"My first job was at Chuck E. Cheese. I got to play the rat during birthdays. A third of the kids were cute and excited to see you. A third were little jerks and tried to kick you in the balls (thankfully I don't have any). The last third are absolutely terrified of you. One time, in particular, it was near closing time and the most adorable tiny girl was so afraid that she was just losing her mind, so her dad asked me if I would take off the head and show her that I was a human. Did so. Kid calmed down, had a great rest of her party.
My manager came over and ripped 16-year-old me a new one because holy cow how dare I break the immersion. Because, y'know, standing in front of my animatronic clone wasn't a dead giveaway."
"I used to be a princess for a birthday party company. Weirdly it was always adults (usually moms) trying to get me to break character. I'd go to get water for my face paints or something and some sloshed mom pounding Pinot would corner me and start asking what I 'really do' and how much I'm being paid. I had a rule that while I was at the party I wouldn't break character for any reason, so I always smiled and gave answers like 'Well, most of the time I'm at the castle but sometimes I get to spend time with special birthday princesses.' You'd think I had just hiked my dress up and peed on their floor from how they react. Genuinely aggressive responses like 'don't freaking talk to me like that!' as I smile and tell them I hope they have a magical party and walk away."
"In the early 2000s, I was a dancing gorilla that toured with a ska band. The gorilla's job was to get girls on the dance floor because then guys would come to the dance floor and now it's a party. It's a fun gig, you cannot be self-conscious at all and you get to have a lot of flirty fun.
The best gorilla story belonged to one of the previous gorillas - the 19-year-old brother of the keyboard player. It was his first night on the gig. The suit is SUPER hot and the gorilla only comes out for a song or two then rests before going back out.
So after one song, he goes to the band room and flops on the couch. Immediately a woman in her mid-twenties comes in and climbs on top of him. She rips open the velcro on the front of the suit and starts rubbing his chest. She starts making out with him through the mask.
It's his first night, so he figures it's a case of mistaken identity - she must be looking for the previous gorilla. He pulls off the mask and says 'Lady!! I'm not who you think I am!!'
The woman climbs off him, straightens her skirt, says 'you ruined it,' and leaves without saying another word."
"I'm a zombie actor. When people aren't crapping themselves in fear you sometimes get jerks trying to get you to break character. One guy at a laser quest event was going around with his arms out constantly demanding a hug. Seems cute but he was being really obnoxious and ruining the experience for other players.
Things turned sinister when he trapped one of my less experienced female zombies in a corner. I have 5 years experience and was in charge so I was furious. I charged in and barged in the way so she could escape and took her place. The guy, annoyed, trapped me instead and kept goading me, knowing I wasn't allowed to touch him.
Instead, when he leaned in to kiss me, I sneezed full in his face. Horrified, he stumbled back and I lurched away into the depths. He did try to complain to a manager but my boss had my back and replied 'Well they ARE infected.' He then advised him that if he continued to harass us he'd be ejected without refund."
"When I was about 12, my family went to Blackpool pleasure beach for the day, and my Mum and brother really wanted to do Passage du Terror, it's like this haunted house walkthrough thing.
I told my Mum I wasn't up for it, I have a really nervous disposition, I get scared really easily, I'm prone to panic attacks and anxiety attacks, I just wasn't up for the psychological intensity of an adult haunted house. I knew my limits. I respected my limits... Mum did not.
I asked her if I could just wait outside while she and my brother did the haunted house, but she said 'no' because it was Blackpool and apparently there are lots of gross wasted dudes who would hit on a 12-year-old girl sitting alone.
So I get pretty much literally dragged into the haunted house.
Even by the scary monk dude who greeted our party my heart was already racing. I was legitimately scared and didn't want to do this.
I made it through the first three rooms, but by the third room I was just in utter tears and couldn't see at all where I was going.
Then when we got to the part where we had to walk past the person thrashing around and screaming from the bed; my body just said 'Nope. No more.'
I became literally hysterical. My knees gave out, I collapsed onto the floor in a full-blown panic attack gasping for breath, clutching the back of my neck, sobbing hysterically. I had tunnel vision, I couldn't see anything.
Mum was telling me to pull myself together and stop being such a baby, but I literally couldn't control it. The dude acting out the part broke character (I assume he thought it was a medical emergency). He called for the lights to be turned on and sat with me while I calmed down (my family continued on the tour). He walked me out of the attraction through a back passage and I just sat in the bar kinda shell-shocked until my family finished the tour.
I feel really bad that I accidentally made him break character. But dude, I will always remember your compassion in the moment I thought I was literally going to die."
"I was the supervisor of a medium sized park and the mascots came under me. The mascot team were also ride operators when there just wasn't enough work for them. I remember a child getting really upset with a ride attendant once because they were copying our park fairy... as in they looked too much like them and I mean like this 5-year-old went off and started screaming at her telling her she was a terrible person being an imposter and she was going to tell the park fairy because she was her friend.
