Just before sunset on Hallows Eve, masked people dressed as circus performers stood outside the Psychology building, calling out to students and attracting them to the “Cirque du la Scream” haunted house.
A long line of students stretched away from the haunted house, which was hosted by the Psychology Students Association. Students waited to check in and were asked to donate money for psychologically-based charities before entering the haunted house.
Students took a piece of candy or two for the walk down the hall until they reached a doorway, decorated with an “enter if you dare sign.”
Circus Ringmaster Elizabeth Alsky, PSA president and a senior psychology major, admitted two to three people at a time into the dark haunted house, from which screams and shrieks emitted.
The haunted house was constructed with a circus-like theme in a classroom, and it began with a passage leading guests down a dark path to be surprised by cast members screaming and grabbing at the people walking by. Guests walked down a makeshift maze that led through unexpected turns, which ended with screaming and mini-heart attacks.
Strobe lights flashed and creepy circus music blasted with mixed sound effects to make the haunted house much more intense. At the maze’s end, guests were surprised by scary clowns stepping out of the dark to chase them through the exit door. Evil laughter from a clown carrying a chainsaw echoed as they left.
Upon exiting the maze, senior communications studies major Tatsuya Kohrogi said, “I died like twice in there.”
Kohrogi said he wouldn’t go through the haunted house alone.
“It was horrifying,” he said. “They created some good tension in there. The chainsaw over there at the end, I didn’t expect that.”
Alsky said the event took place thanks to an idea from former PSA President Nick Monzon.
“[Nick] was very involved in the club,” Alsky said. “And both years he wanted to find ways to raise money for mental health, which is what our major is in full support of anyways.”
Monzon said the maze was started to donate money psychologically-based charities.
“From the start, it was very successful, and we raised about $500 for charity,” Monzon said. “And the second year we raised about $1,000.”
With this year’s haunted house, Monzon expected to raise around the same amount as last year’s event. The maze has grown significantly bigger since its first year, when PSA received a $200 grant to host the maze, according to Monzon. This year, PSA received a $1,000 grant.
Ricardo Pulido, a junior French major, said he attended the University Student Union’s haunted house earlier in the day.
He said, though, that he enjoyed PSA’s Cirque du la Scream much more.
“On a scale of one to 10, [PSA’s] was an 8.5. It was really good,” Pulido said. “The music was louder and it was more intense, and there were monsters at every corner, so it kind of … caught you off guard. You didn’t know if someone was going to be behind you and scare you.”
When asked if he would enter PSA’s haunted house again, Pulido said, “Hell yeah, I would! We should go back. We’re going to go again.”