The fog begins to form outside of the TB building at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum almost an hour before Aberration, the asylum's annual haunted house, opens its doors, and actors are using that time to get into their parts. While many adults arrive early in the day, it's kids that make up the majority of the cast, and they're a devoted crew.
"I come about 5 o'clock; we get the kids in costume and makeup. A lot of them just ride the school bus here and do their homework after school. We put them in their makeup and costume and separate them according to floor," said Michelle Graham, actor coordinator for the haunted house.
There are plenty of adults who are there too. Kim Dodd had considered being a part of the event for a few years, and this year decided to take the plunge. And she hasn't regretted a minute.
"It's quite a high you get from just being a part of this, because on Saturdays we'll come in contact with twenty-two hundred people. And that doesn't happen very often in this town," Dodd said.
From latex to makeup to a liberal spattering of fake blood, it takes plenty of time, and a well-crafted system to get everyone ready to go five nights a week. And there's always plenty of people who need to get in character.
"Running a skeleton crew we could probably do it with sixty, but on average we have between seventy and eighty actors altogether," said Graham.
Of course, it takes more than the actors. Asylum staff also set up the ticket booths every night, a job on its own, especially when people start lining up before the booths are ready for the night. And when the asylum doors finally open, Dodd said its an interesting experience.
"Every day, every time that door opens, it's a new group of people that you're saying 'welcome to the asylum' to, so it never gets old," said Dodd.
Aberration remains open until Saturday night. For more information, check out the haunted house web site here.