AYINDE J. STEVENS
Student Voice Editor
After a hiatus, the Florham Programming Committee was finally able to resurrect the Haunted Mansion for Halloween on Oct. 30. The Haunted Mansion, a long standing tradition on the College at Florham campus, was cancelled twice in the last two years due to inclement weather conditions. But this year, the weather held up.
The Haunted Mansion involves Greek organizations and club members taking over entire rooms inside the Mansion and creating their own theme or dramatic presentation in order to try to win a cash prize. Then, students are brought in to travel through the Mansion with tour guides leading them to each room. This year, however, some of the tour guides were actually in character themselves.
With the pent-up demand for this popular tradition to return and the weather appearing to cooperate, discussions to bring it back began in earnest “right after Homecoming,” according to FPC member Alyssa Klingler.
They began to reach out to other clubs and organizations not long after to see which ones would be involved.
Of the 17 clubs and organizations that participated in the event coordinated by FPC, several were Greek organizations, including Zeta Tau Alpha, Delta Phi Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Zeta Beta Tau. Clubs that took part in trying to scare an estimated 300 participants included Fairleigh Dramatics, Colleges Against Cancer, SAGA and New Social Engine.
The scene inside the Mansion prior to the event was one filled with people scrambling to add the finishing touches to their rooms and assisting others in putting on their makeup. One such person receiving makeup was Dan McMahon, a junior being turned into “Big Daddy,” a zombie from the horror classic “Night of the Living Dead.”
When asked what he planned to do in character, McMahon said that he wanted to “scare…everyone that walks through the door.”
Outside the Mansion, hundreds of people waited excitedly for the tours to start. Their wait was long, however, since some of the rooms still needed to be finished. In addition, a shortage of waivers prevented the first groups from getting in until 10 p.m.
Photo by Ayinde J. Stevens
Zane Decker, a senior, gets wrapped up as a mummy by Nicole Ceglie, a junior.
Although some disliked the wait, it also gave people time to form groups to go through the Mansion with, and allowed for conversations to be held between those waiting with anticipation to go inside.
After an hour of waiting, the line finally began to move. Groups were brought inside in 10-20 minute intervals. Even close to midnight, the line still went out the front door.
Despite the long wait time, two students who went through it had positive reactions to their experiences.
Kelly Ann Gonzales, a senior, said she enjoyed it, “considering it was low budget” and that there was “a short time period to prepare” for the event.
She preferred the room that TKE, NSE and Phi Sigma Sigma collaborated on, due to its narratives, which she found to be “scarier.”
Edward Arana, also a senior, said he enjoyed “the eerie attitude that each room applied” and added that “some rooms varied from being creepy to bizarre; each scare was different and I enjoyed it.”
Despite the hiccups, it looks like the Haunted Mansion was a spooktacular success and may be a tradition that will be a treat for students in the future – as long as Mother Nature doesn’t have a trick up her sleeve.