The dead, the living and the in between at NKU for Halloween

Retirement home patients die while mummies jam on stage and students are asking for more, at Northern Kentucky University on Halloween night Oct. 31.

NKU’s campus was full of Halloween activity from a haunted Callahan Hall to a Halloween concert at Greaves Hall, and students in costume at the Student Union.

Aside from students dressed in costumes two events aimed at showing NKU’s scary side were Callahan Hall’s annual haunted House and the first multi-discipline Halloween concert.

Evelyn Lear, who is the National Coordinator with the Association of Campus Residents, said they started the haunted house at Callahan about four years ago.

She said they wanted an attraction that would draw a large number of students to try to get the ACR noticed. Another hope was to get people appreciating the residence halls more.

Lear said they chose a haunted house because of Callahan’s history as a nursing home and its somewhat haunted past.

She said NKU is in the same conference as Eastern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, and University of Louisville and has competing against them for Program of the Year.

“This has been up for Program of the Year for the last two year and we came in second last year for program of the year. And we’re hoping to attract more people to try to get program of the year this year,” Lear said.

The process of going through the haunted house is simple, first people needed to sign in and then wait for their name to be called. A guide would then take you into an empty room and explain the history of Callahan’s haunted past.

Kathryn Clubb, who acted as a tour guide, said that Callahan’s basement on a normal day is scary, but for Halloween it is even scarier.

Clubb said the tour guides told the guests there was an uprising between mistreated patients and the staff, which led to the deaths of many residents, who still linger in Callahan.

The tours are free and wound through a series of rooms and hallways, lasting 5-10 minutes. As a safety precaution no students were to go through the basement without a guide. However, this was one of the struggles faced that night as not only did students go down alone, but some who were not a part of the theme or program would go down in costume and scare students on tour.

Across campus from Callahan, Greaves Hall hosted a Halloween Concert.

Jonathan Eaton, Greaves Hall coordinator, said the concert would feature five different groups all from different genres.

He said, “this is a chance for a whole bunch of the disciplines in the music department to perform on one concert.”

Eaton said NKU used to do an inter-disciplinary Christmas concert, but it was too much for students that close to finals. So a Halloween concert is after midterms and before finals and seemed like a good time to attempt the inter discipline concert.

“We also had an opportunity this morning to do a school outreach program and we probably had 500… middle schoolers in the audience and we played to them for over an hour and it was great,” Eaton said.

He went on to say, this is the first time in the four years he has been at NKU, that they have done a show like this.

Sam Fister a Jazz studies major at NKU and performer in both the outreach concert and Halloween concert was dressed as a mummy along with the other performers. Fister said, their costumes were inspired by great funk band called Here Comes the Mummies.

The best part of the day was playing at the outreach concert, Fister said. The students were really having a good time.

Despite these events and the number of students in costume at the union and various other places on campus, students wanted to see more Halloween spirit displayed at NKU.

Mostly they wanted to see more students dress in costume.

“We had Halloween spirit… I was unaware,” said Ryan Botz an NKU student.

Botz expressed that he seen few people in costume and that if candy was handed out to those who participate then more people might come to school in costume.

“I wish I did see more costumes, because the costumes I did see entertained me,” Max Roberts, a NKU student said.

He said that there was no incentive to dress up, if there was he would have come in costume. Roberts suggested a costume contest to increase participation.

Most all of the students talked to wanted more costumes and believed that more promotion and things like costume contest and candy would serve as good incentives to get students displaying Norse Halloween spirit.

“I know they had the pumpkin bash Monday, but other than that, I haven’t seen much, so I was kind of disappointed,” NKU student Caitlyn Walz.

Even though many students wanted to see more costumes, there were still the few who were indifferent about the Idea of Halloween spirit on campus.

NKU student Kellie Peyton said, “I guess I’m a little shocked that people in college still participate so fully in Halloween…” “I can understand like if you go to a party or like a costume party or something,” but going to school.