Last Thursday, Fisher South hosted their annual “Haunted Hall” for the Halloween season. Upon walking in, it was difficult to recognize the freshman dorm. Cobwebs lined the walls, and blood curdling screams were heard from all three floors. The student-organized spook house decided on a “Dante’s Inferno” theme this year and the atmosphere was notably hellish. It started out slow and began in purgatory on the first floor with a gluttony refreshments table and a vanity selfie booth. Things picked up on the second and third floors. They were filled with many classic haunted house conventions: bloody screaming dead people, hands grabbing at your ankles, strobe lights pulsing in your eyes. On the third floor, the Devil introduced himself to our group, and acted as our guide through the damned. We were lead through tight dark corridors lined with shock scares at every turn. The halls were broken up with black trash bags to create a more claustrophobic, disoriented feeling for the journey.
Possibly the most notable part of the experience was the dedication that many of the students brought to their scary roles; they balanced on the cusp between completely cheesy and legitimately startling. There was also great attention to detail in the decorations for all three floors: bloody heads hanging, a coffin, a fake electric chair. The event was a nostalgic gem for students looking for some old-school jumps, and was a fun, spooky time without even having to leave campus. It was a good mix of gimmicky and fun, and did not take itself too seriously. All the elements came together very well, and felt like a professional haunted house, but without the ridiculously long lines and Christian guilt occasionally included at the end.
Zane Hight, Residence Hall Director of Fisher South, said that the turnout for the event is usually around 150-250 people each year. The high turnout rate explains why Fisher South decides to go all out every year. This year was Hight’s fifth year to work on the haunted house and he explained that it is the biggest event put on by Fisher South. Hight mentioned that it is not a haunted house to bring kids to, and that it was made to include some real scares. I toured the attraction during preparation and saw loads of students, freshman and upperclassmen alike, working together to create a fun experience for others. The event seemed to bring together not only the people attending the haunted house but the students manning it. When I attended, there were back-to-back tours being lead, and the attendees were all walking away looking startled, but with smiles on their faces.
It was a fun event with a lot of Halloween school camaraderie laced into it, since it took a small army of students to run it. It combined many of the best things about haunted houses with a University of Tulsa lifeblood firmly running through it.