Haunted Halls takes a new twist

GVL/ Jessica Hollenbeck

Sophomore Ryan Hartman and Freshman Kellie Howe prepare for the Murray Haunted House.

GVL/ Jessica Hollenbeck Sophomore Ryan Hartman and Freshman Kellie Howe prepare for the Murray Haunted House.

Mary Mattingly

There may be rumors of ghosts haunting the halls of Grand Valley State University’s Kistler and Copeland Living Centers, but on Oct. 31 from 8 p.m to 11 p.m., these halls will be transformed into a real-life nightmare.

“(It’s called) the aftermath,” said Breana Maginity, who helped to organize this year’s Haunted Halls. “It’s basically a town that’s been hit with a radioactive explosion. As the customers go through, they start to get hit with radioactive material, themselves, and end up getting treated.”

Members from both Kistler and Copeland’s community councils collaborated to plan the on-campus haunted house. Each year, housing communities pitch a bid to the Residence Hall Association to host the annual Haunted Halls. Bids are selected based on theme ideas, how the budget the RHA provides will be used, and how the theme will be executed.

Unlike previous years, this haunted house uses several different themes.

“It’s one of the years that there are more themes than there’s ever been before,” said Jimmy Zarling, adviser to both Kistler and Copeland’s community councils. “Usually the house is one theme and everyone goes through it; this year has multiple themes. It’s about a nuclear explosion in a small town (and) lots of different areas can get infected. It’s not like walking through a hospital theme or a prison theme.”

To write the winning bid, members from both councils looked at the past two years’ worth of bids in order to choose a unique theme for this year’s edition. Past themes include one based upon the “Saw” movie franchise called “Come Play With Me,” which took place inside the Murray Living Center. In 2011, Kistler and Copeland hosted the haunted house with the theme of the “No Hope Hospital.”

“I helped write the bid, which won,” Maginity said. “It was pretty cool. I’ve organized everything pretty much. I presented everything to the council this past meeting (and) now everyone’s working on it together.”

This is Maginity’s first year as a part of Kistler’s Community Council. Now, she and other organizers are busy putting together the haunted house.

“We are getting together props and costumes right now,” she said. “We are also recruiting volunteers (as well as) working on the basic layout of Kistler and Copeland.”

The haunted house will start in Kistler, then go out the back end of the building and end in Copeland.

“We (looked) at what previous years did, and we are trying to make it unique and different from years past,” Maginity said.

With Halloween approaching, the group is looking forward to presenting GVSU with what it has been working on.

“I’m excited to see how many people get involved,” Zarling said. “There are so many different options for them to (volunteer) and different sections (for them to walk) through.”

Eight hundred people are expected to go through the haunted house this year, which is free to the public. The house will be accepting donations of nonperishable foods for the Student Food Pantry at the door.

People are still welcome to volunteer at the haunted house. “People can still get involved,” Maginity said. “We can utilize make-up artists, costumes makers, actors and people (to help) clean up.”

Those interested in volunteering can contact Courtney Holland for more information.