Fayette County

The (scarred, painted, and gashed) faces of ScareFest

Matt Snider, dressed as Undead Scarecrow, held daughter Ellie Snider, a lion, while mom and fiancée Alicia Reed, dressed as Zombie Dorothy, looked through a diaper bag.
Matt Snider, dressed as Undead Scarecrow, held daughter Ellie Snider, a lion, while mom and fiancée Alicia Reed, dressed as Zombie Dorothy, looked through a diaper bag. palcala@herald-leader.com

Noodles the clown is sad, although his despair is hidden behind a gash of crimson that frames a grin of shark-row teeth dotted with blood.

“I’m just out to have fun,” said Noodles, aka Taylor Jones, who has the clear blue eyes of a cartoon kitten under a wig of electric green hair. But all the news lately about creepy clowns had him on edge, even at the ScareFest on Saturday at the Lexington Convention Center.

“I don’t feel good about it. It is making us all look bad,” said Jones, who works at Wicked World Scaregrounds in Lexington. He almost went costume-less to ScareFest this year because of the growing anti-clown sentiment. But, he said, it’s a place he feels comfortable. Other people who work at Wicked World, such as Zombie Dorothy, aka Alicia Reed, and UnDead Scarecrow, aka Matt Snider, are, well, Jones’ people.

ScareFest Horror and Paranormal Convention, which runs through Sunday, is billed as the nation’s “premier horror and paranormal convention” and brings in celebrities from those genres, as well as the broader pop culture. It’s a place where Sith Lords pass human-size killer bees on the escalator, and where creepy clowns don’t get arrested.

Of the people dressed in street clothes, 95 percent of them wore black T-shirts with slogans such as “Witch, What?” or “Black is My Happy Color.” Others dressed as specific characters, or characters of their own invention.

Curtis Hensel wore a blue armor/space suit/half-robot skin as a character he calls Gorshank. His friend Chris Ralston, who wore a similar, green-hued outfit, went as Lorthar. The characters are part of an evolving world the two have been working to create for two years. They said they enjoy the creativity and technical challenges of putting it all together, and they couldn’t walk more than a few feet at ScareFest without someone stopping them for a photo.

Harold Hamilton, a tall man with expertly made-up eyes, combined cowgirl chic with vampire teeth and a velvet orange tunic.

Hamilton and Hensel shared a five-minute photo fest that attracted other shutterbugs.

Tammy Turpin, aka Evil Ice Queen, and Sara Ellis, dressed as an unnamed Sith-influenced goth devil, found ScareFest perfect for some mother-daughter bonding. Ellis has long been into costumes, and while her mother often made them for her, yesterday was the first time she’d worn one herself.

“I am having the best time,” said Turpin, her face glistening with sliver, blue and white glitter and snowflake earrings the size of flat tennis balls.

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