Sigma Pi spooks Unit E to make wishes come true
October 30, 2007
With its ghost tours, haunted buildings and deadly stories, scary spirits and spine-chilling legends may be part of Williamsburg culture. Tonight and tomorrow, even more hair-raising fun will take place as Sigma Pi presents its second annual Spook House.
p. “We are using a lot of the classic movies [as influences],” Sigma Pi President and Spook House organizer Erik Ahlenius ’08 said. “‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ ‘The Ring’ — there are very classic ideas.”
p. The event began last night and is being presented in the basement of Unit E, the fraternity’s house. The entrance fee is $2 and all proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The haunted house will be open tonight and tomorrow from 8 to 11 p.m.
p. “Make-A-Wish Foundation is a great organization,” Ahlenius said. “We are just trying to help make a child’s wish come true, with the creation of our nightmares. We are just honored to help in even a small way.”
p. This is the second year the fraternity is sponsoring this event, along with help from the Council for Fraternity Affairs and the Inter-Sorority Council.
p. “I heard that a lot of Southern schools did events like these, and they were very successful,” Ahlenius said. “Last year we had a lot of success. Almost 170 people came without much advertising.” This year, Ahlenius hopes to draw 200 to 250 people.
p. The advertising consists of flyers, a Facebook group and word of mouth. They hope that those people who came last year and enjoyed the festivities would return and bring others. The brothers have also been sending out some of the performers from the haunted house around campus with flyers and a chainsaw to promote the event — giving students a small taste of the house of horrors.
p. The event will also include a carnival for younger children Tuesday. The fraternity invited children from the area elementary schools and the children of College professors. From 4 to 6 p.m. there will be carnival games on the dance floor and a toned-down version of the haunted house in the basement. Kids will also have the opportunity to go trick-or-treating on the second floor. The CFA and the ISC handled the advertisement for local children by e-mailing the local daycare and the principals and PTAs of local schools.
p. The haunted house is comprised of a maze of varying dark passageways directing guests on their way through the basement. The pitch-black atmosphere aims to create a terrifying ambiance, making the guests even more vulnerable to the scare tactics of the brothers. Entering the house, visitors follow down a windy, narrow walkway with eerie music creating the ambiance of a slasher film. Along the way characters from “The Grudge” and “The Ring” appear, grabbing and whispering in peoples’ ears. The urgency in the room thickens, as noises of a mad doctor operating on a live patient echo through the halls. Rushing through, the guests appear more panicked as each turn seems to be more difficult to find — occasionally they must walk through covered doorways.
p. Old photos of the dead adorn the walls and are only visible thanks to the small low-burning candle providing the guests with the smallest amount of light to help them find their way.
p. The only sign of true light occurs as the guests walk through a white, “blood” stained room. Afterward, the house returns to complete darkness. More actors slowly creep around behind the walls, reaching out and talking to those people intruding into the house and annoying the haunting spirits. Monsters become angered by the presence of the individuals and begin to chase the trespassers out of the house. Hurrying out of the house, the guests are still not safe — even after pushing the heavy exit door open, they are still being chased away by chainsaw-wielding maniacs, ensuring that the entire experience thrill enduing from start to finish.
p. “We are helping out a good cause and being festive,” JJ Regan ’09 said. “I helped set up, and I wanted to be a monster and scare people. I will be a lot of fun — even more fun than last year.”
Setup began Sunday after all of the homecoming guests had left, though planning and preparation took weeks. The brothers used many black trash bags, items found in their basement and leftover construction material from their homecoming float to create the Spook House. From this material, the brothers constructed coffins and fashioned costumes.ven the black robes many of the performers don are recycled from items they found. “It was a very cheap event [to create],” Ahlenius said. “We only spent $50 on props.”
p. “It was a lot of fun last year,” Timur Tsutsuk ’09 said. “A lot of people showed up and we scared the shit out of people. It was a way to have fun sober on Halloween.”
p. The fraternity wanted to aid philanthropic efforts and give students something to do on Halloween. “There is not too much to do in Williamsburg,” Ahlenius said. “This gives students something to do before they go out.”