The funniest story was with one of the other girls though. She was an attractive and, um, pretty loose 15-year-old girl. Anyway, she spoke in the show so she had a wireless microphone and the stereo system on another ride across the park would pick it up sometimes (same frequency band I guess?). Once she forgot her mic was still on after a show and she was going on about how she got trashed and cheated on her boyfriend... almost too graphically with a lot of swearing and a bunch of people waiting for a ride could hear it.
Sometimes I miss working in a theme park. If only it paid well and wasn't such crappy hours."
"I used to work at a haunted house during the Halloween season. Each night you were assigned a different role, sometimes as an actor, a tech, or support. Actors are in the front line directly interacting with guests, techs are behind the scenes somewhere operating some kind of mechanical jump scare, and support just puts on a black hooded cloak and sneaks around bringing cookies and water to everyone else.
Sometimes a support needs to exit the backstage passages and cross the paths where guests are walking. Generally, you try not to be seen, but sometimes you get stuck. In those instances we were told to press up against a wall, facing it, and not to move or make any sound.
I was passing through a guest passage when a couple women came around a corner. I got stuck in an adjacent corner facing out, so I just stopped moving and looked down so the hood covered my face. They bumped into me and screamed a bit. Then, for whatever reason I can't even fathom, one of them says 'Are you even real?' and full on grabs my crotch. She swooped in from below and got a full handful before I did indeed break character and yelled HEY.
Then I got in trouble for scaring guests as a non-actor. Nothing serious, just a don't-you-do-that warning and a retraining."
"Worked in a haunted house in my town once. Was basically a witch. I sat on a bed sobbing and hugging myself until you walked and turned your back. Then I got up and chased you.
Once I was sitting on the bed doing my thing waiting for the next group. I was 14-15 at the time, should point that out. A guy walks up to me, and one of the rules guests had to follow is they weren't allowed to touch us. Most of us were kids, and if someone did we were supposed to just walk out and get security. So he walks up to me and starts...hover handing? He's very close to touching my face and shoulders, but not actually touching me. So I was really confused, didn't know what to do. He and his friends were laughing and calling me a zombie ho (I looked like a 14-year-old too, I didn't mature early or anything). I was really creeped out and about to leave when they turned and walked away. Ended up chasing that guy down that freaking corridor so fast, he screamed like a baby. Was great. Maybe he thought I was an animatronic I dunno, but it was really weird and really freaked me out."
"Years ago when I worked at Disneyland, I was working at Splash Mountain height check, which is across the walkway from where Pooh and his character group would do meet and greets. One day Eeyore came up to me, holding a man's hand. Characters in costumes are not allowed to talk onstage, but I knew Eeyore needed something. I leaned in and heard her crying inside the head, and she asked me to call security. She said she had been groped by the man because he wanted to know if it was a male or female inside. I did, and while we were waiting for security, Eeyore stayed near me and greeted people waiting to enter the barn (inner Splash Mountain queue area). I couldn't detain the man, so I just made note of what he wore and what direction he went. When security arrived, they escorted Eeyore offstage. I don't know what happened after that.
I don't know why there was no character host (chaperone) that day, but I know they are more commonplace now. Mostly it's to make sure the characters get offstage on time and that the guests waiting for photos and autographs remain somewhat orderly."
"My sister's best friend worked at Six Flags as a werewolf during Fright Fest. She scared a kid so bad that the kid punched her and broke her nose. That definitely made her break character.
Unfortunately, nothing much could be done. Kid was like 5, and my sister's friend just got sent home. Six Flags doesn't care about its employees."
"I was a scare actor at a haunted house. I was a terror clown. I would freeze, and then blare a squeeze bulb horn at people as they were walking by. It was a surprisingly effective way to scare people. Especially big tough looking dudes. They were terrified of me.
At one point, a very pretty very wasted blonde grabbed my junk and said: 'Hey Bozo, want me to honk your horn?' She then started squeezing my ween while making what I think she thought were seductive horn honking sounds. She got thrown out of the park by security because one of the character attendants saw her do it.
I know I should have been offended. But I wasn't. It had been kind of a dry spell...and I was a pretty lonely clown in those days."
"I used to work as a mime for children's parties and elementary school carnivals. The kids would try really hard to get me to talk. Usually, they would do things like steal my hat but I did have one 4th grader punch me right in the chest (I'm a female). I just stared at him until he got a scared look in his eye and calmly walked away.
I also worked at a haunted house where mainly wasted people would try to get me to break. I played a little girl (I was 16 at the time) holding a haunted tea party. They would often try to hit on me or get me to mark that they passed the challenge when they didn't. At this point, I would either scream for 'daddy' (the man with the chainsaw who would chase them away) or make them do something embarrassing like sing a nursery rhyme until I was satisfied and they looked like a fool in front of their friends. On a few other occasions, I would get as close to their face as possible and let out a blood-curdling scream."
