CLEVELAND – It’s the time of year when haunted houses pop up all around Northeast Ohio. They each have a scary name, creepy noises and a winding walkway filled with gory characters. But FOX8 wanted to find out who’s behind the monster and zombie costumes. Do haunted houses vet their actors?
“Two forms of ID is what we take we don’t do background checks. I don’t know if there’s any haunted houses that do a full background check, it’s seasonal work. They are here for six weekends,” explained Rodney Geffert.
Geffert has run the Seven Floors of Hell haunted attraction at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds for 18 years. “We scare you as close as we can scare you but we also do not want to touch you,” Geffert explained.
FOX8 contacted several of the other haunted attractions in the area and they don’t do background checks either. Geffert says it would be too hard to get the number of people he needs, and he knows many of his actors personally.
“About 70% of our crew comes back every year so I have workers that have been with me for 18 years,” he said.
As for the other 30%, Geffert says the crew keeps a close eye on them.
“We’re not just taking a new person we know nothing about, sticking them in a corner of a haunted house. They are going to be mixed with other workers who are overseeing them, watching them, making sure they are doing their job,” Geffert said.
But Geffert explained many guests don’t realize how much work goes into making sure the haunted house passes inspection and is safe in the event of an emergency.
“Almost every room in the haunted house if you want out of it, there’s an exit you just push right out you’re out of it instantly,” Geffert said.
Every surface inside the haunted house is fire-proofed and Geffert’s staff limits the number of people who can be inside at a time. There is also a kill switch, which shuts the whole attraction down.
“At any point in time we need to quiet this house, there might be an emergency inside, everything is turned off,” he showed us.
Lt. Tom Emling with the Berea Fire Department inspects the haunted house each year before it can open. He recommends that parents do a little research before dropping of their kids.
“I think with any of these you got to go to someplace that’s well known there’s a lot of them that have been out there for years and years they know all the ins and outs they know all safety precautions,” Emling said.