Scream Freak Wants to Scare You So Bad You Wet Yourself

by | Oct 10, 2013 | COMMUNITY

As a foreigner living in America, there are quite a few hard- to- understand things.

Your government…shuts down?

Y’all still use checks?

As a foreigner living in America, there are quite a few hard- to- understand things.

Your government…shuts down?

Y’all still use checks?

However, there is one American thing above all others I both don’t understand yet am so super excited about – Halloween.

Get this – haunted houses are a MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS in the United States. Um, what? In the spirit of journalistic curiosity, I chatted to Ryan Sligh, an actor who adores Halloween, scary movies and scaring the urine out of people. He spoke to about ‘haunts’, spooking people for a living and his challenge for the people of Virginia.

Sligh co-founded the Red Vein Army (that’s RVA for short – ya dig?) in 2010. The RVA is both an actor troupe and licensed business, designed to eventually lead to an opening of the troupe’s own haunted house. RVA has grown in strides since their inception. “Red Vein Army’s first big project was to promote the website,” said Sligh. “And try to grow haunting in not only Richmond, but across the entire state of Virginia.” We’re hired by haunted attractions as their queue line entertainment for the night and travel around every weekend throughout the month of October”.

Sligh is a Halloween ambassador of sorts – his passion for haunts has motivated him to spread the good word of Halloween around Virginia, to try and make the occasion as big as it is in other states. “Virginia is not a big haunted house state,” said Sligh. “You go to Pennsylvania, you go to Missouri, there’re haunted houses on every other block. It’s kind of engrained in the culture to go to a haunted house once it’s October and Virginia doesn’t have that.”

Apparently, there is a haunted house in Atlanta, which attracts 80,000 visitors a year. Insanity!

Sligh is determined to convert Virginia to the dark side – and make haunted houses a major player in Virginia’s Halloween calendar. “[Haunted houses]is a giant industry. I go to conventions all the time,” said Sligh. “No one in Virginia really knows about that. We want to teach them not only what a haunted house is but then try to get them to come out to them. So it’s not only promoting haunted houses but also teaching about them!”.

Sligh and his army of creepy spooksters will be touring all over the Virginian landscape this month. Events close to Richmond include Total Terror in Prince George on October 25th and Blood Lake in Midlothian on Saturday October 26th.

The fact his haunt troupe travels around our fine state is unique, with their unwavering Halloween advocacy a fine testament to the spirit of Richmond locals. “This tour is very unique in the haunted attraction industry as there are only a handful of traveling haunt actors, but they mostly travel around the country, not just one state, “ said Sligh. “ We’re Virginia based and our number one goal is to grow the industry right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia and especially in our hometown of Richmond.”

Coming from Australia, I can’t quite fathom the idea of the haunt events. So, one willingly drives out to a field (an isolated field! Aren’t they where most American horror movies take place?) then willingly go into a haunted mansion to be scared poopless by monsters, murderers and ghoul types? Argh! It sounds super scary and amazing. I’m in.

The Red Vein Army aim to scare you to the point of incontinence.

“Our goal is to scare you and make you want to leave or to pee yourself,” says Sligh. “We kinda have a code: it’s code yellow if someone pees themselves.”

You may be too old to trick or treat now, but attending these haunt events sounds just perfect for those of us lamenting the fact kids get all the Halloween fun. Clearly, we have superior bladder control, right? By attending one (or more!) of the events on, you’ll not only celebrate Halloween in a kick-ass and super American way, but also help support a burgeoning scene for many Virginians to come.

“There are a lot of really creative people not only in Richmond but in surrounding counties and cities , “ said Sligh. “ If we can just have more people go to these haunts, the sky is the limit to how big Virginia and Richmond can be for these awesome attractions. “

Get all the info here.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner is the former editor of GayRVA and RVAMag from 2013 - 2017. He’s now the Richmond Bureau Chief for Radio IQ, a state-wide NPR outlet based in Roanoke. You can reach him at

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