Chances are if you are driving near the Lancaster area during the fall season, you will see a billboard for a place called Field of Screams. Since 1993, Field of Screams has been terrorizing Pennsylvania residents with its annual attractions and haunted houses. However, have you ever wondered what makes those haunted houses work each and every year?
Field of Screams was the brainchild of two brothers. One of those brothers is Jim Schopf, who co-founded the iconic attraction when he was a sophomore at Millersville University. Though he was attending Millersville as a secondary education major, the haunt expanded year after year and essentially became a full-time job.
When asked about the feelings of seeing his business become such an essential part of Halloween in Pennsylvania Schopf told us, “There’s a lot of words: Thrilling, rewarding, exhilarating and a lot of fun.” He went on to say his favorite part of Field of Screams year after year, “It’s opening night. It’s seeing all the hard work during the off-season come to fruition and finally being open.”
However, it’s not just the Schopf brothers that make Field of Screams happen, but itis the hard work of their countless volunteers and actors. There are dozens of characters and scare performers spread across the four haunted attractions that make up Field of Screams. Those attractions are Nocturnal Wasteland, Den of Darkness, Frightmare Asylum and the Haunted Hayride.
Hidden amongst the rows of corn fields is the main base of operations for the Field of Screams team. The two-story barn houses every costume, prop and make-up effect needed to make each night possible.
One of the actors that has become a regular for the haunt is Mason Swisher. Swisher's role each year is a chainsaw performer, the haunt actors specifically trained to handle the chainless chainsaws throughout Field of Screams. In the eight years he’s been part of the team he said the thing that brings him back each time is, “Being with people who are a lot like me. Being really kind, being really happy, being really outgoing. It helps with getting that aggression out that builds up over the year.”
Field of Screams’ 31st season is wrapping up on Nov. 11, but they have no plans of going anywhere anytime soon. Expect a full return in September 2024.