Decapitated doll heads: Spooktober senior haunted house


Photo credit: Chloe Fidler

Seniors gather in the black box during a break amidst the haunted house run through. “This has been such an integral experience for my senior year,” senior Chidimma Nwafor said.

By Chloe Fidler, Voices Editor

Smears, drips and splatters of blood across the walls of the Blackbox Theatre. White masks with blush and a fake chainsaw. Every Halloween, the seniors hold a haunted house for the students and faculty at Archer. This year’s theme for the annual haunted house was dollhouse, hosted by the senior class.

Early on in October, senior class representatives sent out a survey to the senior class to join the official haunted house committee. Their task: create a scary, visceral haunted house while abiding by COVID-19 protocols.

“It took a lot of time to figure out the logistics of the haunted house,” committee member Noa Wallock said. “We couldn’t settle on a theme for a long time, and we needed one that allowed the seniors to be scary, while not touching people at all.”

In 2019, Getty fires occurred during Halloween and in 2020, Archer was online, making this haunted house the first one in two years.

The haunted house usually takes place in the art hallway through the black box. But, this year, seniors could only use the black box and the area around it, leading to a stairwell. In groups ranging from six to 11 people, each grade level had a designated time to enter the house on Oct. 28, when the Archer celebrated Halloween this year.

Without touching people, a haunted house is a hard feat to accomplish, Wallock said. However, there were some instances of reactionary contact.

“I think the haunted house was so scary and so great that we had some strong reactions from guests that went through the house,” Dean of Student Life, Equity and Inclusion Samantha Hazell-O’Brien said. “It just helps us for next year to really make sure that we prime the Halloween guests so they know expectations and whether or not the haunted house is from them. We want everyone to have fun and keep everyone safe.”

Within the haunted house, there were assigned roles: tour guides, dolls, planted visitors, humans, backstage/crew members and special roles like a doctor gone mad. Tour guides took each group of students and faculty through the haunted house. Dolls, dressed in overalls and blood, followed, screamed and scared people in tours. Senior implants along with the tour dressed in regular costumes and then got tackled by a doll when the tour was brought to a halt. Backstage and crew members made sure everything ran smoothly. Finally, the mad doctor would chase after people in the latter half of the tour.

“It was actually pretty scary,” eighth grader Sasha Poole said. “The doll masks were really well done and the black box felt big because of all the twists and turns.”

The black box was separated by black tarps, hanging from the ceiling. There were multiple stops throughout the tour that pertained to the doll theme: an introductory video that the tour watched about dolls that purposely malfunctioned, a doll museum and a doll conveyer belt.

“It was a really cool haunted house,” junior Sophie Altemus said. “It has been a long time since the last one, and I now remember how nice it is to have a tradition like that during Halloween.”