"Once I dressed up as Pooh and this girl around 8 or 9 grabbed my hand (paw?) and started massaging it. It's sort of shaped like an oven mitt where Pooh only has a thumb. She squeezes my hand to the point where it's actually kind of painful and then looked up at me with this weird little grin to say 'I'm only trying to feel your fingers in there.'"
"I managed to make someone break character. Cut to me, when I was 9 years old, and in a school trip to an amusement park. My group of friends and I entered the haunted mansion and in the first room, there was a guy in a vampire costume giving an introduction to the ride.
Little me wanted to be funny and I kept talking over him, chanting the same thing over and over so he couldn't get a word in.
He had enough so he stopped, turned to me, pointed at me with his finger and screamed Shut up! My friends and I started laughing hysterically and proceeded to the next room.
To the guy in the Dracula costume, I'm sorry."
"I work at a child's play center.
We have bouncy castles and host parties every week, tons during the weekend and most of the staff takes turns and dress up as the selected character for the party.
Once I was dressed as some tv character and I had a child repeatedly punch me in the back as hard as he could then duck down and due to the small gap in the mask, I couldn't see the little jerk. This went on for 10 mins until one of the other staff noticed and got rid of him. Then I had the parent of the boy come and ask for a picture by hitting my head and saying 'Oi look I want a picture,' the kid laughed and said 'that's not the real [insert crappy costume name] mum.' Then he got in my face and scream, 'Say hello to my mum' (we're not allowed to speak when in costume).
We always get the little 10-11-year-old jerk thinking they're so smart because they have enough brain cells to decipher that the tv show character hasn't come to a small English town for a 6-year-olds party, they just ruin it for the younger ones."
"When I was 17 I got a job at a Horror/Halloween park during the fall. For some reason, they decided to give me an electric chainsaw (a real one with the chain off for the obvious reasons). My job was to jump out from behind a wall with my chainsaw wildly swinging to scare the pants off of people.
There was a very thin path that led past my alcove, with a fence at either end, so they had to go right past me to continue.
A small group of 3 guys in their 30s came past, so I jumped out with my chainsaw. Two of them laughed, but the third guy hit peak Fight or Flight mode. He looked like he was going to run, but then started coming at me. His friends caught him, and asked where the Early Exit was because that guy was not a fan of being jumped out at. I made sure they knew where it was in a calm voice, and they thanked me."
"I worked at a haunted pirate ship last year. At one point, I wore the 'Kelp Man' suit, which had a bunch of green string and stuff caked on, and it looked fantastic. My routine was to lie down totally still and yell at people who passed by. Most of them thought I wasn't a real person, which was the point, but one woman apparently saw my eye slots and laughed and said 'Oh there's a person under there!' Clearly, this woman was shaken by the rest of the haunted pirate ship (I was near the end) and was trying to keep a brave face.
She reached out and started just patting me on the head and laughing. Repeatedly. We weren't allowed to touch the guests, but I lurched up and screamed. She freaked out, and I felt really good afterward."
"Back in high school, during Halloween season the whole school would organize this horror house, allowing the students to use the school as they pleased for their set up.
The whole thing was surprisingly big and very well done. For the most part, people from outside the school would help organize and sometimes kids from junior high would come as a guest or something of the sort.
There's not much else I can say, I always tried to stay as far away from this event as possible since my second-year experience:
I never really enjoyed Halloween season, I'm a terrible actor and it's very hard for me to be affected by horror houses and things of the sort. So whenever these events would go down I'd just excuse myself by telling the teachers the truth: 'I'm not someone to get scared easily.' 'I don't want to make people feel like their efforts were in vain' or 'I don't want to ruin it for the rest' and for my first and senior years it worked, the organizers and teachers understood where I came from.
On my second year, however, something got into the teachers; they were telling us -everyone- had to go inside the house and when we asked why they would simply reply 'you're better off doing it' and say no more in the subject.
I could feel from the beginning, this was a terrible idea. I wasn't the only one who left during the events, but upon being forced to stay I was frankly a little bothered, but not enough to want to make fun of the entire thing; not everyone shared the same feeling of respect.
As it turns out, I was placed in a group filled with all the people who had missed the events before. It was horrible. As we walked through the honestly very beautiful (but not scary to me or my group) scenery the school had been turned into, my group and I were, for the most part, quiet until halfway through the tour some people began simply mocking the entire thing. Because of that and our stoic expressions, many of the other students who had worked on the set up began breaking character and, as we left the building, we heard complaints and were thrown a prop or two. We hadn't been the only group with that reaction.
I wasn't the one to say anything, but it still felt bad. Like being forced into hurting people I knew."
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