Getting the scare


Scaring many people in the month of October, the Lake Hills Haunted House has been open for eight years. It resided as a country club before it was a haunted house.

Kristen Copple and lakecentralnews

The haunted house in Lake Hills has been known to give a good fright, but it would be nothing without its actors. There were a couple of different ways the actors went about getting the scare.

Method number one, the pop-out method. For this tactic, the actors usually hide behind something in their assigned room and jump out at customers as they walk past. The timing has to be exactly right for the desired result, and the actors have to make sure the customers cannot see them prior to the scare.

“I like the reaction of the people after I jump out,” Paige Cieslak (12) said, “What works best for me is just being myself but respecting the rules.”

Other actors go about scaring people by staying mute and “following” them with their eyes. Lauren Bustamante (12) worked primarily as a rag doll in the attic and would get the most scares by simply staring people down.

“[The customers] would do double takes when they saw me because they thought I was fake. Once people noticed me blinking or making direct eye contact, they’d jump or scream, ‘She’s real,’” Bustamante said.

Other actors created a script based on the room they were assigned for the night. Madison Magdziarz (9) worked in the kitchen Halloween night and scared a lot of people by banging on props in the room, kicking the walls and screaming in an evil voice that it was “time for dinner.”

“When I’m in a room, specifically the kitchen, I kind of analyze the room and think of things I can do with it. I would think of what would scare me if I was walking through, and I would do that. So then, I just stick with the script in my head, and if someone says something to me that can mess up my already set script, I just improv,” Magdziarz said.

The Lake Hills Haunted House was rated the eighth scariest haunted house in Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois by Haunted House Chicago. The house operates annually in the month of October during the weekends and takes volunteers between the ages of 16 and 21. The website is