Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier deputy news editor
Over the years, student organizations on campus have developed events for students and the public around Halloween. Two of these events are Block and Bridle’s Scary Berry and Berry College Alternate Realities’ (BCAR) Haunted House.
Block and Bridle has hosted Scary Berry for several years. According to the president, senior Savannah Shooter, they started the event in the 1990s, originally calling it Scary Dairy and hosting it in the Normandy Barns. Now, it’s hosted in the woods by Victory Lake, and serves to raise money for the club’s events.
“It’s a fundraising event for our larger event in the spring, Battle on the Mountain,” Shooter said.
As junior Madi Smith, vice president of Block and Bridle, explained, the event also serves a role in helping develop and expand the organization.
“It’s also our first big thing of the year, Smith said. “If people didn’t know what we were already, if they know we host that they may want to get involved. We are happy to look for more people. It’s kind of a way for people to see who we are, what we do, and get in on that.”
Typically, Scary Berry is held the Thursday through Saturday before Halloween. This year, due to the weather, it was cancelled on Friday and Saturday.
“It was really unfortunate, we saw the weather a good week in advance,” Shooter said. “Friday it was really wet, and we knew that even if Saturday was sunny the trail would still be sopping wet and wouldn’t be good for any customers coming through. Then it rained Saturday too.”
According to Shooter, Block and Bridle is not planning to reschedule the event.
“We typically wouldn’t reschedule,” Shooter said. “If we did it earlier in October we might have, but since it’s almost November people probably won’t enjoy it as much.”
As Shooter explained, Block and Bridle invests a lot of time into planning Scary Berry. They separate the trail head into several thematic sections. This year, the sections were Stephen King, slaughterhouse, zombie, total darkness and asylum themed. Members of the organization run each section, and have weeks to prepare and days to set up.
“This year, every section had two days to set up, most people set up in one day,” Shooter said. “Scarers had about three weeks to start picking props, making stuff, picking out their makeup.”
According to Smith, the trail changes every year, so students have the opportunity to experience something new even if they have already attended the event.
“It’s just one of those fun activities that you get to be a part of,” Smith said. “It changes every year, so even if you go here for four years the trail is always different every year. Sometimes it’s new scenery, new people, new tactics. For a student it’s pretty enjoyable.”
Smith further explained that if students were able to attend Scary Berry on Thursday, and were interested in learning or participating more, they are welcome to attend a Block and Bridle meeting to receive more information.
“For people not in Block and Bridle, if this is something that piqued your interest, you’re always welcome to pop into meetings to see if it’s something that you want to do,” Smith said.
BCAR’s Haunted House is another heavily attended event hosted around Halloween. According to BCAR’s president Bryan Chamberlain, the organization began hosting the Haunted House because it fits well with the interests of club members.
“The people that our club usually attracts are pretty interested in cosplay, nerd culture, stuff like that,” Chamberlain said. “With that skill and interest set in mind, a haunted house seemed like a logical thing to do, we needed an event credit and we all enjoy it. We just get to dress up and have fun for a night.”
According to Chamberlain, the Haunted House takes a large amount of planning. Members of BCAR spend most of the semester leading up to the event preparing.
“It’s pretty intensive,” Chamberlain said. “It differs slightly from year to year, but typically we wait until the second meeting after the Involvement Fair to talk about it. We basically focus on that every day up until the Haunted House.”
According to Chamberlain, set up for the event takes hours. Generally, he said, the club spends from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. setting up, hosts the event from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., then cleans up until around 4 a.m.
“From when we start setting up to when we’re done cleaning up generally takes an average of 20-22 hours,” Chamberlain said. “Not everyone is there the entire time, a lot of us are, we always feed the club members so we can keep working. Typically most of us are passed out on the floor by the time it’s done.”
Chamberlain believes that the Haunted House allows members of BCAR to use their skills and interests in a positive way. According to him, the club has several make up artists, designers, and actors, so the Haunted House provides them with a unique opportunity to demonstrate those skills.
“It’s a good place for a lot of the students in BCAR to show their specialized talents,” Chamberlain said. “There’s a part of it that anyone can enjoy, and the stuff that most of us are into gives us time to just mess around and have fun.”
According to Chamberlain, the Haunted House generally receives a pretty large turnout. This year, he estimated around 700 people attended, and attributes much of the event’s popularity to Berry’s Halloween spirit.
“Everyone’s already dressed up for KCAB’s costume contest so people can just come and hang out and let loose when they go through the Haunted House,” Chamberlain said. “It’s a great thing to do with your friend because people go through in groups. It’s just a nice experience to be able to let loose.”
As Chamberlain explained, running the event is an enjoyable process for those in his organization.
“I really enjoy the teamwork and cooperation that we have,” Chamberlain said. “It is a massive effort to get this set up, but the process is so much fun to work together and get ready with everyone. It’s a great teamwork and friendship building activity. You get to know people a lot better when there’s 40 of you stuck in a basement for 20 hours with no supervision. We find a way to make anything fun.”