On the Job: Don't close your eyes

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BAILEY, Miss. (WTOK) - Halloween is all about coming face to face with those things that go bump in the night.

But what is it like on the other side? To be the monster doing the scaring? I got to find out.

This is the stuff of your nightmares. On the Job: Halloween-style at the Bailey Haunted Firehouse.

"Every year that we do it, it just becomes a bigger and bigger event each year," event coordinator Jason Combs says.

It started 10 years ago as way to bring in extra money to the fire department, and now people come from all over to be terrified.

"This thing has grown into something that we had no imagination it would ever be this big," assistant fire chief Robbie McClure says.

Being a behind-the-scenes monster is no easy task. There are auditions to pick only the most ghastly and hideous creatures. And there's plenty of prep work.

"Basically, a lot of people that come in just watch horror movies," Combs says.

After popping some popcorn and watching some Halloween classics, I'm ready to get in costume. Lots of fake blood later, I'm dressed to scare.

"I think some of the people that come through this, really don't have an idea of what we have in store for them," McClure says.

The haunted firehouse is a full-scale production. It takes about 50 people. Volunteers are all working together to make this happen and about two months to set all this up. There's even a security room where dozens of cameras monitor as the groups go through.

The crew set me up with a special hideout. A hidden partition and a remote-controlled light let me surprise groups as they walk past.

"They're going to be right there, all you have to do is scream," McClure explains.

I do plenty of screaming! And they do, too.

"How do you know that you've done a good job?" I asked the crew.

"Usually, by the screams, the terror in their eyes," McClure says. "Sometimes they will go to the floor, trying to avoid you."

"And no matter how tired you get, no matter how late at night it is, when you hear those people screaming, and they're panicking, that's what gets you built up," Combs adds.

When the witching hour finally came, my throat was raw from screaming, but my adrenaline was pumping, and I made some new friends.

The haunted firehouse ends Wednesday night. If you have any suggestions for a career you'd like to see featured "On the Job," email me at candace.barnette@wtok.com.