By Carson Lewis | Page One Editor, Contributing Reporting from Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article ran with Dekalb, Ill junior Wesley (Wess) Kunz’ name spelled incorrectly as Wesley Isunz, and did not attribute Matthew Soderberg’s contributing reporting.
Thursday evening kicked off a weekend full of laughter, scares and community when Baylor president Dr. Linda Livingstone and first gentleman Brad Livingstone escaped Phi Gamma Delta’s Fright Night haunted house.
Fiji’s event will continue throughout the weekend until Saturday evening, and on Friday, the haunted house will not be the only event on Fountain Mall.
Alpha Chi Omega will also be hosting AXO’s Block Party on Friday, which is set to last from 6 to 8 p.m., and will be followed by Fiji’s Fright Night haunted house from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
AXO’s Block Party will feature free dessert food trucks and a concert by alt-pop artist Christian French. The sorority sold shirts throughout the week to raise awareness for the event and their philanthropy, benefiting National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Waco Family Abuse Center. Shorty’s Pizza will also be sold at the event, with the proceeds supporting the philanthropy.
After Block Party ends, attendees will be directed toward Fiji’s Fright Night, which will be occurring further down Fountain Mall closer to Moody Memorial Library. Fright Night is a three-night event, which began on Thursday night and will continue until Saturday night.
Fright Night is Fiji’s annual haunted house experience, and will feature tents divided up into different rooms, filled with members intending to give visitors a good scare. Also featured are food trucks, a live movie and a photo booth. Churros’ Time will have a food truck all three nights, but Nightlight Donuts will only feature their food truck on Saturday night, which Fiji members say is usually when the event gets the most traffic.
“[Saturday] is usually our biggest night. Let’s hope the weather is all good. It looks great right now. . . Last year we had to cancel a day because of weather,” Aurora, Colo., junior Drew McDougal, a Fright Night organizer, said.
Heavy rain has made Fright Night construction difficult in past years with tents being flooded in places, but members of Fiji said that they’re ready to adapt to make sure the event is a success.
“Weather always seems to be a problem, but that’s out of our control. We found a way to work through it,” Dekalb, Ill., junior Wesley (Wess) Kunz, a Fright Night organizer, said.
Both events have been held in the past, but this year members of both Greek life organizations cooperated in promoting the events.
“We’re working together [a little bit], mostly to promote the event. . . We’re going to shut people out after the concert is over, so that people will go to [Fright Night],” Denver junior Ella Schroeder, a Block Party organizer, said. “We’re both sharing Fountain Mall.”
Another difference for Fright Night this year was the attendance of Linda and Brad Livingstone.
“[Fright Night] did not work with our schedule the last couple of years, so we’re kind of excited about it … kind of,” Linda Livingstone said. “Brad is a haunted house person; I am not.”
In previous years, AXO held their Block Party on Burleson Quadrangle, but shifted to Fountain Mall this year to hopefully increase attendance for the event.
“We decided to move it to Fountain Mall this year to hopefully attract more people and have a larger space,” Schroeder said. “We think that we’re attracting more people this year, and Burleson Quadrangle is just not big enough.”
Linda Livingstone said that as more groups of students work together, they will create different types of experiences and attract new people to the community.
“We love the way our students come together and create these kinds of experiences, not just for our students but for the community, and along the way they’re raising money for great causes,” Linda Livingstone said.
Although Linda Livingstone said that she was calm and confident while she was in the haunted house at first, one of the students managed to jump out and scare her.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great time community-building and then it’s a great way to raise some money for a good cause,” Linda Livingstone said.
Members of Fiji and AXO said that lots of work has been put into both events, with planning taking place for months prior.
“Me and Wess, because we’re roommates, we started talking about it in November of last year, and we started actually deciding on events [in] February of this year. We’re already talking about next year,” McDougal said.
Schroeder said that Block Party has taken since March to plan.
“There was a lot that had to go into the event, especially with myself being the only executive position that had to plan this whole event. There’s a ton of small details and having to be a very good communicator,” Schroeder said. “We wanted to try to attract as many people as we can, and that can be difficult as Baylor is so diverse.”