No cost for Wilson Hall nightmares

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- If area residents are looking for a good scare in the days before Halloween, students at Northeastern State University invite them to walk through Wilson Hall if they dare.

The now-unoccupied residence hall is the site of "Flo's Worst Nightmare" during the 8th annual Wilson Haunted House and Carnival on Oct. 28-29. Visitors are welcome 8-11 p.m. both nights and admission is free.

"Wilson Hall is named for Florence Wilson, who served as principal of the Cherokee National Female Seminary in the 19th Century," said Leslie Byrd, NSU hall manager and an organizer of the event. "There are a lot of ghost stories about her on campus, so the theme seems appropriate."

Byrd said the haunted house includes about 20 theme rooms and a walk-through takes about 30 minutes. The alcohol-free carnival features family friendly games and prizes, snacks, tarot card readings and belly dancing.

"Because the haunted house has become so popular, it can take a little while to get inside," Byrd said. "The carnival provides fun entertainment while people are in line for the haunted house. We also plan to put up a screen to show really bad grade-B retro horror movies."

The Wilson Hall Haunted House and Carnival is also popular with NSU students and draws volunteers in large numbers each year.

"This is the third year I've been deeply involved with organizing this event," Byrd said. "I've noticed that the Wilson Haunted House often attracts students who aren't involved with any other activities. After volunteering here, they frequently become actively engaged on campus and in the community."

The students put tremendous effort and imagination into giving guests a fright, and Byrd said the haunted house is not for younger kids.

"Children can certainly enjoy the carnival, but we will not allow those under age 12 to walk through the haunted house because of the themes," she said. "There will be a disclaimer about the intensity of what is inside. Even NSU's Hawkreach Counseling Services will be available should someone become distressed."

Wilson Hall has been closed for nearly two years, but Byrd wished to assure patrons that the haunted house and its venue are safe.

"We asked and received special permission from the cabinet for this event," she said. "All areas of the haunted house are suitable for use. The basement and third floor are off limits and signs are up. We have guidelines for visitors."

Byrd thanked the cabinet, the student steering committee, volunteers and others who help offer the free event to the Tahlequah community.

"Some of this is paid for with resident student funds," she said. "But the NSU Residence Halls Association and local businesses also sponsor the haunted house. This year's sponsors include Walmart, Reasor's Foods and Lowe's Home Improvement. We also had a bake sale. It takes a ton of people to make this happen."

For more information about the Wilson Hall Haunted House and Carnival call University Housing at 918-444-4700, the Northeastern Student Government Association at 918-444-2526.

Published: 10/26/2012 12:47:21 PM

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