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Costume manager Krista Ivan

a close up of a woman wearing a hat“There really is a lot of work and detail that go into them. Going through the haunt, it’s dark, but it’s there, I promise you.”

Costume manager Krista Ivan would know, since she’s been working for ScareHouse since 2018. The University of Pittsburgh graduate was searching for jobs in costume design, her concentration in school, when she came across ScareHouse’s posting. 

Imagining ScareHouse characters in basic wardrobes, like hayride jeans and flannel, could completely take you out of the experience altogether. It’s the highly layered and detailed costumes that really add to the atmosphere, like with one of Ivan’s favorite 2021 characters, a figure the ScareHouse crew calls “the Hero Scavenger.”

“He kind of has a Mad Max vibe about him. He wears Aviators. He’s really grungy.”

In order to achieve this particular look for this character, Ivan gets down to the nitty gritty when it comes to specific elements. 

“For him, I have these craft scissors with zig zags. I open them up, and it helps to rip multiple pieces at once. For grunginess, I use acrylic paint, and I also purchase grunge spray from a place called Manhattan Wardrobe Supply.”

Another thing that people may not know about the costume process is how long it takes to develop the characters and looks. 

“There are two phases to the costuming. The first part starts usually in July and that’s when all of the designers come together and talk to Scott about what the theme is for this year and what sort of characters he’s looking for. Then, I start figuring out what the costume would be for each character, which could be something I have to research and purchase online. I go to thrift stores a lot, and I upcycle a lot of things and make them into costumes.”

The second part of costuming comes during the actual season when ScareHouse is open to the public. 

“I come in about an hour before the actors and put away the costumes that have been freshly laundered, and just make sure that I have everything in good order. Then the actors come in according to their call time and I see what their character is that day and I hang up their costume.”

Then when it’s showtime, Ivan’s job turns into more of the supervising portion, where she serves as haunt manager to make sure everything runs smoothly. 

“I’m on radio and checking on the actors, making sure they’re okay. Then at the end of the night, everybody turns in their costumes, and we all go home.”

Similar to other ScareHouse crew members, Ivan has a full-time job in addition to this fun side hustle. 

“I’m also a pharmacy technician at Magee’s Women’s Hospital.”

And like her colleagues, she, too, loves having this outlet to spur her artistry.

“I love that I get to be creative, but I also get to put my own personal touch on these characters. I also love the people I work with. It’s like a family.”