October 17, 2001
Sandusky, OH -- The stories you have heard keep you up at night. The mere thought of it sends chills up your spine. Does Cedar Point amusement park/resort really have menacing, frightening characters hiding in the shadows along its Frontier Trail during HalloWeekends?
On Friday and Saturday nights, from 8 pm until midnight, a portion of the Frontier Trail is transformed into the all-new Fright Zone. A giant talking skull at one entrance and a half-human/half-skeleton creature at the other warn approaching guests not to enter this haunting trail of terror. Making matters worse, inhabiting this ultra-spooky zone is a collection of Old West characters, known as Screamsters, who hide behind trees, in dark corners and anywhere else with the sole intention to scare the daylights out of unsuspecting guests.
But just who or what is a Screamster? To find out, we cornered Screamster Bob Russell, who spends his non-lurking hours as a sophomore at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.
Russell is dressed in a large dark overcoat with a cowboy hat pulled down just above his eyes. He, along with the rest of his fellow Screamsters, hides in a variety of locations along the Fright Zone. A combination of fog machines, special effect lighting and the overall darkness of the Frontier Trail at night provide the perfect camouflage for this motley crew.
"This is the best Halloween gig ever!" stated an excited Russell. "My favorite technique is to walk past our guests and then sneak up behind them. The higher they jump the more I like it."
To find appropriate personnel, Cedar Point held an open casting call for Screamsters. Those selected went through "Monster University" to enhance their skills. Then came the fun part - the wardrobe and makeup. The makeup and costumes worn by the Screamsters are administered by John Taylor, manager of graphic services and the park's HalloWeekends guru. It can take up to one hour to get each Screamster into their costume and makeup. Most of the Screamsters wear rubber prosthetics glued to their faces. All of the characters have the face of an animal or ghoul and are dressed in a frontier theme. Characters range from a newlywed couple to a sheriff and prisoners who allegedly escaped from Fort Sandusky. Each of the masks worn by the Screamsters were designed exclusively for Cedar Fair, L. P. by a Hollywood makeup artist.
In addition to the Fright Zone, the opportunity to experience Pharaoh's Secret and the Toxic Tunnel of Terror haunted houses through special 3-D glasses, the gigantic new Undertaker U. haunted house and the new Magical House on Boo Hill await park goers of all ages this fall. Also, a live entertainment lineup that includes master magician Aaron Radatz at the Centennial Theatre; "The Haunted Carousel Horse" at the Pet Farm; "A Tale of Terror" in the Glassblowing Amphitheater; "Country Hits: Live!" in the Red Garter Saloon; DJ Zombo on the Main Midway balcony; and "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" in the Town Hall Square will entertain the entire family. Kids will laugh with delight at the "Witches of Witch Hollow" in PEANUTS Playground; "The Great Hallo Fun Kiddy Show" in Kiddy Kingdom; and the "Kids Costume Contest" in Camp Spooky.
During HalloWeekends, the park will be open Friday nights from 6 pm to midnight; Saturdays from noon to midnight; and Sundays from noon to 8 pm through Oct. 28. On Friday nights, only the Main Midway, Frontier Trail and a portion of Frontiertown will be open. (The entire park will be open on Saturdays and Sundays.)
For more information on HalloWeekends at Cedar Point, visit one of the spookiest amusement park Web sites online at www.cedarpoint.com.