Behind the Scares of Haunted House 2022

Max J. Malit, Staff Writer

It was a screaming fun time October 25-27 at this year’s Haunted House hosted by the Drama Club, as students and other neighborhood thrill seekers alike bravely (or not so bravely) trekked their way through for a good scare to get into the true Halloween spirit. 

The theme for this year’s haunted house was the horror classic “Slashers” featuring iconic villains from the silver-screen like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Ghostface, and Freddy Krueger stalking any who dared to walk through.

Mr. Daniel E. Ingram, the Drama Club director here at Arroyo and manager of the whole event comments “It’s the second Haunted House since the pandemic, and I think that overall this one was more successful than last year’s”

After purchasing their wrist bands at the front, patrons made their way through the Haunted House at an outdoor area reminiscent of Friday the 13th’s Camp Crystal Lake, fittingly chased by Jason Voorhees, and escaping to the next area with the assistance of a “Camp Counselor”. They continue to a fenced outdoor area with the neighborhood in the background, but those who felt a sense of security there were sorely mistaken as Michael Myers and Ghostface would take their opportunity to jump out from the darkness.

After escaping indoors with the help of another “survivor” the visitors weren’t any safer, as the indoor area was filled with winding corners, lights and sound unnerving them as they were stalked by Freddy Krueger. After making their way through the dream-like maze and being “politely” offered a meal by a certain Dr. Hannibal Lecter, visitors had a moment to breathe before they were given chase by the Pig-faced butcher and Leatherface with a roaring chainsaw in-tow, giving one last chase before they finally escaped with their lives but perhaps a little less dignity in-tact. 

When asked about what Mr. Ingram particularly thought stood out about this year’s Haunted House, he remarked about how much the outdoor area added to the experience, stating “Something special about this Haunted House was that the students came up with the idea to use the outside courtyard between the admin building and the theater. That area wasn’t even on my radar but somebody thought outside the box and we asked administration who gave us permission, which was really supportive and worked out really well” 

It’s safe to say most people got their money’s worth in scares, so it’s surprising that Mr. Ingram and the performers can attest to production and setup being rocky. Auditions were first announced in early October, with the following weeks training the performers, gathering props, and setting up the stages. 

“We didn’t get to do makeup, we relied mainly on masks and we couldn’t have fog machines and other live effects set up” remarked Mr. Ingram on how some corners had to be cut due to budgetary and time constraints. 

The audition process itself was extremely fun and informative, as with and without previous theater experience were skillfully guided by Mr. Ingram on how to get into character and scare patrons effectively and safely. However conflicts in performers’ and production members’ schedules caused some issues forcing some time to be crunched. 

Anthony Hoang, Senior and drama club member who played the role of Freddy Krueger stated “I think it could’ve been better if we had more time, and that’s generally what a lot of other members were saying”.

Though the production wasn’t as smooth as it could’ve been, the shortened time seemed to bring out some great experience with fun improvisations that made the haunted house less repetitive and almost a sense of replayability as performers quickly thought of ways to make diverging paths to make repeated walkthroughs different. 

“The best part was when we really got them to scream,” said Anthony Hoang, “I popped out of nowhere from behind a theater curtain in the maze area and Mr. Ingram thought that was really creative so me and my buddy took turns doing that”.

Commercially, the Haunted House was profitable with over 60 patrons, however past that side of the event, Mr. Ingram and the drama club were far more focused on making sure the event was a fun and informative experience for performers who haven’t participated in drama or theater in the past. 

“Overall it was a success, we made more money than we spent,” Mr. Ingram stated, however he would rather emphasize “It’s a success whether we make money or not, because students got the opportunity to perform, and feel successful, and feel like they were part of something, which makes students who participated want to come back next year and tell their friends.”

As the Drama Club continues to build itself back up to its pre-pandemic status, we ask all students interested in drama and theater to not hesitate in auditioning no matter their previous experience, to share the experience and magic of theater. 

Mr. Ingram proclaimed, “I hope that students who came to see the haunted house or participated, catch the “drama bug”, to get that hunger to keep performing, and it makes them want to try other things like comedy sports, pick up a sport, or try out for the musical”.