By Caroline Brewton
There’s still time to catch a chill.
Fright Night, an event sponsored by Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and Delta Delta Delta sorority in conjunction with the Baylor Activities Council and Student Activities, will continue at 8:00 p.m. today until midnight, with another opening at the same time Saturday night.
Traditionally held at the Eastland Lakes ClubHouse, Fright Night is in Fountain Mall this year, which marks the first time the event has been held on campus.
Established in 1996, Fright Night is an annual haunted house event held to benefit the Waco Chapter of Young Life, a Christian organization that fosters friendships between adult leaders and children in order to positively impact the lives of the children involved. In addition to the haunted house, free hot chocolate will be served and visitors are invited to a photo booth that will also be free. Photo booth services will be provided by CornerBooth.
The venue change occurred because the Eastland Lakes Clubhouse, where the event has been held for the past several years, was booked in advance for another event.
Westlake junior Carlos Gutierrez, a member of the Baylor Activities Council and the program coordinator for Fright Night, said he believes the change will have a positive effect on attendance, and said he is expecting a bigger turnout than in past years.
The campus location is expected to appeal to freshmen and to those who live on or near campus but don’t have cars, event organizers said.
The big white tent that will house the event went up on Fountain Mall Monday, and members of the organizations have been working nonstop since then in order to prepare for the event, Gutierrez said.
He said the house will feature scares ranging from “hospital” to “amusement-fair types.”
A disclaimer on the event website warns the house will feature content not suitable for children and warns that children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult.
“Visitors can expect to be frightened for their lives,” said Derek Harmon Jr., a Houston sophomore FIJI pledge who helped with construction for the event. “You can expect a lot of pop culture references.”
By pop culture references, Harmon means movies.
“There’s a ‘Ring’ well,” he said, referring to a 2002 horror movie starring Naomi Watts and Daveigh Chase. Gutierrez said visitors can also expect strobe lights and smoke machines, although he “didn’t want to give too much away,” and to find out more, people should attend the event.
Overland Park, Kan., senior Elizabeth Cole served as an event chair, along with three other members of Delta Delta Delta and a FIJI member. Cole said that although the tent went up Monday, administrative work for the event began in the summer. When the usual venue was found to be booked in advance, organizers had to look elsewhere for a suitable location. Several were considered, but Cole said holding the event on campus seemed like the best available option.
Whereas the Eastland Lake Clubhouse had a structure with walls to base their construction on, those who worked on the event this year had to build a structure from the ground up, with tents set up by Baylor facility services.
Harmon said due to the intensive work, he passed the week with minimal amounts of sleep.
“It’s more intensive just because it’s the first year,” Cole said. “It’s kind of a pilot year of doing it on campus.”
For Fright Night, it’s the first year on campus – but it might not be the last.
More than providing scares, the ultimate goal of the event is to benefit Young Life, Cole said, and if the event on campus is “ultimately more beneficial for Young Life, we’ll strive to keep it on campus so Young Life can get the most out of it they can.”
The event is free, although donations for Waco Young Life will be taken at the door. In addition, Fright Night shirts will be sold, with half the proceeds benefiting Young Life.