Last year, ACE NorCal’s annual California’s Great America preseason tour hit a record attendance of nearly 60 members and guests, all eager to get a glimpse at what was new...
In 2006, (then) Six Flags Marine World invited ACE members to help them scare the wits out of the regular park guests on the roller coasters. Read more about it… ACE Fright Nights at Six Flags Marine World
By Scott and Amy Craig
See photos here.
During October, Six Flags Marine World transforms the park in to a Halloween nightmare called Fright Fest. Ghouls and monsters roam the fog-filled paths of the park and guests are invited experience the horror in their various mazes. In the latter part of September and all of October of 2006, Six Flags Marine World offered ACE NorCal a very special opportunity to become one of those ghouls. Dubbed ACE Fright Nights, Northern California ACE members in groups of up to six people were given a professional ghoul make-up treatment and were allowed to scare guests. How does this tie in to a group of roller coaster enthusiasts? While looking like one of the park’s scariest ghouls, you got to ride all the coasters you wanted while scaring the guests on board!
My wife Amy and I dove at the first chance and were signed up for the very first night of Fright Nights. We go all out during Halloween at home and combininng roller coasters and Halloween was a major reason why we bowed down and gave props to the mastermind behind this ingenious event, Al Garcia of Public Relations at Marine World. We were the only two ACE members that night and the park treated us to a pizza meal before we made our transformation into ghouls. After eating, we were led into a building behind the water ski arena. There, we saw the rest of the Marine World staff getting ready for Fright Fest. Make-up artists were airbrushing faces and applying prosthetics as well to transform the employees into demons of the night. Many of them work in the mazes and a few had special themes for “The Procession.” Just before it gets dark at the park, the paths flood with fog and a horse-drawn funeral cart proceeds with a mob of monsters before it. Ghouls and monsters lead the march and make way for the vampire bride to rise from the coffin inside, freaking out guests who were unaware of what to was happen next.
The park inspired us to make our own costumes or theme. Amy was a dead park mechanic and I was a zombie park guest. After hanging out a bit, watching the park’s make-up masters at work, it was time for Amy to become the dead park mechanic. The artist first applied a prosthetic open wound to Amy’s cheek that leaked blood later on. Her other cheek had latex scars applied and her teeth were painted a moldy greenish brown. The majority of her face was air bushed a pale white with brown eye sockets. After teasing up her hair and putting on a park jumpsuit, she was ready to break some working rides. I quickly got into my shredded jeans and Six Flags shirt and put on my skeleton gloves and feet. My face was air brushed white with black veins and a blood trail down one eye. I wanted the moldy teeth, too, and quickly got a set. The teeth really pull off the whole effect of being dead.
While Al supervised us, we were let out to terrorize the park. The park was just getting dark and guests were pouring into the park. You could tell that the rest of the monsters working that night were excited to get their scare on. Once in make-up you had to come up with how you were going to characterize yourself. You just can’t walk around and say “Boo!” Amy’s dead mechanic theme was pretty much self-explanatory but for me I had to vocalize and act like a dead guest, since it wasn’t as obvious who I was. Once let out, we went crazy! We ran everywhere, chasing guests and screaming our lungs out. At times Amy and I would work as a team, outflanking guests, taking turns of approaching from different sides like a pack of hungry wolves. The tactic worked really well and I recall many, many teenagers fleeing away while screaming. After yelling for about three hours, I lost my normal speaking voice, which actually helped the dead guest image. My voice became twisted into this guttural version of Bob Goldthwait’s and I used that to freak out guests and some employees! We did our fair share of riding coasters and the fun part was when a guest wasn’t really aware of who you were until the ride dispatched. Turning around and greeting them as you went up a lift hill and seeing their eyes light up in horror. The entire night was filled with scares like that and Amy and I were in heaven.
The rest of the Fright Fest season played out rather nicely and I had the pleasure of working with Al and Darren Besoyan in gathering and organizing names of other members who wanted to partake in this amazing event. First and foremost, I would like to thank Al Garcia for coming up with and organizing Fright Nights. His dedication to the park, its guests and our organization is paramount. I would also like to thank the dedicated make-up artists and the other monsters for helping us out. There were times that they gave us great adivce and actually looked out for us when crowds got thick. You can see pictures from our Fright Night here.
Scott & Amy Craig