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May 20, 2022

Halfway to Halloween at The Fear PDX

Halfway to Halloween at The Fear PDX

Now in its 10th year, The Fear PDX in Portland Oregan opened for Halfway to Halloween on May 13th. This 1-night event was a first for the haunt, and it coincided with the WCHC bus tour. Today, we’ll go on-location and hear from the team. Show notes:...

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Now in its 10th year, The Fear PDX in Portland Oregan opened for Halfway to Halloween on May 13th. This 1-night event was a first for the haunt, and it coincided with the WCHC bus tour. Today, we’ll go on-location and hear from the team. Show notes:


Philip: Coming up, we're going on location to the Fear PDX for their Halfway to Halloween event. Now in their 10th year, the Fear PDX in Portland, Oregon opened for Halfway to Halloween on May 13th. This one-night event was a first for the haunt, and it coincided with the West Coast Halloween Convention bus tour. Today we'll go on location and hear from the team about what it was like. Here's Shalee to give us the background.

Shalee: My name is Shalee Mudget, and I am married to one of the owners of The Fear PDX. Tonight, we are open for our Halfway to Halloween event, it's the first time we've done this. The Fear PDX has been open for 10 years, we are now officially a decade old as of last Halloween season.

So, when you come to The Fear PDX, you're going to have three totally separate experiences. It is a linear experience, so one's going to lead into the next. The first one that you encounter is going to be more your industrial serial killers, who's hiding around the next corner, more of your gore, the horror type stuff. The next one that you're going to encounter is the mansion, and when you first enter the mansion you're greeted by the dead bellhop, and then you lead through the haunted hotel, spirits, ghosts. And then, the third experience that you're going to run into is everyone's all-time favorite, your killer clowns, clowns jumping out at you, disorienting rooms, we have a tilt room, we have the black and white checkered room, all that kind of stuff.

The entire experience, roughly from start to finish, if you don't do the bonus haunt at the end, it's generally, roughly around 30 minutes to get through the entire experience.

Philip: So, Shelly's husband, Brian, started a haunt while teaching at Hawkinson High. When his position was cut, it gave him the push. He needed to move into haunting full-time. He started Confront Your Fears in Vancouver, and next year he moved it to Portland and rebranded it as The Fear PDX.

Shalee: Yeah, it definitely was not his realm of what he was going with. He had originally just wanted to make it a fun fundraiser for the kids for school.

Philip: Tell me about your team.

Shalee: We have four main makeup artists, they do rotate through, so we have three every night that we're here going through our actors. On average, a night, we have between 40 and 60 actors, depending on how many line actors we have, things like that. We do have a pretty big management staff. We have someone over cast, we have someone over in front of house, we have someone over photos, ticket booth, stuff like that. A lot of family and friends help us out with this.

Philip: Speaking of the team let's hear from them. I caught one scare actor from each of the three zones, that way we can work our way through the haunt and hear from the people behind it. First up, phoenix.

Phoenix: Hi, I'm Phoenix and I am a scare actor here at Fear PDX. You will encounter me, like, almost right at the beginning of the Factory 13, which is the industrial part of the haunt. I've actually only been scaring since last October. I came back mostly just because it's like a really good community and it's really fun to scare.

It's always been an important holiday to me, mostly just because it's not super like religious, unlike a lot of holidays, but also I'm a cosplayer. So, getting to dress up without being judged is super fun.

Philip: Okay, we've left the industrial zone and entered the mansion, here's Sarah.

Frogg: Hi, my name is Sarah Blair, my nickname is Frogg within the industry, so most people know me by Frogg instead. I have been in the industry going on 12 years now, this is my third haunt. So, a lot of fun. I've gotten my children involved into it, now my granddaughter is involved with it a little bit.

