The SCREAM team

Auditions assembled actors who will scare the ‘yell’ out of you

By Jose A. Lopez and Nicole Reino

Envision this: You’re at a job interview. You’re being grilled about your qualifications when you suddenly feel something behind you. You turn around and see a man in an eerie clown mask standing there.

His sole purpose? To get you to scream.

While this might be enough to send other job applicants running for the hills, this was only part of the fun for those looking for employment at the Scream Zone, the annual Halloween fright fest at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The second and final set of auditions for the scariest gig in town took place last Saturday. The first round was held Aug. 16.

Not even the army of skeletons, the slumped figure on the electric chair or the blindfolded, bloody guy hooked up to the car battery were enough to scare these brave souls.

The competition was tough.

More than 185 locals applied and only 40 got the job. That is, 18 got official positions and the rest were hired as alternates.

Tawny Beltran, 18, let out a spine-chilling scream and was hired on the spot.

“Everybody’s always told me I have a distinct, horror movie scream,” Beltran said.

Though the Carlsbad resident doesn’t yet know if she’s going to be a goblin, ghoul, ghost or one of those slumped monsters in the electric chair, she said she’s excited to use her scream in any way the producers see fit. She’s also thrilled the hours work around her 9-to-5 job at an insurance company.

The actors work 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and get paid $8 an hour.

The Scream Zone will evoke terror from Sept. 26 through Nov. 1. More than 5 acres of attractions include the 15-room “House of Horrors,” a haunted hayride and something called “The Chamber,” which is the Scream Zone’s newest attraction that dons a spinning tunnel complete with its own set of zombies.

Just think: they could be your neighbors.

For information, visit

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