As the clock struck midnight and the candles in the jack-o-lanterns were blown out, Halloween at Stephens came to a close. This October, decorations were placed on doors, pumpkins were carved to greet passersby, and of course, Stephens hosted a variety of events themed around the spooky holiday.
Tri-Sigma Haunted Tour
Almost everyone knows of Sarah and her tragic fate in Senior Hall. But what about the baby crying in Searcy? Or the two ghosts in Tower’s closed-off fifth floor?
The members of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority put together a terrifying haunted tour that led students through Roblee’s empty basement to Pillsbury, where restless spirits screamed and jumped out at unsuspecting people. The tour continued from Pillsbury to outside Searcy and Tower, all the way around the chapel and finally into Senior Hall.
Freshman Nicole Gagne was dressed all in black, face painted like a skull, waiting for people to approach the side of Senior Hall where she and a friend would jump out at the tourists.
When asked about her experience as a first-time participant, Gagne said she “had so much fun, I loved scaring people and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”
But this haunted tour wasn’t just about “tricks.” Tri-Sigma donated the proceeds earned from ticket sales to the Robbie Page Memorial Fund, an organization that focuses on supporting play therapy for children in hospitals. This includes support of building playrooms and libraries for those children undergoing long-term care.
This year Prunty Hall hosted “Howl-o-Ween,” a costume contest for both pets and their owners alike. The costume contest had several different categories, including best duo, best small and large breed and best exotic animal.
“It was fantastic that so many Stephens women took the time and energy to dress up their best pet pals for the holiday; it was so hard to pick the winners because everybody was so cute,” President Dianne Lynch said.
Best duo winners Becky Saunders and Brody were dressed as a hamburger and a hot dog, while best overall/large breed winners Kristen McCurdy and Star were dressed as Rapunzel and Pascal.
The winner for best exotic animal was Benny the bunny, dressed as Winnie the Pooh, and his owner, Jessica Long.
“Everyone’s pets looked adorable,” Long said. “It was great to be around all the animals and the mutual animal lovers.”
Although a parade was scheduled, the judges and Yvonne Chamberlain decided against it due to the day’s cold weather.
“I really loved this event and loved seeing the pets in their costume and the creativity of the owners to come up with fun things for themselves and their animals,” Chamberlain said.
Following the pet costume contest, a trick-or-treating event was held in Kimball Ballroom. Safe Trick-or-Treat hosted various activities for the children of Columbia.
The Dead Writers Society told spooky tales to kids sitting down in bean bags, while Sigma Tau Delta colored Halloween-themed drawings for kids to take home and Campus Life Unleashed helped kids “fish” for candy.
A Doctor Finklestein, a baby dragon and a princess mom were among the many children and parents going from table to table, grabbing all the candy they could get. Darth Maul battled it out against Dead Writers Society member Sarah Gipson while two skeleton ghouls walked the cake walk.
Dead Writers Society vice president, Ashleigh Stevenson, thought the event was a good alternative to going around to unfamiliar people’s homes. Stevenson felt like the kids enjoyed themselves, and she did not see one kid who wasn’t smiling.
Sigma Tau Delta’s Spook-a-Thon
The annual Spook-a-Thon, a fundraiser hosted by Sigma Tau Delta, began at 7 p.m. and challenged participants to continue reading their favorite classics or original poems and short stories until the clock struck 11 p.m. on Halloween night. After each reading, the students would write their names on a piece of paper and add it to the cauldron for lottery drawings later during the event.
Participants dressed in costumes, including Tinker Bell, Red Riding Hood, a mermaid and even a homemade fox costume worn by professor Tina Parke-Sutherland, to compete in a series of contests throughout the night. Both the costume contests and the lottery drawings from the cauldron gave students the opportunity to win several prizes.
Freshman Nikki Gottschalk was nervous at first, walking to the podium in the dimly-lit chapel as she readied herself to read her own original piece. As the night progressed, her nervousness disappeared.
“Spook-a-Thon was a really amazing experience,” Gottschalk said. “It was a really great way to connect with everyone who had come and to hear their work and their favorite poems. Plus, the food was pretty dang good.”
Sigma Tau Delta president, Alexi Scharbach, thought this year’s event was a success.
“I think we had more people come dressed up than ever, well as long as I’ve been here. So, that’s amazing,” Scharbach said.
Scharbach also said her favorite part was watching all of the Sigma Tau Delta members working together to make the event successful.
Story by freshman Shelly Romero