Painting on the grim and gore

Ball State students work as makeup artists at Indy Scream Park

Jodie Morgan, the manager of Indy Scream Park's makeup trailer, works on painting lips onto a Midway actor's face for their costume. Indy Scream Park's makeup artists work for two hours each day before the park opens to complete the actor's full look. Jacob Musselman, DN
Jodie Morgan, the manager of Indy Scream Park's makeup trailer, works on painting lips onto a Midway actor's face for their costume. Indy Scream Park's makeup artists work for two hours each day before the park opens to complete the actor's full look. Jacob Musselman, DN

In under two hours, four Ball State students take part in a team of makeup artists who see more than 200 zombies, clowns and other actors at Indy Scream Park. 

Using silicon, latex, fake blood and other makeup materials, Michaela Haisley, Monica Luna, Savannah Sexton, and Lindsey Overstreet add the finishing touches to the scarers’ costumes before they head out to the park’s five haunted houses. 

Michaela Haisley 

Haisley, freshman theater design and technology major, has worked at Indy Scream Park for the past two years, and she said she initially applied because she enjoyed doing special effects makeup on her own time. 

“Many people say that one's first job is not always going to be one that they particularly enjoy and that we as people must work these jobs regardless of how they make us feel emotionally or physically,” Haisley said. “I figured that utilizing my hobby in a job would be enjoyable for me. I'm glad to have such an enjoyable first job.” 

While Haisley was nervous about speaking to people during her first year, she said, she has become far more comfortable with speaking to other staff members this year. 

“I'm glad to make progress with becoming less shy by working in an environment that I love,” Haisley said. “I honestly can't say that I dislike anything about being a makeup artist for Indy Scream Park. I have so much fun doing people's makeup as well as connecting with so many people through a similar hobby.” 

With a 5:30 p.m. start time, Haisley said the first few minutes of her work day are slow, but her work soon picks up as the time gets closer to when the park opens at 7 p.m. 

“Once everyone begins to file in based on their assigned haunts, I tend to lose track of time,” Haisley said. “I enjoy this because when not being consciously aware of the time, I can become fully immersed in my makeup work. It seems that everything is moving so quickly.”

Haisley said her favorite kind of makeup to do is for scarers who are clowns because there is more room for artistic interpretation. 

“I love to create many different shapes with clown makeup, such as spirals, flowers, stars, suns, smiley faces [and] clouds,” Haisley said. “Clown makeup is the most joyful and bright makeup I do here.”

Monica Luna

Luna, sophomore theater technology major, is the newest member of the Indy Scream Park makeup crew.

“When I came to interview with Indy Scream Park, I came in a nice dress, heals, and my portfolio and resume, and everyone else there were in T-shirts and jeans,” Luna said. “It was embarrassing at the time because I thought it would be more formal.”

Not only is Luna a makeup artist but she also acts in the Pandemic House at the park. After completing other actors’ makeup, Luna quickly gets herself into character.

“It’s a different experience [because] I’ve never acted before,” Luna said. “I have always been on the tech side of things, so it’s really interesting to try out the other side that I’ve always viewed but never been a part of.”

Because Luna works in the Pandemic House, she said she is biased as to which attraction is her favorite.

“Makeup wise, I love [the Pandemic House] because I love creating these creatures and monsters most people wouldn’t think about,” Luna said. 

Luna said her experience at Indy Scream Park so far has helped her learn new ways to continue her career as an artist. Luna said she plans to become a freelance artist so that she can use her career as a chance to travel the world.

“I have improved my makeup skills a lot,” Luna said. “I have gotten experience [that] has shown me a bunch of new makeup techniques.”

Lindsey Overstreet

Overstreet, junior graphic design major, said between she and her mom, Halloween is like a religion. 

“Me and my mom are huge into Halloween,” Overstreet said. “We’ve always been into dressing up and everything.” 

Her experience with special effects and art began with her mom as well when she showed her a video about zombie makeup using toilet paper and glue. From there, Overstreet continued with art, even focusing on special effects in her high school AP art class. 

“[Makeup] is something you don’t really think of,” Overstreet said. “People never think about, ‘Yes, there’s a makeup team behind that,’ so it’s really nice to be a part of [a makeup team.]”

While she works at Indy Scream Park, Overstreet said she’s “jumpy” when it comes to scary things. 

“Whenever we go through the haunts together, [I think] the main reason for going through [them] is because of me,” Overstreet said. “I scream so loud every single time.” 

For those who are scared easily like her, Overstreet said she suggests to have a hold onto the person in front of you, but she also said to enjoy going through the haunted house and look up to not miss out on the hard work that went into creating these haunts. 

Savannah Sexton

Sexton, senior biology major, said her first time learning how to do special effects makeup was when she worked at Fear Fair in Seymour, Indiana. 

Because Fear Fair is a volunteer-based haunted house, Sexton said its fewer amount of actors allowed for everyone to learn how to do makeup, which became a part of the haunted house’s culture. 

Now working at Indy Scream Park for the past two year, Sexton said she and other makeup artists have “the privilege of being able to use latex” on several of the scarers who are monsters throughout the park. 

“We’ve gotten to use leaves [to] have leaves growing out of [scarers] faces… and being able to do that within [a] limited time is a skill that I wouldn’t be able to gain anywhere else,” Sexton said. 

To start doing a scarer’s makeup, Sexton said she asks the actor who their character is because for some characters, like the clowns, there are several makeup styles. 

“I like to ask personally, ‘What kind of clown are you? What do you think your clown name is? Are you a happy clown a sad clown?’” Sexton said. “Those types of details [that the scarers share with me] end up making a big difference in their makeup and how they feel about it.”

Contact Alyssa Cooper with comments at  


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