‘I’m Meteorologist Dan Zombie’ — Watch the transformation
Cause of death: Angry mob, incited by a busted forecast.
When morning show producer Chris Swendeman pitched the idea of becoming a "zombie meteorologist," how could I say no?
Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure has been a staple of the Halloween season for as long as I can remember. What used to be a hayride and a few ghouls has evolved tremendously over the years. The park now features 8 haunted attractions, 5 scare zones, and at least a half-dozen shows that range from terrifying to oddball. Every night at Fright Fest, Great Adventure's makeup artists transform (er, awaken) over 200 zombies, evil clowns, and other demonic creatures.
And last weekend, I got to join them!
I spent about 25 minutes in the makeup chair, as Fright Fest makeup supervisor Lindsey Harrison worked her magic. Latex prosthetics and several layers of airbrushed makeup zapped the life from my face and gave me that classic "undead" look.
Over the course of several hours, I haunted Great Adventure alongside bloody butchers, chainsaw-wielding maniacs, and a dearly-departed bride. One guest that I scared dropped a basketball he had won and probably ran halfway across the park.
For you, the living, I highly recommend a visit as the ghouls and zombies awaken each night at Six Flags. Allow me to offer three tips for maximum enjoyment (and terror)...
1) Soak it all in... There's so much to do and see at Fright Fest, from the rides to the food to the nighttime haunted attractions. Be sure to take a few moments at Fright Fest to step back and smell the (undead) roses. The park is covered in gory, grim, ghastly detail — from the zombies' makeup to enormous torches lining the walkways to coffins to electric chairs to fog machines. Specifically, don't miss the eerie Lady of the Lake Cemetery and the green laser light show over Movietown. Lots of great photo opportunities around the park too — you never know what's lurking around the next corner.
2) Please don't break the magic... It's fun to be scared. It's fun to interact with the frightful creatures of the night. But it's not fun to hear other guests yelling or doing obscene, inappropriate things. Remember, Six Flags is a family theme park. The ghouls will not touch you, and you are absolutely not allowed to touch them.
3.) Young children should be delighted, not frightened... One of the most powerful experiences I had as a "guest zombie" was coming upon scared children, and changing their terror to a smile. Parents, don't be scared to approach a resident ghoul if your little one is scared. Most of my zombie friends will share a quick wink, smile, and/or high five that may very well change your child's whole opinion of Fright Fest and Halloween.
Special thanks to the Six Flags communications and entertainment teams for allowing me to live the dream as a zombie meteorologist! Extra-special thanks to Kristin Siebeneicher Fitzgerald for facilitating our behind-the-scenes Fright Fest experience. Extra-super-special thanks to producer and editor Toniann Antonelli for her much-appreciated assistance and expert photography skills!
Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey, both in death and in life. When he's not haunting your local theme park, he's posting the latest forecast and realtime weather updates on Facebook and Twitter.
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