always screaming, it’s dark and foggy, and you can always smell the overpriced water and annoying middle schoolers,” Parini said. 

When it comes to scaring, actors must abide by two rules: you cannot touch people, and you cannot make fun of physical attributes. Over the last two seasons, though, sometimes those rules have been bent and broken by patrons.

“I’ve been through some funny stuff. I revved my chainsaw at the feet of some middle school girls and got kicked [by one of them], a kid threw a cosmic brownie at me, and I caught it and ate it, a guy slapped me on the back and security was called,” Parini said. “Although it gets violent, those are some of my best memories.”

Fright Fest requires that actors are at least 16 years old with good health, flexible time availability and a positive attitude. 

“I had wanted to work [at Fright Fest] since I was 13,” Parini said. “I love Halloween, and I used to chase people around my neighborhood with a chainsaw [with no blade] for some entertainment, so now being able to legally scare people is great.”

Once Parini was of age, he looked up audition dates, sent in an application and scheduled an interview and audition. 

“The audition and interview process was a lot of fun. Me and the rest of the people trying out had to wear all black. They called us back to a room and gave us boundaries and instructions for the next step. Managers and current workers then walked around the room and told us to scream and yell at them however we choose,” Parini said. “Then whoever they liked the most was hired. They hired me last fall, I was very excited.”

Parini’s experience has been different than he had imagined before applying. Sometimes patrons can be pestering, but Parini has learned how to deal with them.

“I didn’t realize how busy the park would be as an actor and the things people would say to me. I’ve been called things like Jeffery Dahmer,” Parini said. “It’s crazy, especially on Saturdays when all the middle schoolers decide to raid Six-Flags after their moms drop them off, because it’s mainly the middle schoolers who are the worst: they bark, insult, touch and yell.”

Parini’s typical shift was from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturdays. The shift began with working an interactive event called Pirates, a less scary, curse-solving activity for younger kids that went until 3:00 p.m, followed by a change into his cannibal costume. This year’s Fright Fest scare zones included clowns, trolls, cannibals, zombies and sycophants

“Shifts [went] by pretty fast since it didn’t feel like a job. To be honest, I never thought about making it go by faster since I had a 45-minute break halfway through the night,” Parini said. “The worst part was the driving, it was 25 minutes there and back, and a 25-minute drive after 12:30 a.m. was brutal.”

Parini plans to continue working Fright-Fest next year and encourages others to apply. 

“[Working at Fright Fest] is so worth it. We get benefits too, like discounts in the gift shops. A lot of people are interested, but not many people apply and are committed. It was my favorite job ever, and I look forward to it every year,” Parini said.