Article courtesy of Nina Wilson of Respectful and Tasteful Satire (RATS)
On Oct. 23, 2017, the Lawrence University Dance and Opera Programs, as well as the Improvisation Group of Lawrence University (IGLU), teamed up to host a haunted house in Harper Hall. Tickets were free for Lawrence students, and one sophomore, Vera Fitzsmith, attended with a group of friends.
“I was really excited when I saw the Facebook event,” Vera commented. “The haunted house was just in time for Halloween—my favorite holiday.”
However, her expectations did not quite meet reality.
Vera expressed profound confusion towards the first act of the haunted house.
“Margaret Paek and Matthew Turner, professors of Dance and Jazz/Improvisation, welcomed us to the haunted house, and they were so nice—it was weird. They said they and their students had been working hard on this haunted house for over a month, and they were excited for us to finally experience it. They weren’t dressed scary or anything. I think Margaret was wearing a sweater from somewhere nice, like J Crew? She also warned us that one of the acts was in a very dark, enclosed space and if that made us uncomfortable, then we were free to leave. I guess that was nice of her to say, but dark, enclosed spaces are pretty much what I expect from a haunted house. I think everyone knew what they had signed up for.”
Fitzsmith’s friend, senior Sylvia Lax, who was also in attendance, said that the second act was even stranger than the first.
“They had tables of miscellaneous objects and instruments, and they told us we could play with them. I mean, I love a nice bowl of magnets any day of the week, but I didn’t know that we would have to make our own spooky noises. I usually expect my spook catered to me on a platter at haunted houses. Rattling chains, wind whistling through slats in the roof —you know. They definitely had more bike horns than anyone really needed at this thing.”
Unfortunately, according to Fitzsmith, there was still more to come.
“The worst part was when the performers made all of us come up on stage with them. We stood in a circle, and get this—they handed out winter gear, like hats and gloves—and made us put them on. Like, what a lame Halloween costume! After that, they made us hold hands. It’s almost like they weren’t even trying to be scary. I wanted my 0 dollars back.”
Lexi Hayes, a third friend who had remained quiet until this point in our interview, finally chimed in: “I don’t know, guys. It wasn’t all bad. I mean, there was some pretty impressive wailing from the vocal majors.”