Tonight, I am going to be in the hotel, and I will be directing you to your rooms. A lot of times I'm out scaring in the line, generally during main season in October. I have kind of been developing Pandora, so I get a little bit of different faces. Quite often I'll wear a plague doctor mask, tonight I'm going to be in a hotel, so I'm going to be a little more zombie-esque today. I've been a large variety of them, but I'm kind of settling into this Pandora right now, somewhere between steam punky, grungy.

Philip: You mentioned that you've been over 12 years in the industry, a lot of grilling hours, a lot of bruises. Tell me why it's important to you though.

Frogg: Actually, I got invited into this world, if you will, by a friend of mine in some outpatient therapy. Her and I are like polar opposites, and I absolutely love this woman, and she thought because I was in one of my rock bottom areas in the beginning of the divorce that this might be very therapeutic. And very much so it has proven that to me, I absolutely love it. So, it's one of my happy places. It's absolutely one of my happy places, and I've been able to get other people to have that same kind of happy, productive, like outlet for so much stress in a very positive way.

We come from a large variety of walks of life, but the commonality is, it's therapy. When it comes down to it, 99% of the time it's therapy. It's a creative outlet, a theatrical outlet, we can be something else in a healthy and controlled environment.

Philip: Yes, that bit about you want them to be scared, but you also want them to know that they're safe because safe and scary is fun.

Frogg: It absolutely can be. When you can control it, for myself, it lets me control my PTSD. I have control of something.

Philip: Why is Halloween important?

Frogg: Ooh, Halloween is important for a variety of reasons. For myself, creating this family like bond within this industry, it's just, it's very heartfelt. It brings in the holidays in a very good way because you create this giant family amongst everybody, and we all kind of help each other and support each other through a difficult time of year.

Philip: That sense of scare acting as an outlet that Sarah mentioned is something we'll also hear from Sam in the clown area coming up.

Sam: My name is Sam. I'm 19, I'm from Eugene, Oregon, been doing haunted houses for almost six years now, started when I was 15, and I just love it so much. I can take all my negative energy and turn it into something positive, and just lay it all out on the scare floor, it's amazing.

My character assaulted the client. It was something that just came up on the fly, and the reason why his name is Salty is because if you're not friends with him, he's really salty and he's going to eat you and kill you. And he just also likes to taste the blood, and blood is really salty. I'll be in the hallway with the swinging head just right before Mr. Chuckles with our super big clown animatronic, that super long hallway, I'll be running the whole thing.

 I love watching grown men drop to the floor and scream like little kids, like it's just amazing. And it's like, I can just get out of my bubble space and I'm a comfort zone every time I'm in costume, and it's just an amazing feeling. Cause I know I can just try something, and it doesn't matter what the other person thinks about it because they don't know who I really am, and I can be super creative with it, and my energy is just, it's crazy.

Halloween is my favorite. This is my favorite season, fall in general, I always look forward to the Halloween season. So, I live for it, I live for haunted houses.

Philip: Okay, we've made it through the haunt. Let's go back to Shalee to hear about their plans for the upcoming Halloween.

Shalee: So, for Halloween for 2022 we will have different ways the maze is going to be going, a lot of new static characters outside, we're going to be expanding our mid to the full entire back parking lot, and we're adding in a couple of new scenes in the haunted mansion that are really going to start tripping people out. So, definitely come out for our 2022 season.

Philip: Okay. That's it for today. We'll catch you back here tomorrow for our Friday deep dive into the business side of Halloween.

Shalee MudgettProfile Photo

Shalee Mudgett

Owner, The Fear PDX / RCFX

Shalee has an extensive history within the industry, owning a Haunted House (The Fear PDX) and RCFX (formerly R.I.P. City FX), an SFX Makeup and set design company that vends at various Conventions. She manages unique holiday horror events year-round and visits conventions nationwide, vending her unique products. Shalee has supported H.A.A. for over a decade and believes in the power of collaboration, change, and networking and is thrilled to be joining the board to represent other women of the industry who own businesses and make this industry what it is today.