My Other Life: Sherri Traweek, Scareactor

Nightmare on Singapore Street: Nail tech Sherri Traweek spends her Halloweens performing as a scareactor at a haunted house.

“My husband and I have always been obsessed with Halloween,” says Redlands, Calif.-based nail tech Sherri Traweek. “We’d always wanted to be a part of a haunted house (or “haunt” in industry lingo), and when the opportunity came up to help out with a friend’s haunt, we jumped at it.”

Thanks to the twisted imagination of Traweek’s husband and their friend, Higgins Manor has become a decade-long Halloween-time tradition for hundreds of families in their friend’s sleepy Mission Viejo neighborhood. “We take guests into the middle of the horror,” she says. “With twists, turns, crawl spaces, hidden doors, and a cast of extremely talented ‘scareactors,’ Higgins Manor aims to scare the living daylights out of its guests.”

Traweek’s role at the haunt is as a street performer. Along with her husband, she interacts with guests and keeps them entertained while they wait in line. “The wait can get as long as two hours on Halloween night,” she notes. “The street is very high-energy, with lots of parents and trick-or-treaters roaming around, ripe to be scared. My favorite thing is walking up to a really big, tough guy and making him scream like a little girl, then watching as his wife and kids laugh at him, knowing he will never be able to live that moment down. In some weird way, we actually help bring families together and make shared memories.”

Admission to the haunt is free, but the volunteers encourage visitors to make a charitable donation. Last year, they teamed up with Greendog Foundation, an animal charity that rescues forgotten pets from kill shelters and gives them new homes. “Since I’m a huge animal lover, I’m really proud of this,” Traweek says. “So while we love to scare, we also care a whole lot for those animals who are scared, but can’t speak out or find help.”

 You can find out more about Higgins Manor at

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