Another year, another issue at a Halloween Event.
Last year it was kids complaining about the Auctioneer in The Purge Scare Zone at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Sadly this year it's gone even beyond that with a post about an actress at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando being physically and mentally abused by patrons of the event.
Below is the text that somebody named Sarah posted in a HHN Facebook group. There was also a picture attached but we've chosen not to share that portion of it to make sure we keep the anonymity of this individual intact. But if Sarah see's this and you'd like to add more to this please let us know.
"It breaks my heart to say that I will no longer be with the event. That being said please always keep your hands to yourself. I'm leaving due to the physical sexual and verbal assault that I experienced every single night as well as my fellow scare actors. There is no excuse to put your hands on me or any of us. I was hospitalized, slapped, shoved, screamed, and berated this entire run. Although my coordinators did everything they could to keep me safe, some guests just don't know how to behave. I'm going to miss being the Camp Crystal Lake camp counselor and the purge girl, but when your dad cries when you get home with a swollen eye and bruises, you know you made the right decision."
So first of all, what the hell? When would this EVER be acceptable behavior for somebody to have?
I'm a father to a 19 year old daughter and a 17 year old son. To think that my daughter or son could be working at an event, something they would LOVE doing and be treated this way is unfathomable, disgusting and really get's down to the very core of what you would do to protect your child.
On the other hand, if I EVER found out my son or daughter had behaved liked this at an event or in their personal life it really get's down to the very core of what you would do to knock some sense into your child.
Luckily I've never had to deal with either of these issues. But I can't imagine how Sarah's father reacted. Anybody knows that defending your child goes to the very core of what you are as a parent. And sending your daughter to work at a Halloween event isn't something you should ever have to worry about.
It's also important to point out, these weren't incidents of people getting scared and instinctively reacting to that. These were incidents of intentional verbal and physical abuse.
Before we get to the causes we must stress that this is only one incident that took place at one event, and we certainly aren't calling out HHN. Sadly this type of incident isn't unique to that event, sadly similar things happen at EVERY event. But it certainly is something that we can start a dialogue about.
Alcohol: Sure, alcohol could (and likely did) play a factor in these incidents. It's inevitable when you combine a group mentality along with alcohol things can go wrong. So sure, cutting out the sale of alcohol at these events could be something that is needed. To be fair though, it's not like people couldn't drink at CityWalk or other establishments prior to attending an event.
We've been known to have a few drinks before going into an event, or at an event. And never once has it turned into "I can do whatever I want now". I guess I'll just never understand going to some kind of event whether it's a Halloween event, concert or sporting event and getting so drunk you don't remember it or start acting belligerent and getting kicked out. Just not in my DNA I guess.
Security: First and foremost, Sarah said emphatically that her handlers did everything they could to keep her safe. And this is true of every event. Security and those in charge of the event make sure their talent is safe first and foremost before anything. These events are one big family. I've only worked one event (last Saturday) but I've gone to enough events and know enough people who work these events to know this is the case. And this applies from the major haunts like HHN all the way down to Home Haunts. The safety of the talent and employees at any event, at any theme park at any place of business should be the #1 priority at ALL TIMES. ALL TIMES!!! And this is the case here, no question.
But obviously security can only do so much when they are faced with somebody who is determined to do wrong.
Locals: HHN Orlando is usually $90+ per night to get into the park. That's a lot of $$ for any event but by all accounts it's also worth it. They also offer a resident pass that allows locals to have repeated visits. Again, we don't know if these were locals but we've all seen and heard stories from other parks where those who visit a park on a weekly/daily basis can develop a certain affection for certain individuals at the park. 99.99999% of the time this is harmless, wanting to take a picture with their favorite princess or character. And there's nothing wrong with that. But it's that other 00.0000001% that could be the issue here.
Also, to be fair, HHN isn't the only park that offers this kind of pass. We have a Knott's Scary Farm pass this year, so once again it's hard to just pinpoint this to one thing.
So what's the answer here? Because it's not just one thing.
Well first, it's time to stop looking at women as objects that are there for our entertainment and ogling. No more shaming girls and women into being what we want them to be and making sure they don't wear clothes that can "seduce impressionable young men". Because boys that are taught in school that it's ok to treat women a certain way based on the way they are dressed become men who think it's ok to do this at a Halloween event.
At the very least trying to minimize the amount of alcohol consumed at events is probably a good idea. This would have to be done by only allowing people to buy 1 drink at a time, no buying multiple drinks to give to friends that may be overly inebriated. This means giving the bartenders the authority and help they need dealing with those they have to say no to.
This also means giving security the authority to kick people out and make sure they don't come back to the event. And perhaps some kind of "panic button" for the actors and actresses to press to alert security at any time. (again, not sure if this is a thing already or not)
Last but not least, it's up to us the people who like to go to these events and have a great time to point out behavior to those in charge. Obviously taking matters into our own hands is out of the question but we must step up and not be silent when we see abuse happening. This means finding one of the blackouts in the mazes, security in the scare zone and alerting them. Maybe parks need to have some kind of "text number" where people can report an incident to at any time. To be fair, I'm not sure if any parks have this, but I've seen them at sporting events so it's technology that is available.
Because at the end of the day, if these incidents continue to happen they aren't going to be around or they are going to have to be severely limited in what they are.
So what do you think the answer is? We have a lot of people who work Halloween events who are fans of this site, what would you the experts like to see done to make sure these types of things don't happen?