On a typical night of Haunt, you’ll come face to face with countless ghastly monsters, each with an original makeup look and unique charm. It takes a talented team of makeup artists to bring the monsters of Haunt to life… or even death. In the midst of her 11th season of Haunt at Dorney Park, we sat down with skilled makeup artist Karen Cooney to get a glimpse of what goes into creating the monsters that you are sure to love… or fear, we mean.
How many monster transformations do you do on a typical night of HAUNT?
Between our team of makeup artists, we complete about 90 looks an hour. That breaks down to about 10 – 12 looks per artist per night. It may not seem like a lot, but each artist is only allotted 15 minutes to complete a makeover. Once you reach that time, we’re told to “seal ‘em and send ‘em.” They have guests to scare!
What is your favorite look to create? Why?
My favorite looks are ones that are skeleton-like or anything that shows anatomy. The sunken-in areas and teeth are some of my favorite parts of that kind of look.
What is your most challenging look to create? Why?
I tend to get nervous when doing zombie makeup. I really like to do more bright colors, but here at Haunt we tend to do more of a realistic look. The fun thing about zombies, though, is that there’s a range of just-bitten zombies to full-blown, long-deceased zombies.
Is HAUNT makeup something that you can be taught or something that is left to your own creativity?
When I first applied here, I really didn’t have any experience doing makeup. I had done face painting on the side in the past, but that’s it. I ended up doing zombie makeup on my husband and that’s what I used in my portfolio to get hired. Actually, I was taught how to use airbrush here and paint prosthetics here from my supervisors and surrounding makeup artists. Now, I try my best to take any opportunity to show what I know to our newer makeup artists. We’re a team and I want all of us to great job!
Can you tell us about your favorite or a common technique that is used on HAUNT monsters’ makeup?
I usually do a simple base on everyone, the cream foundation that will allow everything else to stay. Then, I’ll go over it with the airbrush, which creates the sunken-in areas. From there, I branch out depending on the character. For example, a zombie will have more teeth showing and wounds than others.
Arrive at about 3pm, get my station set up, put water in my cauldron for the airbrush, and set out the paints.
The first actors arrive at about 3:15pm and I go through each, 15 minutes at time.
Once we’re finished with sending the actors out, I head into the park and am stationed in one of the break rooms to help with fixing prosthetics and makeup as the night goes on.
When the attractions close at the end of the night, I’ll come back and help with taking prosthetics off.