How Woods of Terror prepares for a night of horror

Tai Van Dyke, graphics editor

In a wooded area at McLaurin Farms, something strange is happening. A multitude of regular people are meticulously being transformed into demented clowns, grisly zombies, and other creepy characters. This is no dark magic. This is the process and the hard work that goes behind running Woods of Terror, a well-known haunted attraction in Greensboro.

Woods of Terror has been providing Greensboro with horror and thrills for twenty-five years. Many are familiar with what happens on the trail, but not with what happens off of it. Here is a look into what goes on before the scares start.

In the late afternoon, a crew of makeup artists work in a hidden outdoor studio. The hoses hanging from the ceiling are for airbrushes, which are used to create realistic textures on skin.
Fake blood is splattered on many of the actors and actresses, and sometimes accidentally on passersby. The main ingredients for fake blood usually consist of water, food coloring and corn syrup.


Artist Mickaellah Litman applies some gory finishing touches onto actress Anna Marie. “It is fun to scare the bejesus out of people,” Litman said.
Marie’s makeup was her own idea. “I give [the artists] props on what I want,” Marie said.
A bloodied lumberjack, a zombie and a skeleton casually chat as the other employees continue to prepare for a night of scaring.
Fred Swink is known for his character, Lord Repticus. The scale pattern on his skin is created by spraying an airbrush over a net.
The costume closet takes up an entire small trailer. Wigs and costumes are sectioned off based on the types of characters who will wear them. Shown above is a stash of clown wigs.
As the evening approaches, the gates open, and a crowd starts pouring in. Venues such as Roadkill Cafe are needed to supply visitors with snacks and refreshments. “On a good night, the lines go all the way up the midway,” employee Jennifer Townsend said.
Owner Eddie McLaurin holds a meeting with his employees once everyone has settled down. “My job is to make sure everything runs smoothly,” McLaurin said.
After McLaurin gives a pep talk, the actors and actresses begin to get into character. Swink, now Lord Repticus, carries his pet python, Morticia. The guitar riff from Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” begins to play, signifying that it is time for everyone to greet the crowd. The actors and actresses, now screaming and hollering, march towards the midway.
Once everyone is on the midway, McLaurin plays the national anthem. When that ends, the actors and actresses erupt into a frightening fit of energy. They quickly make their way to the trail, ready to provide a night of terror.