But I've definitely done my share of creature performing since. So I signed on to perform as the big bad for an immersive summer camp horror event weekend before last.
And to my happy surprise, a lot has changed since my day. In particular, a multilayered consent system that ensures smooth play while not traumatizing anyone.
I've heard some grumbling about such things over the years, but my attitude has pretty much been eh, fuck the grumblers. I was raised right.
We respect hard limits and safewords in this house.
(And if that hasn't been embroidered on a sampler somewhere, it should be.)
One of the layers in this one were different colored tshirts worn by the campers, which indicated comfort levels from "no jump scares please" all the way to "if you can catch me, you can carry my character off into the woods to be slaughtered."
So the game went on, and spooky fun was had by all. On the final night, the surviving campers managed to drive out the evil cryptid that haunted the woods around the camp and it's remaining minions. And since we were all out in the woods in the middle of the night when this happened, the staff and campers all retired to the main lodge with fluorescent lighting to decompress and get pictures with the really cool costumes of the villains that had been after them for the last few nights.
Which is when I doffed the mask and introduced myself for the first time.
A line soon formed to pose for pictures with my minions and I.
And a few pictures in, one in a red shirt very politely said, "I was told I might get carried by a monster this weekend. Can that still happen?"
I'm fairly certain a few got back in line for another go once princess lifts were a known option.
Yeah, I had some sore arms the next morning. I'm not 20 anymore and don't lift as much as I should.
Still glad I did.
Because at least one or two of those asking had a trepidation I'd heard before.
They normally didn't get carried or dipped or that sort of thing.
Always just a bit too tall or a bit too big.
And now there was a seven foot cryptid taking on all comers.
They asked. I obliged.
One of the things I really love about horror fans is that they celebrate being different.
And I love seeing that new horror experiences are letting fans get their thrills on their terms. From a brand-new immersion game all the way up to Knott's Berry farm.
Thrills without Trauma.