It was a cool, windy autumn night; the sound of leaves gently falling to the ground was accompanied by shrill screams from Carnegie Hall that echoed across campus.
Students were lined up for the only opportunity for campus fright – aside from the obvious crippling debt and mid-terms – at the Wednesday night opening of CBS’s Haunted House. The crowd grew as quickly as the anticipation as the first small group of four to five students group entered through the “blood”-smeared double doors to see what coming dangers awaited upon their ascent into the unknown.
Before each group of participants entered the Haunted House, the hostess at the door advised that the actors within are only allowed to get in their faces but not touch them, and asked the students not to hit or overreact to the actors’ gimmicks. Each group was then warned of the fact that for one room you will need to bend down on your knees to enter and exit, so “watch your heads.”
Before this slew of advice was over, a reluctant student ran from the building without completing the tour, the crowd rumbled with heightened enthusiasm and hesitancy.
A short time later, the door swung open and released the first victims; their reactions neither confirmed or denied the expectations of the crowd, and the next group was pulled in. Ascending up a short flight of stairs the group was met by a hostess in front of a “blood”-smeared “HELP US” on the wall, who vaguely explained the events of the next 20 or so minutes. Students were guided through the halls of the building into rooms holding different themes and horrors, and were encouraged to split up because “people never stick together in scary movies, right?” The students squirmed and strengthened their hold on one another’s book bag straps and jacket sleeves.
Another flight of stairs brought the students to the Hall of Darkness, where the silent host directed groups to the first room. Loud bangs and suspenseful music rumbled in every room, smoke clouded the vision of the adventuring students as masked figures popped out from each seemingly empty doorway and crept into sight. Room explorations were fast-paced and themes ranged from creep-tastic clowns with knives to cackling witches participating in a sacrificial voodoo ritual; it was hard to distinguish the sound of your heart beat from the banging on the doors as the host guided you from room to room.
Students traveled together, never drifting too far apart, stark white flashing lights in contrast with the pitch dark hall gave small glimpses of actors as they slithered over to the group, inches away from the students’ legs. After making their way through the guided tour of haunted Carnegie Hall the group of students descended back to first floor without a scratch; students gathered in front of the building recounting their fears and experiences. Overall, CBS did a wonderful job creating something that was festive for the season, safe and terrifying!