Imagine you're walking through Knott's Scary Farm. It's nighttime, and you're in Ghost Town.
A werewolf growls at you. A zombie staggers past.
But then...out of nowhere, you hear a whoosh and a crack, and a creepy clown skids across your path.
It's gone before you're even done screaming.
This method of scaring is called sliding, and it has become a trademark of Knott's Scary Farm and other Halloween events.
The Decayed Brigade is the group that came up with the technique. Producer Lori Galarreta joined them for one of their practices leading up to the big Halloween weekend.
Members Stephen Pedersen, Chase McCullough and Eric Saunders spoke about the inception of the scare tactic, the gear required for it and the importance of safety.
The origins of sliding
Chase: "Sliding started back at Knott's Scary Farm, back in the late 80's, by monsters just fooling around in Ghost Town and then eventually from there just started evolving into gear. Some people used catcher's gear, catcher's shin guards to slide on. Some people used duct tape all over them and eventually would harden to the point it became plastic and that's what they would use on their gloves, until somebody came out and found out wire conduit works the best."
Chase: "The gloves themselves were pretty much any work gloves, a lot of us use motorcycle gloves. Take a piece of metal off of wire conduit out of the electrical department, glue it onto your fingertips, what we use on our fingertips for the noise and then our palms some people use flat plated washers or dance tap shoes which make a loud noise.
Down to our knee pads, you're probably looking at any ramp pads for halfpipe skating. Any type of tennis shoe will work. We actually take the steel of the steel toe boot, rip it out and actually glue it on top of the toes of that shoe, so that's when you slide everything is either plastic or metal that's touching the ground, that's what makes you go the distance."
Sliding and safety
Stephen: "A lot of people have the conception that sliding is very simple. Working Halloween events you have guests who come in and they'll say 'Oh, I can do that. Oh, cool bro. Oh, you're throwing yourself on the ground.' And yeah, to an extent that's what we're doing. When you're sliding in an amusement park full of 30,000 plus people, there's not a lot of room, so it's important to be on top of your game. You should be able to stop, you should be able to change direction, you should be able to stop with both feet.
...When we're doing some of these stunts, they may seem trivial. They may seem silly. We're just running around throwing ourselves on the ground, but some of them can be very dangerous. To do something like this with somebody you don't completely trust with this activity makes it that much more dangerous, so everybody who becomes a part of this is vetted very carefully..."
"We are group!"
Eric: "After a few years of Decayed Brigade, we started developing more social media and one of those was an Instagram and after posting pictures, this one lady commented on one of the pictures and completely messed up her sentence and she's like 'Oh, I love the Decayed Brigade. They are group!'
We just totally completely embraced it and we were like 'Guys! We are group!' It went from an inside joke, to a chant to now like a thing that's kind of turned into a tradition."
Chase: "We all come from different kind of haunt backgrounds and sliding backgrounds to the point where we're not just higher than anybody. We're all together. We're not...'this is his team, that's his team.' No, it's all of our team. So it kind of helped out when we started chanting the ritual of 'we are group' before we go out and do our shows, we all unite together, we all become family. And that's what Decayed Brigade is all about, is family."
Click the blue audio player above to hear the full interview.