Skip to main content
Pexels jaime reimer 9899929 1

Students given unique chance to try their hand at special effects scare make up

Make up artists 3

NSCG Hair and Media Make-up students given unique chance to try their hand at special effects scare make-up.

NSCG students have been given the chance to try their hand at creating gruesome underworld demons, blood thirsty zombies and crazed clowns at the National Forest Adventure Farm’s annual Halloween scream attraction Screamfest.

Hair and Media Make-up students from Newcastle and Staffordshire College are among the team of special effects artists using prosthetics, fake blood and face paint to bring 180 terrifying actors to life.

One of the only scream parks in the country to offer such experience in special effects make-up, the 15 students have been tasked with helping to prepare the live actors each night to create everything from terrifying zombies with gauged eyes and severed fingers to demonic cheerleaders with disfigured facial features, scars and bullet holes.

With 180 actors to transform in full make-up in just over one hour and only a team of 30 to complete it, it is an experience like no other for the budding makeup artists.

Julie Tickle, who oversees the make-up, costumes and special effects at Screamfest in Burton, is a self-taught face painter who turned her hand to scare artistry in 2012 when Screamfest first opened its doors at the National Forest Adventure Farm.

Now hand making each of the intricate prosthetics and scare designs for actors she said that there was no other opportunity for students to get such in-depth hands-on experience anywhere else across the country.

She said: “Scare make-up is very different to any other medium. With the lighting and special effects used it can all affect how you need to apply the products. Everything is very theatrical and if you get it wrong it can affect the whole final feel of the performance.

“When I started out there wasn’t anything like this which is why as a scare park Screamfest is so keen to help nurture new talent and help them get the experience they need to learn and grow their talents.”

Each student not only receives ongoing training and support but is given responsibility for finalising certain looks and making sure each of their actors are attraction ready as required. This could also mean redoing make up if looks need to change or actors are moved in attractions once the performance starts.

With each of the attractions run like elaborate film sets the make-up can all be affected by the lights, performance, heat, sweat and smoke machines used to create the terrifying atmosphere. It means that is a fast paced role unlike anything the students will have experienced before and tests their skills while offering real life learning that can’t be taught in the classroom.

Theatrical Make-up Lecturer at Stafford College, Aimee said: “At NSCG, our students specialise in theatrical and special effects hair and make-up. This can be for everything from West End theatre to TV shows and films or attractions.

“It is a very different style so getting this hands-on experience is crucial in helping students to learn and develop their skills.

“We are very grateful to Julie and the team at Screamfest for providing such a unique experience to help our students. There really is nothing else like it and the students are always keen to take part.”

Burton’s National Forest Adventure Farm, has been running night time adult Halloween scream parks at the 40-acre site since 2012 and the event attracts more than 28,000 annually.

This year the fear-filled attraction, which has added two New for 2023 scares, has extended the scream park by over 5 acres and added more than 30 extra live actors to shock and scare their guests.

From zombies and demons to crazed clowns and the living dead each design is specifically created for the ultimate in fear factor with hundreds of specialist prosthetics painstakingly handcrafted to create anything from boils and scars to deformed facial features, severed fingers, gauged eye sockets, bullet holes and stitches.

The evening event is open for selected dates throughout October until Tuesday 31st October.

For more information, visit