Wear and scare: UAA students share costume ideas and spooky lore

Halloween is right around the corner and some UAA students are preparing for the festivities in a variety of ways.

Many students plan to dress up for the holiday. Gina Hayes, a journalism major, has a practical idea for a costume.

Journalism major Gina Hayes muses about being thrifty when costume shopping. Photo by Christina Swayney.

“I’m going to wear a skeleton onesie. It’s in my closet and super cheap because it’s free,” Hayes said.

Other students have more elaborate costume ideas. Freshman Rachael Lue is considering dressing up as a character from one of her two favorite animes, “The Royal Tutor” or “Persona 5.”

UAA student Rachael Lue’s love for anime has inspired her costume ideas for Halloween. Photo by Christina Swayney.

“I haven’t decided yet what to go as. It’s like a 50/50 decision right now. I just love both shows so much that I can’t decide yet,” Lue said.

Another UAA student, Daniel Foshee, plans to take a more comical approach at a Halloween costume. Foshee is going to buy an alien pick me up costume, which is an inflatable green alien embracing the wearer. He believes it will be great for social commentary.

UAA student Daniel Foshee plans to dress up as a person being hugged by an alien for Halloween. Photo by Christina Swayney.

“I think it’s a really fun costume, and I know that if I saw someone dressed as that, it would make me laugh,” Foshee said.

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Another way students are getting into the spirit of the spooky holiday is telling creepy stories. Reagan Howard, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, shares a story she heard from another student about the Wendy Williamson Auditorium.

“There was a Halloween play being put on in the auditorium and during one of the scenes, it was reported that a really scary, ghostly woman was seen at the top of the stage near the ceiling. No one had any idea what they were talking about because there never was a ghost lady as part of the play at all,” Howard said.

The auditorium has a history of unusual activity. A psychic who visited the venue in 2003 stated that there are six ‘ghosts’ that haunted it: a male musician who may be John Wendell, or “Wendy” Williamson himself, a shadowy man seen observing performances backstage, a woman in white, a teenage man, a little girl who can be heard giggling and an angry man who supposedly shoved a beauty contestant, his handprints showing up on her back the next day.

Shane Mitchell is the Wendy Williamson Auditorium manager and has worked there for 22 years. He witnessed the shoving event in person, and said it appeared like the contestant did not fall on her own.

“She was on the south side stairs and talking with friends, when all of the sudden she starts tumbling down. Her friends started joking and saying that she didn’t know how to stand, but she said she was shoved,” Mitchell said.

The auditorium is still home to unexplained activities to this day, Mitchell says, such as complaints from his custodial staff of late-night piano playing. When the staff goes to see who it is, no one is there, he says.

“My custodians have asked that we leave the light on for them before they come in,” Mitchell said.

Other places in Anchorage, including the Historic Anchorage Hotel, also supposedly have a spooky history. The ghost of Anchorage’s first police chief, Jack Sturgis, was killed a few steps from the hotel in 1921 with his own gun. It is still uncertain who shot him and why.

The Historic Anchorage Hotel was built in 1916 and is one of the only buildings in downtown Anchorage to survive the 1964 earthquake. Photo by Christina Swayney.

Kari Bailey works the front desk at the Historic Anchorage Hotel and says she sees activity on a regular basis that can’t be explained.

“We had a guest call and complain that a maid had knocked on her door at 7:32 a.m. and she said that was too early. I told her maids don’t come in until 8 a.m. and there was just no way she would be bothered by a maid that early,” Bailey said.

Bailey says the woman was very adamant it was a maid and told her what she saw when she went to the door of her hotel room.

“The guest said that she looked out her peephole and saw a woman in a blue dress with an apron. I said to her that the maids here do not wear dresses. She was silent on the phone for a minute,” Bailey said.

Kari Bailey, who works at The Historic Anchorage Hotel, pulls out the Ghost Log, where guests record spooky experiences at the hotel. Photo by Christina Swayney.

The hotel also has a Ghost Log at the front desk where guests can report paranormal experiences while at the hotel. The reports go back over a decade, Bailey says.

Check out this week’s Get Off The Couch for Halloween-themed events on campus and around town.