Student scarers

UB students share their experiences in from Ôthe Haunted Union'


Carli Rescott said she is scared of almost everything, especially Halloween.

But Rescott, a sophomore international studies major, wanted to still be a part of the “Halloween experience” and saw her opportunity on a bulletin board with a poster advertising for students to become “scarers” at the Haunted Union.

Rescott was one of about 25 students who participated in being a “scarer” for the Haunted Union, which has been put on by Student Life for the past 15 years. The students transform all 1,300 square feet of SU 145 into a maze of zombie babies, large spiders and body parts.

The rooms are completely decorated and created by student volunteers and the 14 student programming board members of Student Life, according to Kerry Spicer, associate director of Student Union and Activities.

Spicer said about 50-75 student volunteers worked with the Haunted Union last year, and about 2,000 students visited the Haunted Union the two days it was open.

“Halloween is fun for everyone but you get to point at a certain age where it’s not OK to go out trick or treating anymore, so this gives our students an opportunity to still get to be in the Halloween spirit,” Spicer said.

Bree Tom, a junior chemical engineering major, worked for Late Night UB last year and decided to join as a “scarer” as well. The student volunteers work on creating the Haunted Union for about two weeks, and she said becoming a “scarer” is just one of the “perks” of working on the transformation of the room.

“We get to work for two weeks straight for it and then we get to see the benefits of people walking through,” she said.

Tom said it’s creepy to be alone in the extensive maze – even while working on its design.

Rescott said she enjoyed being creative and decorating her own parts of the Haunted Union.

At one point, she said she was crawling on the floor to imitate a creepy animal. Rescott said it was the “most exotic moment” of her life.

Tom worked out a system to maximize scaring people in the Haunted Union with another student who was placed in the same hallway. While her co-scarer was placed in the beginning of the hallway to scare the groups first, Tom would hide out behind the tarps to immediately scare them again.

Tom said she still prefers being the scarer than getting scared.

Christy Cheruvil, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, went last year with a group of friends to the Haunted Union. This Halloween, she wanted to be one of the scarers because she had a fun experience the previous year.

“I’m so quick to getting startled and scared, so I want to be on the other side and see how that feels,” she said.

Cheruvil is planning on prepping herself to scare students in the clown room, which she is currently working on decorating.

Peter Caraballo, a sophomore nursing major, said it is amusing to watch the reactions of students who go through the Union when you “creep in the corner.”

Caraballo was stationed at the beginning of the Haunted Union and received mixed reactions from his presence.

“Some of them are perfectly fine, and they don’t even realize that you’re there,” he said. “Some of them overreact and completely freak out.”

One time, he followed a group of students because they did not realize he was there. One of the girls realized Caraballo was behind her, and she fell to the floor.

“We have people coming out of the doors horizontally because they’re diving to get out,” Spicer said. “We’ve had people crying before we’ve had people laughing.”

Jaime Lachapelle, a sophomore biology major, said despite being a scarer, she found herself getting scared. She was placed in a room with intense strobe lights and given a clear mask that reflected the lights, making her own mask look like it was lit up.

Spicer said the point of Halloween is to take a “moment to kind of take life a little less seriously” and the Haunted Union gives students an outlet this time of year.

“Our students are very academically focused, they have very difficult majors and it’s just a nice time of year to enjoy the lighter things of years,” she said.

Spicer said there would also be a pumpkin carving, costume contest and a giant mechanical spider that students can ride on the week of Halloween.