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Campus gets spooky, haunted thanks to History Club and Grimm Hall staff

October 28, 2011

While the rest of the world is gearing up for Halloween, UW-River Falls students will have some unique options when it comes to their pre-Halloween festivities.

Grimm Hall is putting on a haunted hall Friday, Oct. 28 with the aim to “scare you as much as possible,” according to Grimm Resident Assistant Matthew Stewart. Haunted Hall transforms the basement of Grimm Hall into a haunted house.

The labyrinth of the Haunted Hall will consist of seven rooms and a series of hallways that connects them according to Michelle Sailor, Grimm Hall Manager.

Those willing to brave the hall will be taken through it by a tour guide.

“There’s no theme this year so every single room is different,” Sailor said. “There’s hopefully going to be a surprise in one of the kitchen roooms.”

Stewart is running the Sauna Room. “I wanted this room specifically. It’s small,” said Stewart. “Nobody gets to see it on a regular basis and it’s creepy within itself and now we just need to add something.”

The scares will change throughout the night to accommodate two different audiences, according to Stewart and Sailor. The 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. time slot is planned to be less scary so that the children taking part in Trick-or-Treating in the Halls can enjoy the Haunted Hall as well. At 8 p.m. the scares will ramp up and target the older, more thrill-seeking crowds.

Stewart said he isn’t too worried about managing the different levels of terror. “For our scare we don’t have to change anything, we just have to add a little extra effort.”

Those who might not be fond of haunted houses shouldn’t be too worried, according to Sailor. “If someone does get too scared in it, like I would, the tour guides will be able to get them out early so that they don’t have to go through the entire thing,” said Sailor.

The charge for Haunted Hall is $2, which will go to Grimm Hall’s activity fund or two canned goods, which will be donated to the River Falls Food Shelf.

“All of the money that is being paid is being paid from [Grimm’s activity fund],” Sailor said. “We’re hoping to make a profit and give the residents of Grimm great programs because of the money.”

“I went last year and I was really surprised,” Max Dalton, RA of Hathorn Hall said. “It was definitely a good scare and totally worth it.”

The UWRF History Club also hosts an event around Halloween time. The Haunted UWRF tour takes participants on a trek around campus and explores local legends and myths, according to assistant professor of history and History Club Faculty Advisor Victoria Houseman.

“Every campus has ghost stories that circulate,” Houseman said. “The haunted tour just points out which areas are associated with which ghost story or which piece of folklore.”

Some stories, like the supposed haunting of the Ames building, which was replaced by the University Center, are more recent, while others, like the now infamous story of the alleged deaths in South Hall go back quite some time according to Houseman.

One of Houseman’s favorite spooky stories involves a tree by Centennial Science Hall.

“Every time it was going to be cut down, the chainsaws that the workers were going to use would freeze up or wouldn’t work,” said Houseman. “Or there’d be a terrific storm and there wouldn’t be a chance for the workmen to take the tree down because they couldn’t be outside and so the tree still stands.”

These stories, as well as many more, were explored in greater depth on the Haunted UWRF Tour Thursday, Oct. 27, and have also been covered in Mike Norman’s “Haunted Wisconsin” in vivid detail.

“I have to go find a costume first and just go out with friends,” freshman Kayla Christopherson said. “I really want to go trick-or-treating and actually go get candy like little kids do.”

Even though she plans to do things a bit more traditionally, Christopherson said that the UWRF Haunted Tour and Grimm Haunted Hall sound fun and exciting.