Behind the Screams


Alexa Andris

The haunted house heavily relies on paintings. In order to fit this years theme, MV art students “CarnEVIL,” designs ranged anywhere from clowns, to bloody hand prints, haunted carousels, and so much more.

Alexa Andris, Staff Writer

The Monte Vista Haunted House dropped jaws across campus yet again. The three-day long event, hosted mainly by Monte Vista’s Drama department, took place during October 25-27 from 5-9 p.m, and brought this years theme, “CarnEVIL,” to life. The spooky twist on the typical haunted carnival featured scares such as clowns, spooky carousel rides, evil ball-pit rooms, and several terrifying special effects.

    This is the fourth year the event has taken place at Monte Vista. It involved efforts particularly in part from the drama, play production, stagecraft, visual arts, and leadership students to create the scary masterpiece, but the majority of the planning took place in the spring of the prior school year.

    However, it wasn’t always like that. The first year of the Haunted House, drama teacher Chris Connor and one of his students, Casey Rickey were the ones to come up with the idea.

    “The first two years, it was mostly only Casey and his dad who did the majority of the building, and in the last two years it’s gone to more of how I like it, where it’s more student-driven,” Connor said.

    This year was managed by juniors Katie Carson and Cody “Bo” Peterson, both of which put in extensive hours to get the Haunted House ready for opening night.

    “They [the managers] started meeting with the people who planned it the year before to start understanding the whole process, because I really push the students to run most of it themselves,” Connor said.

    The process begins about six weeks prior to the actual event, by clearing out the drama room. All furniture is taken out and replaced by wood walls which will be covered in paints according to the theme– a majority of the detail work being done by Monte Vista’s art department.

    “Helping set up was a lot of fun,” Art 2 student and junior Vivian Burgos said. “It was a lot of work– my friends and I maybe worked on painting the walls for around twelve hours– but it was still really fun and I’d like to come back next year and help out again.”

    Connor believes that students from all areas of Monte Vista taking part in the setup is a fundamental part in why the Haunted House is so important to the community on campus.

    “I like having other people come in, and other groups from other areas on campus, and even a lot of people who would start coming every day and working on setting up,” Connor said. “A lot of the consistent faces were kids who weren’t even in any of the classes. That to me, is ultimately what I wanted.”

    Props have to be brought in by stage craft as well. Features such as the ball pit, fortune teller booth, and corn crops are some of the scariest attractions at this years haunted house.

    “Every year there are always some areas that are really good, and others we don’t focus on as much. It’s always different; our decorations this year consisted mostly of paint, where in other years it was more focused on props, which I always like. It takes an artistic eye to find a piece of garbage on the side road and turn it into something usable,” Connor said.

    One area Connor believes they did very well in this year was the makeup department, lead by sophomore Natalie Bennett.

    “I’m a special effects makeup artist, so doing the makeup is probably my favorite part, but also being able to be a part of something we spent months building is pretty fun,” Bennett said.

    Much like Connor, she thinks that teamwork as well as preparation is the key to putting on a successful Haunted House.

    “All areas of the Haunted House were planned in advance in compared to last year,” Bennett said. “Being in charge of hair and makeup– I had a sheet of characters broken down into what they should look like, so when the actors came in the day of the Haunted House, they knew exactly what they were supposed to look like, and all the makeup artists knew exactly what to do for that.

    During the nights that the Haunted House went on, the air felt electric. Students, staff, and anyone in the Alamo area bustled through the drama room in groups of excitement and fear alike. After such a major event, one would suspect that the cleanup would be a long, grueling process. Miraculously, the drama department managed to do it in a day.

    “It takes one day,” Connor said. “The first year we bought a massive, forty foot storage container along with all of the wood for the maze walls– which was over two thousand dollars– that we are still using now. It’s a lot of work, in terms of the timing of it. But I see the greater good of what it can be for the school, and in building a community. I think it’s one of the only projects, besides homecoming, that anyone in the school can come in and help out. And that to me is always what would be my biggest area of improvement.”