Celebrating over 25 years of haunted Halloween fun

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For 25 years, Haunted Halloween Fun Night has been one of the biggest community Halloween events in Anchorage. Taking over the UAA Student Union with Halloween decorations and activities, the event features various booths put on by student clubs in order to raise money for their organization and a charity.

Photo credit: Rose Kruger

The proceeds from the event are split 75/25, with 75 percent going towards the student clubs. The charity of choice for this year’s event is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Anchorage. Last year, $3,165.50 was donated to the charity and $3,656 was donated in 2016. An additional $8,250 was raised for the 40 participating student clubs in 2017.

“It’s a great way to earn money for your club and have fun,” Rose Kruger, chair of Club Council, said. “It’s a mainstay of Halloween events in town.”

Johnnie Templeton, vice chair of Club Council, sees Haunted Halloween Fun Night as a chance for the university to connect with the community in an indoor environment.

“It’s one of the ways UAA can get involved with the community. Universities should always better their community,” he said. “It’s a great way that UAA can partner up and have a fun, safe place for young kids to come and have some fun. I enjoy bringing my son here.”

Templeton will be sporting the Spirit mascot costume at this year’s event.

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At Haunted Halloween Fun Night, each participating club chooses their own Halloween-themed booth, decorates it and sets the number of tickets needed for their activity. Participants can win candy by completing the activities. Each booth requires one to three tickets to participate. Tickets are universal to all the booths, set at $0.50 each and bought in bundles at the entrance of the event.

Many clubs feature the same activity from year to year. One of the most popular events in the past has been Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s monster hunt. Members of the fraternity dress up as monsters and participants have the chance to shoot them with Nerf guns.

“Fraternities are really great at getting involved with the kids and having a good time, and I think that’s the most important thing: getting students involved and giving younger kids a safe environment,” Templeton said. “They might not be necessarily as scared to come to college when they get older. It gives them a positive experience.”

Another traditional event is the bridge crossing, put on by The American Society of Civil Engineers. Each year, the club builds a bridge for a national engineering competition and repurposes it for the event. Participants then walk across the bridge with an egg in a spoon, aiming to make it all the way across without dropping the egg.

“Kids like to build with Legos, and the bridge is a visual representation of building. Seeing the bridge gets them interested,” David Tatarenko, president of The American Society of Civil Engineers, said.

Dental Hygienists of the Future has put on a life-sized Angry Birds toss for the past three years. Amber Ewing, a senior majoring in dental hygiene and president of the club, sees their booth as a chance to inform others about their organization in a family-friendly environment.

“I’m a tad biased, but our booth is really cool,” Ewing said. “We love getting the word out about our club but, more importantly, our program. We have a patient-centered program, and without the help from members of the community, both adults and kids, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our goals.”

Other typical carnival events are hosted as well, including face painting with Plates for Compassion, a bean bag toss with The Society of Physics and Astronomy Students at UAA and mini golf with Sigma Sigma Sigma.

Haunted Halloween Fun Night will take place on both floors of the Student Union from 1 – 6 p.m. on Oct. 27. Children of all ages are encouraged to dress up in costumes and participate in the festivities.