The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Students anticipate trick-or-treating, ghosts

Meg Mirshak | Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Students seeking thrills and an encounter with a Notre Dame ghost may get their wish today as the Student Activities Office (SAO) leads a tour to the haunted spots on campus, one activity available to trick-or-treaters this Halloween.

The SAO’s “Haunted Campus Tour” will leave from the Dooley Room in the LaFortune Student Center at 10 p.m. and make stops at the Main Building, which University founder Father Edward Sorin is rumored to haunt, and Washington Hall, where Notre Dame’s first All-American football player, George Gipp, is said to visit.

Gipp contracted fatal pneumonia at Washington Hall in November of 1920, according to Notre Dame legend. The story goes that he spent the night on the building’s front steps after he was locked out of his dorm after curfew. The illness led to his death on Dec. 14, 1920.

Film, Television and Theatre professor Mark Pilkinton, who is writing a book about Washington Hall, said the ghost sightings began in 1920 and 1921. He said they weren’t attributed to Gipp’s spirit, however, for another five years.

Not far from Washington Hall, Keenan Hall will welcome students to its own haunted house in its basement as part of the dorm’s Great Pumpkin event. Junior James Toner, Keenan’s vice president, is the organizer of the community outreach event for children from the Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County and Teamwork for Tomorrow, a student mentorship program.

“We are trying to give South Bend kids a chance to have a fun trick-or-treating experience, but also give college students and Keenan residents a chance to work with South Bend kids,” Toner said.

About 50 children from the second to seventh grades will be led through an elaborate haunted house, Toner said. The Keenan resident assistants will supervise a different section of the basement, including the zombie and graveyard areas.

Eighteen other residence halls will also participate in Keenan’s Great Pumpkin event. Each dorm will host trick-or-treating and set up stations where the children will be able to tell ghost stories and bob for apples, among other activities.

And this year, student government will also join the festivities, hosting a Halloween picnic on North Quad. Picnic attendees will then be guided through Keenan’s haunted house.

“Great Pumpkin is bigger than it has been in the past because student government is involved,” said junior Mark Weber, Keenan’s president.

But perhaps the most anticipated activity will be the parade of costumes across campus. Freshman Emily Reineccius said she and three friends plan to celebrate Halloween dressed as the “Fanta Girls,” the fictitious pop group from the popular soft drink commercial.

Students in the Notre Dame Marching Band, including sophomore Alyssa Novak, will put on a costume to attend the band’s scheduled practice. Novak said she will dress as a pirate, like those in the popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie series.