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Face paint sets mood at Zombie Ranch, Haunted Forest

Published: 12:22PM November 1st, 2012
Face paint sets mood at Zombie Ranch, Haunted Forest

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Spc. Crystal Kinter, left, uses plenty of paint to create a face for Pvt. Don Barner for his Zombie Ranch performance.

Crystal Kinter is an experienced face painter.

The specialist with the 555th Engineer Brigade once owned a children’s party entertainment business and specialized in princess face art. Kinter channeled a darker inspiration last week as she helped fellow Joint Base Lewis-McChord Soldiers and Airmen prepare for the annual three-day Theatrical Nightmare: Zombie Ranch through Saturday.

“I’ve painted butterflies, hearts and flowers,” Kinter said. “This is the first time I’ve ever done zombie makeup.”

Space in Nelson Recreation Center on Lewis Main was converted into a makeup and costume room as more than 40 volunteers transformed into zombies and creepy clowns. The more hideous the actor looked, the better.

“If it’s not scary, we’re not doing our job,” Sgt. Bill Bell, Better Opportunities for Single Service Members vice president said.

With photos of zombies taped to the wall for inspiration. Kinter and several other amateur makeup artists transformed the actors into ghouls.

“Can I borrow some of your blood?” another makeup artist asked Kinter.

“Absolutely,” she responded.

“Now let’s get some blood pouring out of your mouth,” she said to the zombie in her makeup chair.

Some actors preferred to do their own makeup, implementing toilet paper and liquid latex to create a ghastly appearance.

“Your face is the canvas and you just start layering,” Pfc. Jennifer Helm of 571st Military Police Battalion said. “The more you layer, the better it looks, or the worse it looks.”

Once in costume the actors took to their places in the ranch behind “Nelson Rec.” The annual BOSS event was not at its usual Shoreline Beach Park location, which is closed for renovations. The Theatrical Nightmare crew turned its new location into a haunted farmhouse and cemetery in about two weeks.

“Shoreline gives us a contained area, nice darkness and a legitimate scary place,” Bill said. “It’s the optimum for a haunted house,” BOSS Adviser Bill Strock said.

Participants hurried through the haunted cemetery as zombies chased them, then felt their way through the pitch-black farmhouse and discovered “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”-inspired scenes.

Before the final production Saturday evening, the Theatrical Nightmare opened early for a not-so-scary walk-through for children. The actors wore no makeup or masks and there was no music or fog.

While the Zombie Ranch was open for business, the 627th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Haunted Forest was also open for scares on McChord Field. The squadron spent the last two months planning and constructing the ultimate scary experience through the woods — a 15-minute tour of the nearly pitch-black forest. They walked through numerous scary-themed tents, which often included someone jumping out of the darkness.

“There are people in costumes and people you won’t even see until they’re right there,” Airman 1st Class Edward Crowell said. “There are a lot of screams I hear.”

The 627th CES spent the last two months constructing the tents and grooming the trails for the event. Besides being open during the pre-Halloween weekend, the Haunted Forest remained open Halloween day as well.