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Haunted Dalloway’s makes use of campus ghost stories

Nicole Zook | Thursday, October 27, 2005

Screams filled the air in Dalloway’s Clubhouse Wednesday night as students walked through a haunted house based on old Saint Mary’s ghost stories.

Haunted Dalloway’s is an annual tradition put on by the members of Dalloway’s Board, a group of students that plans and oversees events at the College’s on-campus coffeehouse throughout the year. Board president Elizabeth Voss said the Halloween event is the group’s largest of the year.

“We started it in 2004 and pretty much threw it together in two weeks with no budget,” she said. “We were surprised with how successful it turned out [to be]. From there, we have spent more time and money making it the best we can.”

Voss and the Board have turned what was once a simple event into a Halloween extravaganza during the past three years. Voss said they wanted this year’s two-night fest to be more special than ever and have put a monumental amount of work into the planning and orchestration, turning the basement of Dalloway’s into a horror house.

“We’ve been working on it for about a month and a half,” she said. “We came up with a theme this year, basing the haunted house off of the book “Quiet Hours.” We really wanted to bring in the Saint Mary’s ghost stories, since our campus has so many.”

“Quite Hours,” a 2002 book by Saint Mary’s graduates Shelly Houser, Veronica Kessenich and Kristen Matha, contains gruesome and creepy stories from the College’s colorful history. Voss said she felt the stories – which legend purports to be true – served as a perfect background for a scary event at the College.

“In the past we had wanted to bring in an SMC theme, but it always seemed so hard,” Voss said. “After finishing it, I agree it was quite an undertaking, but I think we represent the stories well.

“It was definitely more fun to play on the old ghost stories than in the past, where we had movie themes or something else.”

Voss and the Dalloway’s Board members acted out the disturbing tales as students traveled through the haunted house, and one volunteer read house-goers the stories as they waited upstairs, drinking hot cider.

Students also participated in the Student Activities Board pumpkin-carving contest, held upstairs at Dalloway’s in conjunction with the haunted house, and a new pasta bar was revealed, as well, as part of the events.

Attendees, like senior Kelly O’Connor, said the event was successful – and scary.

“It was better than I expected,” O’Connor said. “I was surprised how they were able to transform the basement of Dalloway’s.”

Voss said students who were unable to attend Wednesday night have one more chance to live the ghostly past of Saint Mary’s, tonight from 8 p.m. to 10.