SU 145 to become haunted for Halloween
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 22:10
Students looking to have fun between classes this Halloween won’t need to look further than the Student Union.
For the 14th straight year, Student Life will organize its annual “Haunted Union” for any student looking for a thrill. In addition to a psychic fair, cookie decorating and a carnival, students will be able to take part in a haunted house. The free attraction, which takes place in SU 145, will be available next Wednesday and Thursday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and again between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Over 200 student volunteers will run the attraction from start to finish, according to Danielle Coats, a programming coordinator with Student Life. She said volunteers will manage everything from scaring students to choosing what costumes they wear. Any student is allowed to volunteer for the haunted house and students volunteering on behalf of a club will fulfill a community service requirement through SA.
Coats said the haunted house takes two weeks to prepare and students build the entire attraction from scratch. Student Life’s programming board designs the actual layout of the haunted house. Each programming director is allowed to choose a theme for a portion of the haunted house, resulting in a different layout every year.
The cost of holding the attraction is generally low because Student Life reuses props from previous years, Coats said. This year, the haunted house will cost the university $1,000.
The biggest expense is the special fire-retardant plastic that will cover the walls, she said. Kevin Diver, a programming board director and senior communications major, said the fire marshal will not approve the haunted house unless it uses the plastic.
He believes the haunted house will be a great opportunity for students looking to scare their peers. In addition to money from the university, the haunted house will be co-sponsored by FrightWorld, a seasonal haunted house on Sheridan Drive.
Diver, who will be overseeing the haunted house for its duration, said because there is no script for them to use, “scarers” can customize their acts for every new group.
“If you do the same thing for four hours, it gets boring,” he said. “So you’ve got to mix it up and give everyone a unique experience ... so they won’t know what to expect.”
Diver said student volunteers prefer scaring more than other tasks because of the instant gratification of seeing their acts pay off. Scaring is always the most popular volunteer position and is often the most in-demand job.
But Diver stressed student volunteers are trained beforehand so they don’t harm students. Students aren’t allowed to touch participants, and any participant that feels threatened can file a complaint with a programming director.
The haunted house hasn’t had any complaints or issues in its 14-year history. But a fire marshal will be onsite in case of an emergency, Coats said.
The only potential harms to the haunted house are the strobe lights, Coats added, and students who are sensitive to flashing lights will be warned beforehand.
Students will be allowed into the haunted house in groups of four. Around six groups are allowed in at any one time. It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete the attraction.
Any student who wants to volunteer as a “scarer” can contact Mollie Zaprowski with Student Life.