June 19, 2019

Haunted Alumni House scares, spooks

Tomoe Oshima, Webster student, crawls on the floor of the Love Alumni House to scare visitors at the multicultural haunted house on Oct. 25. PHOTO BY COLLEEN DOHERTY

Brenina Williams gasped then quickly stepped forward after a ghost crawled from behind the front door. The ghost grabbed Williams’ feet, reminding Williams of her scariest childhood Halloween memory. In elementary school, teachers grabbed Williams’ feet at a haunted house.

“That’s my childhood scary memory,” Williams said. “And they’re doing it again.”

Williams was one of more than 40 visitors to the multicultural haunted house at the Alumni House on Oct. 25. The Japanese Student Association (JSA), International Students Association (ISA) and Students for Biological Sciences (SBS) put the  haunted house together.

“We (at Webster) are known as an international school,” Helena Lam, president of SBS, said. “We should have all of our events encompass that.”

Lam said in America, scary movies generally involve blood and guts. The multicultural haunted house took an international approach to “scary.”

“It’s more subtle … it’s kind of eerie,” Lam said. “It’s not just blood and guts.”

The porch creaked as students stepped inside the dark house in pairs. Large white sheets with blood red handprints were hung in the dining room where the Japanese ghost Kuchisake-onna, a woman with a ripped mouth, grabbed and screamed at visitors.

Amanda Schoenbaum, freshman studio art, said zombies are her greatest fear. A zombie shuffled down steps between the kitchen and living room.

“I’m not going through,” Schoenbaum said after seeing the zombie.

Williams and Schoenbaum rushed past the zombie and into the living room.

Students set up a fake chemistry lab which helped give the haunted house a creepy feel. PHOTO BY COLLEEN DOHERTY

Lam said the concept of a multicultural haunted house should come more naturally to Webster. The haunted house also included an Indian ghost and Sadako, from the film, “The Ring.” A girl dressed as Sadako crawled out from behind a white sheet, which projected the water well from the movie.

As Sadako crawled towards the students, another haunted house visitor, Yann Kouame, squatted close by. Kouame,  an alumnus, dressed in all black and was determined to scare the students working the haunted house.

“I want to scare them so they can enjoy it too,” Kouame said.

German teaching assistant Ramin Massoudy was chosen by ISA to represent Germany in the haunted house. He chose to wear a paper mask of David Hasselhoff, which could be seen in a first floor window.

“Every German knows David Hasselhoff,” Massoudy said. “He’s a creepy dude.”

Lam was most excited for the SBS chemistry lab in the haunted house. She had an “extravagant mad scientist” chem lab in her head. In the fog filled kitchen, a scientist used a laser pointer to illuminate beakers filled with a bubbling liquid on the table.

“We are trying to tap into that creepy aspect of a chem lab,” Lam said. “It can be eerie in a mad scientist sort of way.”

As visitors left the kitchen, a loud bell rang and a man dressed as a glowing skeleton followed closely behind. Lam said a chemistry lab isn’t a typical element of haunted houses.

Naoko Onishi, president of JSA, said they were considering dividing the haunted house into sections. Each section would represent one culture’s idea of “scary.” In the end, JSA, ISA and SBS decided to blend all the cultures represented throughout the house.

“When you’re scared, it doesn’t really matter if you’re in the Indian section or not,” Onishi said.

Enurag Bhattacharyya, ISA ad coordinator, said the multicultural haunted house was her first haunted house experience.

“I saw Japanese ghosts and Indian ghosts and zombies,” Bhattacharyya said. “It was really cool.”

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