Fatal CikNis

The CikNis proved to be a dizzying adrenaline rush of shrieks and laughs. Many of our guests expressed positive thoughts regarding their experience and as a member of the cast I can say that we had just as much fun as our hapless victims.

While I would’ve liked to have had the time to make several tweaks or added a few well-placed props, the rooms were highly detailed and from what I could gather the various design features of the structure produced the desired effect. We did manage to squeeze in one last minute addition that was a boon for the overall experience — a small hatched door leading from the second room of the haunt into the low-ceilinged dead end at the end of The CikNis. It turned out to be a great suggestion by Richard and, in my opinion, increased the interaction factor of the overall adventure.

There was a certain elegance to the simplicity of the sound system which provided an excellent atmosphere for The CikNis — it’s tough to beat a continuous stream of Nox Arcana’s mournful melodies.

The myriad lighting fixtures — from black lights, strobe lights and glow sticks to string lights, colored bulbs, and a police beacon — effectively cast an eerie, foreboding or even whimsical ambience. Once we had powered everything up for show conditions we didn’t experience a single issue with any electrical components and that in and of itself is a small victory for which I was thankful.

By and large, I thought our cast was brimming with energy and held nothing back in terms of vocalization and improvisation. In particular, from my vantage point in the doll room, I was impressed and highly amused by what I could hear coming from the opposite corner of the haunt where my brother, Jason, forcefully portrayed the wayward scientist responsible for the CikNis. I felt Richard, who was in the second room of the attraction, played the very special part of Gerald with equal zest. His bit with George, the hand puppet monkey, was particularly fun to play off of and reference when several groups entered my area with the monkey in tow.

I admit I was especially flattered by the reactions of guests as they entered my room which was filled with an eclectic mix of dolls and plush toys. Some people were tickled by the hanging babies with glowing heads while others seemed to appreciate the totality of the decor and then there were those stopped dead upon entering the room and professed a desire to turn back; the latter were my personal favorites.

It was intoxicating to unleash Gerkins with all of his exaggerated mannerisms, wild stories and creepy demeanor. He engaged guests with stream-of-consciousness dialogue, offered to add men and women alike to his collection of dolls and introduced some folks to Little Gerkins; among other memorable routines.

Another personal highlight for me was the ability of Cikalo and I to surprise guests with an ambush by floating back and forth to our respective areas when the need arose. In one instance a pair of male guests attempted to backtrack into the harvest room when they failed to find the hidden door inside the dead end hallway, but this was something Scarecrow and Gerkins would simply not permit.

There were some hiccups of course — we had to scramble to find a doorman, pace and communication was a work in progress and a few minor details were lost in the shuffle but the driving vibe was one of fun and fright and folks left with smiles on their faces.

Thanks are due to Stefani who whipped up some seriously spooky heads, my sister-in-law Madison (not to be confused with my other sister-in-law of the same name who’s previously been mentioned in Horrorlust) who dutifully controlled traffic flow. Thanks also to The Disco Devil, John, for all of his help during the construction of The CikNis. Many thanks to our cast Jason and Richard and Brian too, who not only acted in the haunt but also contributed several key props. And of course, thanks to Cikalo and Ashley who hosted the party and finally a token of gratitude to everyone who entered and survived The CikNis.

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