The clouds gathered, making the area dark and gloomy. Dark rain clouds hovered above me. The quietness was deafening as I watched the leaves sway in the wind. All was quiet in the land of Scarywood as the crew and staff were making the final prep for the opening of Scarywood 2023 at Silverwood Theme Park. The park is stunning as the color of fall is all around us, but being alone in the park on this rainy day gave me goosebumps.
The clouds broke open as I was walking to Clowntown. I was hoping to catch some of the crew around the area, but as I looked around, I was the only one in Clowntown, and it was TOO quiet to feel normal. As the rain pelted down and the wind picked up, all of the clowns that were hanging started to sway – raindrop by raindrop.
The logical side of me laughs and tried to tell myself that the clowns here are NOT real. But the closer I stepped to them, the details were all too scary. It’s those darn teeth and the beady eyes that creep me out. I swear I could hear music from the movie IT playing in my head. Check out how my mood ring changed from being in Clowntown vs. me in my car.
Scarywood at Silverwood theme park is located in Athol, ID, and is open Thursday – Saturday till October 28th. As seen on Travel Channel’s “Halloween’s Scariest Thrills,” Scarywood is full of haunted attractions and roaming monsters. Experience 4 haunted attractions, including the revamped Planet Zombie: Lights Out, 10 scare zones and most of Silverwood’s signature rides in the dark.
One of the most exciting parts of being a Silverwood Conductor for me are the moments where I get to go behind the scenes of Silverwood. I love seeing how things are created. I have always been a nerd for everything behind the scenes. In fact, you can still catch me looking up movies, music videos, art, etc., and see how it was created from the scenery, costumes, props, and, of course, the makeup and special effects. Maybe it was my way to remind myself that these things aren’t real. Although, you could never convince me that clowns are evil.
If you have never been to Scarywood or read a past blog post, you would be amazed at how quickly Silverwood creates Scarywood. The planning, prep, designing, and creating takes about a year, but the setup of Scarywood to go public happens VERY quickly- like everything is done within a WEEK! Everything gets changed from the rides, scenery, and food! And there are spooks in every corner of the park.
Here are some fun tips and behind-the-scenes moments
Let’s do a little disclaimer before moving on. Scarywood- although family-friendly, the park asks that no one under the age of 12 enter. The haunters do not touch any visitors, but it can be loud, and the haunters do jump out. Leave the littles at home with a sitter and enjoy your scary night out!
Starting in August, haunters are auditioned and hired. There is even a scare school to attend where a haunter will learn how to create their character, build a character background, and how to scare. Check out Stephaine in the Scarywood Show as she took herself through scare school and became a haunter. 250 actors are hired to bring you chills and screams.
I started my journey meeting with Tanner, who is the head creator of Everything Scary and has been with Silverwood for 9 seasons and has a very impressive art background. Did you know that Silverwood has a warehouse for Scarywood that houses all props and scenery?! Inside the warehouse is where spooks are envisioned and created. On the day I visited the team, skeletons were laid across the table, getting their final touchups before opening day.
Tanner showed me his workshop area, and I squealed with excitement when I walked in! This warehouse is where all my fx/makeup dreams came true. I think I even begged Stephanie that I NEEDED to find a way to be part of the team.
- A little backstory so you understand my hyped-up excitement. Back in the days of a young woman, I dreamed of being a makeup artist for Universal Studios and film. At that time in my life, I was lucky that I lived in Florida, where makeup was all the rave. Connections to movies and theme parks were plentiful in the Sunshine State. Although I could not afford an FX makeup school, I checked out every library book, subscribed to every FX magazine that was available, and practiced till my fingers bled. FX came really naturally for me as I created bruising, cuts, and scrapes. I also learned how to use all the tricks for creating scabs, burns, oozing limbs, and creepy zombie looks. I even had opportunities to train with some pretty famous makeup artists. I really thought that if I wasn’t going to be a show skater, I was going to be an incredible makeup artist.
