Vote: Which Orange County teacher is the scariest Knott’s monster?

The Knott’s Berry Farm monsters gave the high school teachers some dastardly instructions.

If you want to scare your students, stay low. Coming at them from below gives you the element of surprise. Get too close – people don’t like their space invaded.

Lock eyes with your students. Eye contact is intimidating.

Scream, grunt, growl – your voice is the scariest thing you’ve got.

“And above all,” one monster said, “leave your sanity at the door.”

The Orange County Register asked four high school teachers to go full-zombie, with tattered costumes, too much hair spray and ghoulish makeup, to scare the wits out of their students at Knott’s Scary Farm last weekend. More than 80 students from Edison, Santa Ana, Northwood, La Habra and Buena Park high schools were invited to see if they could recognize and survive encounters with their frightful teachers.

By the end of the night, it was difficult to tell who had more fun – the teachers who became monsters, or the screaming students. And one group of students from Northwood, turned the tables on their teacher in an amazing way.

Bill Matheny, a science teacher at Edison, became a mutant cat. Zach Halop, a music teacher and golf coach at Northwood, became a crazed hawk/man. Alicia Archunde, a visual arts teacher at La Habra and Buena Park, became a cat-like beast with very tall hair. Scott Glabb, a video production teacher and wrestling coach at Santa Ana, became an ape-like zombie.

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“I’m hoping I’m as grotesque and disfigured as possible, so even my mother won’t recognize me,” said Archunde, who hung her head between her legs so her hair would fall toward the floor while it was hair-sprayed straight. When she stood upright, her hair was stiff and tall above her head.

“I’m a cool teacher, but not tonight,” she said.

They were given prosthetic noses. Makeup was spray-painted on their faces. They got to pick torn clothing from racks of costumes.

The teachers converged on the oldest area of Knott’s, the space in front of the Bird Cage Theater. Their sole objective: Make their students (and other guests) uncomfortable.

That goal was accomplished.

“He was grunting,” said Samantha Vega, a junior at Santa Ana High School. “I’m so scared right now.”

Matheny snuck up behind an Edison student.

“DO YOUR HOMEWORK,” he screamed in his scariest mutant cat voice.

“I didn’t recognize him at first,” said Kailey Volz, a sophmore. “Then he kind of scared me.”

Matheny whispered to his students: “Be very afraid. See you in class on Monday.”

A group of high school wrestlers were waiting for Scott Glabb from Santa Ana High. He made his entrance hunched over and limping with his arms swinging like an ape.

“I recognized him by how he walked and by his belly,” said Alex Blanco, a Santa Ana senior.

Glabb finished his monster shift dripping in sweat.

“It was fun, but intense and tiring,” he said. “It takes a lot of energy to scare someone.”

The best moment of the night came when Halop, in his hawk/man costume, swooped in to scare a group of Northwood High girls.

“He came behind us, and made a weird noise,” said Yoo Jin Kim, a senior.

“I love my kids, and they seemed to have a lot of fun with it,” Halop said. “They told me, ‘Mr. Halop, you could never be scary.’”

The girls asked him for a group hug. They swarmed their teacher and posed for a picture.

Then they broke out in a screamy version of the Northwood alma mater.

“The alma mater was my favorite part of the night,” Halop said.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7898 or

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