Though Halloween is a wonderful holiday, full of fall festivities and horror films, there is one aspect that I have never been able to get into, and that is the prevalence of haunted houses. I have always enjoyed slasher films and even some of the darker aspects to the holiday, but once those scares are transferred into a physical form and put together in one convenient house, it becomes more difficult to enjoy. To be honest, I’m a wimp when it comes to haunted houses, and so who better to go through all of the Halloween night festivities than me.
Starting out the evening, I got together a group of trusted friends to go through the horrors with me, and went to the first of the two haunted houses we were going to that night, which was Nightmares held by Kappa Kappa Psi at Harding Hall. Following last years haunted house, which was held in the tunnel under the CUB, it seemed like a reasonable progression to hold this year’s program in an abandoned dorm. So as we climbed the stairs into the haunted house and walked out into the long dark hallway, it elicited the first scare of the night, the horrors of dorm life. In what was a unique approach to work around and embrace the layout of the building, each room was a compartmentalized nightmare. A tour guide led us through, and as we entered the first room there were explosive knocks.
Though this would typically be the place for a complex and compelling analysis of the sights and sounds that we experienced, it is more of a mismatch of screams and running. There were all of the aspects to a good haunted house. There were demented clowns and creepy dolls along with a myriad of people waiting around corners. It was a claustrophobic environment going into all of the individual rooms and they took full advantage of that, placing actors at every turn ready to jump out. Before we knew it though we were at the end and ready for the next haunted house.
We then proceeded to go over to Nightmare On First Street at the Sigma Chi house. Going through there were many well placed jumps and other creepy imagery. The themes pulled from a mixture of folk tales and urban legends. We started out by walking into a room with static on a television screen, starting a somewhat uneasy feeling. Somehow I had been pushed to the front of the group and was taking the majority of the scares. There again were many of the important aspects to a haunted house, with a butcher and masked men, yet it still contained some unique scenes. It was a winding maze with more scares at each turn. It seemed as though it would go on forever, but eventually we came to the end, or so we thought. As we came out into the backyard we all started to calm down, until we saw that there was still a ways to go. We somewhat hurriedly made our way through trying to ignore all of the people jumping out at us, until at what was the true end there was one final unexpected scare.
For someone who usually stays away from haunted houses, it is difficult to give a good and balanced review, being that I will jump at merely sudden movement. The two, that I attended this year though were fun and definitely fulfilled what they promised. If you missed these two haunted houses this year, both organizations traditionally put on these kinds of events for Halloween and they are always frightening.