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Behind The Screams

Meet Employee 001

After decades of scares, can you believe that Employee 001 still works for ScareHouse? Meet actor Tracy Campbell. Scott Simmons [ScareHouse Creative Director] and I worked together many moons ago in television,” says Tracy. “I worked in news as a writer and producer. Back in the MySpace days, Scott and I were still in touch,…

Pittsburgh’s Pinball Wizard

There’s a new attraction this year at ScareHouse, and it’s something you can experience without ever entering the haunt: Play a couple of rounds of pinball and other classic arcade games before or after your ScareHouse experience, courtesy of PGH Pinball. “If you enter the mall from the movie theater, ScareHouse is to the right,”…

The Scare Coach

This season, ScareHouse added a new position to the team: Scare Coach. But what exactly does a Scare Coach do? Let’s ask the Scare Coach herself, Allie Sims. “My job is primarily managing actors a.k.a. herding cats,” says Sims with a laugh. “Managing actors and helping them get everything they need and need to know,…

Jill of All Trades

Like many ScareHouse employees, Amanda Barnoski is a bit of a Jill of All Trades. “The first year I worked here, I was acting,” says Amanda, “but now I mostly do makeup.” When Barnoski joined ScareHouse in 2017, the Cleveland native brought with her years of experience from other haunts. “I’ve been in the haunt…

A Night in Scream School

As his employees chant “Cheese, cheese, cheese!” in unison, ScareHouse founder Scott Simmons says, “I may have accidentally created a cult.” No, it’s not part of a new lactose intolerant haunt—it’s ScareHouse Employee Orientation! Before every ScareHouse season, the employees gather at Pittsburgh Mills to go over the rules for the new year—and of course…

When is ScareHouse Basement Coming Back?

The short answer is that we don’t have any specific dates yet but we’re committed to bringing The Basement back as soon as we can. We won’t be offering it this fall during the haunt season at The ScareHouse in Pittsburgh Mills. However if all goes as planned, you won’t need to wait until October…

The Light Guys For The Job

The father-and-son team of Bert and Adam Zelten go by many titles at ScareHouse: “Lighting/tech,” “saviors,” and most notably “the guys from Wisconsin” who make the long drive to “vacation” in Pittsburgh every summer (even though they’re really helping get ScareHouse off the ground for the season).   “All the people at ScareHouse make the scenes…

“ScareHouse Changed My Life”

Auditions and interviews for ScareHouse 2022 are coming up this weekend! (Click here for details).  Have you ever wondered what it’s like to scare strangers every night? Or why so many of our staff keep coming back year after year? We asked a few veterans from the ScareHouse cast and crew to tell us in…

Hey Haunt Daddy

James “JJ” Byers laughs when asked what it means to be ScareHouse’s “Haunt Daddy.” “My official title as far as I’m aware is assistant show manager.” The “Haunt Daddy” moniker came about based on behind-the-scenes lingo ScareHouse uses to refer to liaisons between the actors and the management, those who address quick fixes like a…

“I stuck around. It’s hard to leave!”

To be the CSA Manager at ScareHouse means to be the “Customer Service Associate Manager.” But for Ann Kelly, it may as well stand for “Committed ScareHouse Associate Manager,” as she has been with the company for 13 years.  “I had friends that worked here as we were all in college and they said, ‘Come…

“Creepo actually loves children. That’s why he kills them.”

Tom Smith has been playing ScareHouse’s Creepo the Clown character for so long that he gets recognized even when he’s not in Pittsburgh.  “My wife and I were vacationing in New York state, and I happened to have a ScareHouse shirt on, and one of the guys came over and said, ‘Do you work at…

“I fell in love. I knew. I’m at home!”

For ScareHouse store manager Ashley Vattimo, her experience with the haunt is a love story.  “I decided to go on an interview back in 2016, a leap of faith, and it was just right,” says Vattimo. “It was immediate. I fell in love. I knew. I’m at home. Hire me!”  Vattimo was drawn to the…

A Visit from Hollywood Legends

ScareHouse attractions have hosted all kinds of famous faces over the last 20 years: Martin Lawrence, Elijah Wood, Kristin Stewart, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and even the Impractical Jokers… but as die-hard horror nerds, the most mind-blowing visit will always be the night that writer/directors Guillermo Del Toro (Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) and Michael…

Manager of Stuff and Things!

“I do things!” Melissa Sapienza says with a laugh.  In 2016, she started her ScareHouse career as an actor before becoming a show manager in 2017. “And then for 2019, they asked me to be a part of the core management team and also gave me the task of operating Bold Escape Rooms which then…

A Pale Night in Pittsburgh

“Tech guy” Kip Polley laughs when asked what his official title is at ScareHouse. “That’s funny. I don’t officially work at ScareHouse. I actually live in St. Louis. I don’t know what you’d call me.” Talk about the ultimate mystery from the man behind the Stalked By A Killer escape room.  Polley, who owns the…

The projects get weirder and weirder.

Graphic designer Steve Benton got his start with ScareHouse when he and co-founder Scott Simmons worked together in the Creative Services department at WPXI-TV. “Scott and I always had a good working relationship. When he started to move into the professional haunted house realm he started sending me a lot of print stuff to work…

“I Trust Nothing”

Believe it or not, Makeup Manager and Scenic Artist Mollie Himes is a complete scaredy cat when it comes to haunted houses. “I trust nothing,” says Himes with a laugh. “I cannot walk through ScareHouse without a person in front of me and a person behind me. I need the person in front of me…

ScareHouse co-owner Wayne Simmons

ScareHouse co-owner Wayne Simmons, creative director/co-owner Scott Simmons’ father, recognized his son’s unique interests very early. “My wife and I just have one son, Scott,” says the elder Simmons, “and I’m not sure how he picked it up, but from a small child, he was always excited about Halloween and scary things and scary movies….

“Hang up the babies, bloody up the nun, and move the body”

ScareHouse scenic coordinator and show manager Heather Heitzenrater doesn’t have your typical work to-do list. “‘Hang up the babies, bloody up the nun, and move the body,’” Heitzenrater says with a laugh. “It’s ridiculous.” And yet, she wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, maybe it was even written in the stars. Heitzenrater’s older…

Living Every Horror Fan’s Dream

ScareHouse Design and Operations Manager Nicole Conniff is living every horror fan’s dream. Not only does she get to have Halloween and scares on the brain every month of the year, but she has made a career out of it. ScareHouse Design and Operations Manager Nicole Conniff “It’s a small team of us, maybe three…

Sounds to Make You Scream

According to sound designer Bengt Alexsander, the process of putting together the frightening soundscapes of ScareHouse is pretty intuitive. “At this point, I think they just trust me with it,” says Alexsander of working with the ScareHouse crew. “[Scarehouse creative director] Scott Simmons and I have a lot of the same references for movies, so…