No one ever knew the basement of Harnwell College House could be so scary. Around 50 students from area schools found out on Friday afternoon just how spooky the high rises can be when they took part in the annual Civic House Halloween event. The students, involved in various programs sponsored by Civic House, arrived with their Penn buddies -- some are tutors, some are PENNPals -- at Civic House. After decorating a trick-or-treat bag, the costumed children, including some pirates, princesses and Powerpuff girls, followed a special route around Penn's campus collecting candy and visiting haunted houses. One stop was Harnwell, where a highly successful haunted house was staged. The basement of the dorm was transformed into a maze of scary scenes and creepy creatures complete with special effects. Harnwell residents, including many resident advisors and graduate associates, had worked on the event since September. Their hard work and ingenuity paid off when the students began to walk into the building. Soon, a steady flow of screams and laughter was heard throughout the darkened room. A table with two boxes -- one labeled "Brains" and the other labeled "Eyes" -- greeted the participants. A masked Penn student led the crowd through the maze, which also featured a female student posed as a butcher -- bloody knife and all. But the haunted house might have been too successful: Many of the young tutees refused to enter. Some had to be coaxed into participating by the promise that they could hold their tutor's hand and know about the scary sights in advance. Those brave enough to go through the haunted domain were shocked to touch peeled grapes posing as eyeballs and walk through wet sponges. Courtney Baker, a fifth-grade student from Drew Elementary, offered her thoughts on the haunted house: "It was really scary because it was very dark." However, at the end, many children felt that it was worth it because they were able to fill their handmade bags with candy. When asked if she had received enough candy, Courtney replied, "I got my fair share." Afterward, the students traveled to other college houses and fraternities. This year, the program allied itself with the Panhellenic Council and the InterFraternity Council, in addition to the Newman Center and the college house system. Many costumed children were seen walking up and down the steps of various fraternity and sorority houses under the watchful eye of their Penn partners. Two sorority sisters, Jana Carrey and Mary Connaghan, gave out candy from the steps of their Chi Omega home. "It is so heartwarming to see all the frats and sororities getting into it. We never get to see little kids around campus, and they are so cute," Carrey said. "It is so great to see little kids and people from Penn working together." College senior Brendon Taga, one of the coordinators of the event, called it "a huge collaborative effort." Taga was also an active participant, taking his own PENNPal for two years, Mike, along the route. Watching Mike run up the steps of yet another house, Taga said,"It's nice to see a lot of organizations working together for a common goal."Comments powered by Disqus
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