HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Most kids dress up for Halloween, but one local third grader takes fright night to an extreme. He loves horror movies and sits through hours of make-up to be the characters from some of the world's scariest films. We caught up with him the day he tried out a brand new costume.
"I'm just a typical eight-year-old, but I do have a dark side," jokes 8-year-old Jordan Penilla.
It all started the year he dressed up as Chucky for Halloween. His dad had tried to scare him with a "Child's Play" doll, but he started laughing instead. A few years later, Jordan started falling in love with horror films like "Friday the 13th," "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Child's Play," "Beetlejuice," "Halloween," "Insidious," and "The Purge: Anarchy."
His mom Stephanie Garcia insists, "He doesn't see the gory parts."
Then, costumes followed with elaborate make-up and terrifying faces. He showed them off at comic-cons and fright nights, generally places for adults.
"We'd hear smirks and comments, 'I can't believe that they bring their kid. How old is he?'" Garcia remembers. "I just have to shrug it off because a lot of people don't agree with what we do."
He's met idols like Robert Englund, the actor who plays Freddy Krueger. Acting opportunities followed, like an anti-bullying video for Creepy Hollow Haunted House.
The day we caught up with Jordan, he was trying out a new costume for a photoshoot. Vicki Mendez has been Jordan's make-up artist for the last two years.
"The most that he's been in my chair is almost four hours, I think that was the very first time I did him as Pinhead. At the beginning I was really taken aback like 'Does he really like this?'" Mendez says.
She says the make-up isn't always easy because Jordan doesn't like the latex part, but he loves the finished results. Today, that's Beetlejuice! His dream is to make Hollywood horror movies as a director.
His mom says, "We just want to make sure he follows his dreams."