- Unfortunately, life had other plans for me when I moved up here to Idaho. But the passion was not lost.
Tanner is an incredible sculptor, and I got to see many of the busts he has created for masks. Fun fact, Silverwood does quite a bit in-house! To make a silicone mask, he first makes a sculptor of the creature with clay – making all the details as real as possible. After the sculpting is finished, you create a form and then pour silicone into it, and when it has finished curing…. A mask is made. It then moves on to getting painted. Teeth, eyes, and fur or hair is also added. Any fear you have has been created in a mask. The one that creeps me out the most are the pig heads. It is like a train wreck- super creepy, but I can’t take my eyes off it. Tanner is a very talented guy and can create 1 ½ masks a day!
Our next stop was the warehouse of costumes and makeup! This is another favorite spot of mine and another place I would like to call home. I am pretty sure I have annoyed Stephanie and Jordan to the max about wanting to be a part of the team. My fingers are crossed, and plans are being made (on my end) to be a bigger part of Silverwood for next year. When there is a goal and a dream – there is a way!
I was greeted by RaeAnne, who is head of the costume warehouse where you can find HUNDREDS of costumes and shelves filled with masks. These warehouses are their own theme park and a spooky wonderland! A few years ago, I got to do a blog post about makeup at Scarywood, where my daughter and I got to be victims of becoming a Scarywood clown. The process of seeing a creature come to life was so exciting. I loved every moment of it. No way I could leave the park without taking that character with me to pick up the kids from school that day.
Before leaving, I asked Madison to pick out her favorite creature, but like me, it is hard to pick just one favorite so she asked me what creeps me out the most….. P I G. I am going to blame my momma for this fear as I am sure I have secretly watched her horror movies about a human pig that eats it’s victims. Thanks mom!
This creature has 2 arms that go along with it, and I can not express how realistic these arms were. The texture, the feeling, the veins and pores- EEK! But the twisted side of me would totally wear these in public just to see the reactions. Now that I had my fun in the warehouses, it was time to explore the park to see the finishing touches. I braved the cold rain and walked the abandoned park for a few sneak peeks!
This year, Scarywood has a few new things, such as a new cannibal table in Blood Bayou and a new haunt area – Day Of The Dead. Before you plan your visit, here are a few things to help you survive your haunted night!
Quick Tips For Your Haunted Night
- Visit more than once because there are just too many frights to fit in one night!
- Thursdays are less crowded and will save you money on your park admission
- Buy your tickets 1 or more days in advance to receive an $8 discount off the online: day of pricing.
- Scarywood does sell out of tickets. Be sure to purchase your tickets early to ensure tickets are available for your desired day. If tickets are sold out, we will not sell tickets at the gate.
- Get in early to ensure you get the maximum amount of time to visit the attractions.
- Scarywood is a chilling event, so dress for the weather. (If you forget, you can buy sweatshirts, jackets and umbrellas at our retail stores)
- Costumes worn by guests are not allowed at Scarywood
- Physical contact with the actors is not allowed
- Scarywood is not recommended for children 12 and under.
- Parking is $10.
Meet The Conductor
Hello! My name is Jackie. I am married to a handsome handyman, and I’m the proud momma of 5 kids. About 13 years ago, I started my photography business, Jax Creations Photography. A couple of years ago, I started a family website called Wanderful Memories. I use this site to share ways other families can document moments in life through travel and lifestyle. A fun fact about me is that I love to cook/bake for others, and I throw a great dance party in the kitchen (when no one is around to watch my awesome dance moves, of course)! There are many parts of Silverwood that I enjoy, but if I had to narrow it down, it would be riding the Tilt-a-Whirl with my boys. I love to hear them belly laugh! My family enjoys visit Silverwood multiple times during the summer with season passes — it is the perfect way to split up the summer days by visiting the water park or getting their adrenaline going on a roller coaster.