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Baumer Hall pulls off second annual Baumer Boo haunted house

| Monday, October 30, 2023

Baumer Hall welcomed more than 350 students for its annual Baumer Boo haunted house Friday night, raising around $1,800 for the South Bend Center for the Homeless.

Hall president Brian Lane and vice president Henry Maxwell decided to make the haunted house an annual event following Baumer Boo’s success during its first run in 2022.

They relied on former president Russell Henggeler and Vice President Mattia Bernocco to make this year’s version even scarier. In addition to the supplies from last year’s house, Baumer Hall had a $500 budget to help with improvements.

“Our former president and vice president, Russell Henggeler and Mattia Bernocco, were a huge help in scheming ways to improve the event and the route itself,” Lane, a sophomore, said. “Last year was a learning experience, but this year we looked to improve Baumer Boo by making it bigger and better.”

Current and former hall leaders designed the haunted house so that students walked through the spookily-decorated basement and 3B section of Baumer Hall, with countless frightening characters jumping out at them along the way.

“This year, we utilized the basement and section 3B, in addition to the back stairwell,” Maxwell, also a sophomore, said. “The basement was the most unique. The gym was turned into an insane asylum, and our large basement storage was an intricate scare maze.”

The route also included a creepy elevator ride from the basement to the third floor during which more Baumer Hall actors worked to give students a good scare.

“Last year the event was entirely in 3A, but the storage room scares and haunted elevator ride transformed the guest experience,” Lane said.

Many members of the hall came together to make Baumer Boo possible. From setting up to acting, more than 120 Baumer Buccaneers contributed to the frightening experience for the guests.

“Henry Maxwell and I took the reins on ordering decorations and coordinating setup,” Lane explained. “Setup generally takes 20 to 30 people, while the scaring itself usually takes 100.”

Actors used various strategies to scare any student who dared to enter Baumer Hall last Friday night, such as hiding in nonvisible and strange spots as well as acting in freaky ways around the guests.

Advertising Baumer Boo was a key comment of its success, Lane and Maxwell added.

“Last year attendance was in the hundreds,” Lane said. “This year that number surpassed 350. We generated more ads this year, and with the help of Fr. Pete [McCormick], we were able to create a lot of buzz leading up to Friday night.” McCormick is Baumer Hall’s priest-in-residence.

Setting up for the event was a four-hour process. Maxwell said several Buccaneers participated without hesitation.

“We gathered all participants at about 3 p.m. the day of and began setting up cobwebs, black nets, covering lights, setting up black lights, props, etc.,” he said.

Lane and Maxwell agreed that listening to the screams of the guests was the most exciting part of the event.

Jenna Abu-Lughod | The Observer
The gym of Baumer Hall was turned into an insane asylum for the second annual Baumer Boo on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023.

“The best part is definitely hearing the screams of our guests,” Lane said. “The whole point of a haunted house is to be scary, and hearing guests being genuinely terrified is confirmation that we did well.”

Maxwell and Lane hope to continue bringing the Halloween spirit to Baumer Hall and Notre Dame with next year’s Baumer Boo, which they anticipate will be even spookier.

“We raised three times the amount we did last year for the homeless and hope to continue making Baumer Boo a staple event in the ND community,” Lane said.

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