Students show their ?darker sides?

By By Joseph Simmons and By Joseph Simmons

By Joseph Simmons

Before autumn thoughts turn to turkeys, pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving, students at the U have October to get scared silly.

Salt Lake Valley offers some of the best haunted houses in the nation, and students play a big role in the market, both as customers and participating behind8212;or in8212;the scary scenes.

Troy Barber, the owner and founder of one of Salt Lake City’s most popular haunted houses, Nightmare on 13th Street, has seen firsthand the importance of student participation.

“The student community is huge,” Barber said. “Our first year in business the only advertising we could do was put a float on 400 South, and we just banked on everyone going back and forth from school.”

Barber’s advertising practices seem to still be working, as Nightmare on 13th has become a Halloween mainstay, while other haunted houses have come and gone.

Employment recruiters for the various haunted houses have had plenty of people in Utah and on campus respond to their ads, which typically hook those who “have a darker side waiting to get out,” Barber said.

Students in the U’s theater department have worked as performers for different haunted houses, but there are also those who aren’t actors but just love scaring people.
Noah Bailey, a junior in film studies at the U, is now in his second year working at Nightmare on 13th and said he loves the season and the work.

“I just like the idea that we can have Halloween every night for a full month,” Bailey said. “I love scaring people, but it’s just a really fun job and you get to work with great people that you wouldn’t meet anywhere else.”

Nightmare on 13th is not only celebrating its 20th year running but is coming off yet another year as being ranked one of the top 13 haunted houses in America, according to USA Today.

Nightmare on 13th employs about 100 people for its haunted house, and typically half a dozen or so are U students. This year owners and actors said they are pulling out all the stops to make it the best year yet.

Although many of the students working at Nightmare are from the theater department, there are others from around the U who apply their craft in their own way in the production. “This is a place to attract people who are involved with theater,” Bailey said. “There are people from film, makeup and other departments, but it is a theater product.”
Nightmare on 13th relies on

innovation to stay in business, Barber said, and each year he and his partners travel to haunted house conventions to keep up on the newest technology.

Nightmare on 13th spent $75,000 on upgrades for this year’s house, which included new advanced technology, special effects, makeup and costumes. Among the more frightening features this year are the new mirror maze and an updated theater room.

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