Scream: A Haunted House Experience in Leesburg

How Scream was founded and what the student volunteers have to say.

Scream: A Haunted House Experience in Leesburg

Scream, a haunted house attraction at Graydon Manor in Loudoun County, is a fall event open all weekends of October. The “post-apocalyptic world” themed haunted house provides a frightening and exciting experience. Many students at Tuscarora are volunteers at Scream,  serving as actors, working on the event staff, or being on the makeup team. 

Matt and Jennifer Smith, the founders of Scream, met while working on another haunted house in Leesburg. They shared a passion and dream of running their own haunted house when they got married. In regards to how they run the business, Jennifer told us that “Matt grew up in his family’s funeral home business, so he’s always loved the dark side. Jennifer has the gift for business, so they make a great team.” The couple established their business, ScreamWorks, LLC, in the spring of 2022. 

Graydon Manor was used as a residential facility for youth but closed down in 2016. Dave Gregory, the owner of Graydon Manor, was working on a project with Mrs. Smith when she mentioned the idea of a haunted house somewhere in Ashburn. Gregory offered  Graydon Manor, and it became the site of Scream. 

Over the past few years, Shocktober had been a popular haunted house in Leesburg, however, it is no longer open. Matt Smith decided it would be a good time to go out on his own and form Scream. Lauren Wallow, a volunteer actor and makeup artist for Scream, said, “Scream is run similarly to Shocktober, since many of the core staff at Scream came directly from the Shocktober crew and kept mostly the same methods.” 

Many of the students that volunteer at Scream also volunteered at Shocktober and had input on the different work environments. Emily Bailey, a volunteer for event staff, helps with concessions, parking, and tickets. When asked how she liked working at Scream compared to working at Shocktober, she said it was “over one hundred times better than my experience at Shocktober.” 

Wallow added that Scream prioritizes the safety of volunteers, saying, “We’ve been given more pointers on how to avoid being hit by customers, a reliable security system within the haunt, and more resources to care for ourselves in and out of work,” Wallow continued, “In my experience, they [Scream] create a very safe community for their volunteers, both physically and socially.” Bailey agrees that the staff at Scream prioritizes an enjoyable experience for all volunteers, commenting on how the administrators are great at “making sure everyone is comfortable.”

Queen Kincaide, an actor, enjoys volunteering for Scream, and said, “it feels like we’re all one big terrifying family!”

When asked if they would like to share anything else about Scream, Mr. and Mrs. Smith said that the mansion is just part of the Scream experience, and that the Bunkers outside in the woods were the actual attraction. They said that “while designing a haunted house is fun, the Bunkers gave our team the creative ability to do whatever we can imagine!” Tuscarora students looking for a scare to get in the Halloween spirit should check out Scream.

The process of becoming a volunteer includes filling out the application on the website, then completing “Scream School,” a training for new volunteers. Volunteers can learn how to scare or to work behind the scenes. People looking to volunteer should visit the website,, then click on “Behind the Screams.”