Working today: Owning a haunted house is frighteningly fun

Jeremy Warlen, owner of Freaks Fair, poses for a photo in the ticket booth outside of his haunted attraction.

Jeremy Warlen has found joy in scaring people since he was eight years old and 10 years ago, he was able to start getting paid to do so with Freaks Fair.

Warlen is the owner of Freaks Fair, a haunted house attraction located at 126 S.W. 400th Road.

As the owner, he runs the operation while also taking part in the construction of the attraction.

Despite being the owner, Warlen can’t resist getting in costume himself and taking part as an actor to help scare patrons.

“It’s about knowing how to scare somebody, but really just knowing how to entertain somebody,” he said.

What would surprise people most to learn about your job?

“I guess that it’s just a fun job. Nobody really expects anyone to be in the haunted house business. It’s kind of a weird business, but it’s a fun business.”

What’s the most common question you get about what you do?

“I get a lot of questions. ... They mostly ask about what the theme of the haunted house is. That’s what most people are curious about. Then it gets into how gory it is, etc.”

What is the most challenging aspect for your job?

“Keeping it scary every single year. Trying to better myself every single year. That’s the most challenging part.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job or career?

“I love doing this all year long. This is my passion. But once everybody goes through, getting to see everyone’s faces is the real reward. That’s my favorite.”

Would 10-year-old you be surprised that you are in this position or field?

“No. I’ve been haunting since I was 8 years old, when I put together my first home haunt. It started when I was trick-or-treating and went to a lady’s house where you had to go through a mud room to the front door, which was decorated all out with baby dolls and a black light. I had never seen anything like that yet. As I knocked on the door, she burst out of the dolls, dressed as a doll, and it scared the crap out of me, so I ran home. I loved the feeling that I got, so I started to hide behind a bush and scare everybody from then on and I never stopped scaring.”

What advice would you give someone starting a job similar to yours?

“You have to have passion or it’s going to make you go crazy because doing this all-year long is daunting.”

Staff Writer Dustin Steinhoff can be reached by emailing dustin.steinhoff@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.

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