George Reason’s obsession with haunted houses began when he was a kid. He used to travel across England to visit the best ones with his dad, whom he fondly refers to as a fellow addict.
That addiction still remains for the computer science junior. On top of a full course load and a full-time job at an ad agency, Reason volunteers at Hangman’s House of Horrors, a charity-based haunted house in Fort Worth.
In charge of designing attractions and keeping up Hangman’s Internet presence, Reason mainly works from Austin and makes occasional trips to Fort Worth.
Reason said he started volunteering during his senior year of high school, after moving back to Texas from England.
“He came up one day and said he would come to volunteer,” Hangman’s publicity chair Darla Robinson said. “He had been in London and came back needing things to do, and so he found us and after about a couple weeks, he started looking at our website and Facebook and came to me and said, ‘I think I can help you with this.’”
Reason started as a volunteer actor at Hangman’s, where he jumped out at people to scare them. He said he loves being part of the cast, even though he doesn’t act as often as he used to since moving to Austin
“I used to act in the first room of the house,” Reason said. “I was the first scare. I’ve had people punch me and kick me.”
Reason said working at a haunted house brings out the most twisted aspects of people. The Hangman’s staff rejects haunted house themes each year because of their often controversial subject matter.
“It’s like a big family,” Reason said. “A really fucked-up family because we like horror stuff. The conversations we have are weird. We’ve got a gynecology room now; a blast of air comes out between the woman’s legs when you walk by. I work with the people that come up with that stuff.”
Reason’s roommate, Reid Meyer, has known Reason since they were both in middle school. He said Reason is so obsessed with haunted houses that he will fly across the country every year for the best haunted
“If he died, he wanted to die in Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, Florida,” Meyer said. “They rearrange the park at night to become one massive haunted house, and he goes every year. It’s always a big topic come Halloween.”
According to Meyer, Reason enjoys the process of making haunted houses much more than just visiting them.
“I think he enjoys being scared, but he really took a liking to the performance and what people can do to make people scared,” Meyer said. “He pays attention to the finer details of the haunted houses to really mix it up a bit. He enjoys the creativity of it.”
Reason designed an attraction for Hangman’s this year and helped build some of the set. He said his experience at Hangman’s has taken away some of the magic of going to haunted houses.
“I critique actors a lot more,” Reason said. “It has ruined haunted houses for me. I don’t get taken away. I just look at the lighting. When people scare me, I just laugh.”