North Idaho

Scarywood a passion project for performers

Scarywood a passion project for performers

ATHOL, Idaho - Every year, just before Oct., the Inland Northwest's largest theme park transforms itself into the Inland Northwest's most haunted attraction. But, the work to pull this amazing show off starts long before Oct.

"The set up for Scarywood is extensive," said Mark Robitaille, director of marketing and communications for Silverwood Theme Park. "We start, and really operate it all year long. We have about 130 characters that we utilize."

Robitaille said that each year that large team strives to make Scarywood better and bigger.

The characters work long days rehearsing and preparing costumes.

"The make up starts about 3 in the afternoon and we are ready for the show between 6:30 and 7," said Robitaille.

And the man in charge of that process, the director behind all that horrifying magic: Chris Russel.

"It never stops. It never stops," said Russel. "I work as special effects director all year long. I'm designing new scenes for the attractions, costumes for the characters."

Scarywood is more than a haunted house. The paid cast members are putting on a professional horror show. It's one that's so good it's been in the national spotlight, catching the eye of the Travel Channel.

"They featured our Zombie Wood Express as one of the top 10 haunts in the country and they've been out here a couple of times," said Russel.

And the large crew that makes it happen takes its work very seriously.

"I live in Spokane myself, a lot of us travel in to come do this," said Russel. "It's a love, it's a family, we love to do this and its about entertaining people and letting loose and being able to be in this and make it happen.

"Whether they are screaming or laughing or they're just enjoying seeing their friends and being here, it's entertainment."

Scarywood is open every weekend through the month of Oct.