Three Nights of Fright: FIJI to host annual Fright Night

FIJI fright night will take place this weekend on Fountain Mall. Lariat file photo

By Maya Butler | Reporter

Hauntingly good fun will soon pierce the campus night as the fraternity FIJI prepares for its annual haunted house event known as Fright Night.

Phi Gamma Delta, commonly referred to by its nickname FIJI, has hosted Fright Night since 1996. This year’s event will go from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday on Fountain Mall.

“Once you enter that side of Fountain Mall, the side closer to Moody, you’ll know you’re in Fright Night territory,” Fort Worth senior and philanthropy chair Clark Parr said about the annual event.

The fraternity will stream the Baylor football game against West Virginia on a large movie screen projector Thursday night, and classic Halloween films “Hocus Pocus” and “Halloweentown” will entertain students while they wait in line for the haunted house on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. FIJI will also provide a photo booth so attendees can capture their Fright Night experience.

FIJI members have been promoting the event since the start of the week by posting flyers around campus and by selling T-shirts. Short-sleeved shirts are selling for $10 and long-sleeves for $15, with proceeds going toward the fraternity’s national philanthropy United Service Organizations. FIJI members will also be selling them at the event. As an incentive, anyone who buys a T-shirt and wears it at Fright Night will get to skip the line for the haunted house attraction.

Students can participate in Fright Night free of admission while snacking on churros and ice cream from local food truck Churros’ Time. Around 1,500 students attended last year, and as many as 2,000 are expected to show up this weekend. Among those showing up this year is a 20-ft. inflatable version of Mr. Puft, the Marshmallow Man seen in the popular Ghostbusters franchise.

Baylor Activities Council (BAC), a branch of Student Activities, has been in charge of marketing Fright Night with flyers, billboards and banners on campus. Other university events the BAC has participated in include Christmas on 5th Street, Lunar New Year, Howdy and Gateway to India.

Sherman junior Kacie Smith, who serves as marketing coordinator for Baylor Activities Council, explained her role in partnering with FIJI to make the event a success.

“The goal of the BAC is just to make the event more accessible to people,” Smith said. “[FIJI] may not have anybody that really knows the ins-and-outs of marketing, so it kind of can help them in that aspect.”

Construction for the haunted house, a process that lasts three to four days, started Monday. Fraternity members are developing a 4,800-sq. ft. haunted house constructed with non-flammable tarp, wood and post anchors. Twelve fright rooms will be featured, including a zombie cemetery, cage room, surgery room and a room filled with one of Halloween’s scariest figures — clowns.

Parr explained the most exciting part about constructing Fright Night.

“The philanthropy aspect of it is great, and we try to do as much towards that, but for us, it’s a brotherhood event,” Parr said. “At what other opportunity would you get to hang out on Fountain Mall, hang out with your fraternity brothers and build a house even though it’s cold?”

Strobe lights and a fog machine will help complete the horror setting. Emergency exits and fire extinguishers have been put in place for student safety in case any accidents occur. If it rains, a FIJI tent will be set in place for shelter. As an added treat, family-owned Captain Billy Whizzbang’s will be selling burgers during construction.

Victoria junior Raj Williams gave a possible reason for the appeal in a Halloween-centered event.

“I just love spookiness — I love spooky season,” Williams said. “It just reminds me of being a kid again and trick or treating, and I think the other fun part is that everyone kind of likes being scared, and there’s a bit of expectation with it if you come to Fright Night.”