Around this time of year, thousands of patrons visit various haunted attractions around the United States, a few being in our own backyard.
There, guests can enjoy being scared, frightened and maybe even a little grossed out. One of the biggest downsides of being one of these actors is abuse from the guests.
Instincts and knee-jerk reactions that enact our fight-or-flight responses are valid, but if you know that you cannot handle someone jumping out of a closet or popping out of a trap door to scare you without your instinct being to punch the actor – don’t go.
Common commentary surrounding abuse of actors stems from typical victim blaming, such as, “they knew the risks and chose to be an actor anyway.”
Yes, most actors do know the risk, but does that make it any less inappropriate? No. Respecting the actors is the first thing you will read on the waivers that attractions make visiting guests sign, which mention that you should not touch the actors, so why do people think it is okay?
Part of me believes it stems from entitlement of customers. For example, people have no problem berating cashiers, customer service representatives or fast food workers over every inconvenience, yet expect respect and service from those people.
Personally, if you know that you cannot handle being scared, my advice to you is to stay home.
Just because someone works in a place that may open them up to potential violence and verbal abuse, it does not mean you should jump on the bandwagon and act on those abusive traits. Especially to those who are trying to make some extra money on the side.
Therefore, when you choose to go to these places, understand that decency goes a long way, even when their main purpose is to scare the daylights out of you. They want you to have a good time and are providing a service to you.