The hallways of the Weber State University Davis campus were haunted on Saturday, Oct. 29from 6-9 p.m. with the sounds of witch cackles, bubbling potions and haunted carnival music.
Students, community members and children experienced both tricks and treats at the third annual Nightmare on Weber Street, a family-oriented activity for students with and without children.
Sarah Lowe, a sophomore at WSU and director of nontraditional student activities for the Davis campus, planned the event for the past six months. She and assistant director Karen Gonzales wanted students and their families to be involved in school and have fun for Halloween.
“This activity is great because the kids get to see where Mom and Dad go to school and see how fun college is,” Lowe said. “It promotes furthering our education.”
The first floor of WSU’s Davis campus was filled with witches, superheroes, princesses and every type of costume imaginable, even an adult-sized Winnie the Pooh. Each room had a specific theme with music and an activity to go right along with it.
Screeching and hissing sounds echoed from the Creature Encounters Room, where children were able to hold spiders, snakes, scorpions and other creatures. Cary Drage, owner of Creature Encounters, has been working with exotic animals for more than 35 years.
“My interest started with a love of animals when I was young, and then I got involved in the pet industry while doing this on the side,” he said, with an albino Burmese python draped around his neck and a tarantula crawling around his arm.
While there were a number of mixed feelings about the room, 9-year-old Megan Tanner, dressed as a witch, said she was excited about holding the large yellow python.
“I really like to hold pets,” Tanner said. “The snake was heavy, and he felt rough.”
Another room featured various games and activities. When the children won a game, they chose a piece of candy for themselves and then had the chance to pick a prize to donate to another child in need. The committee focused on bringing an element of service into the event.
“I definitely think it brings service into kids’ lives. They can see that it is fun to give back to other people and to instill that passion within them,” Lowe said. “It also gives them the chance to share the feeling of winning something with someone else.”
Another room to choose from was a witch’s room, where people could put their hands into various bowls with ingredients that felt like eyeballs and entrails. A few other choices included a dancing room, a maze and storytelling put on by the local Clearfield Library.
Waldo the Wildcat also made a special appearance, along with Abby Cadabby from “Sesame Street.” Nachos, pizza and hot dogs were available for purchase at Waldo’s, the Davis campus bookstore’s new food shop.
Just as the activities were winding down, the costume and pumpkin contest winners were announced. The categories included scariest, most intricate, best-painted, best animal and funniest. The winners of the costume and pumpkin contests each won a $10 gift certificate to Walmart.
Everyone was allowed to enter the costume contest, and the winner was chosen by which costume received the loudest applause. First place went to a granny, and second place went to a lawn gnome.
Nine-year-old Jaedyn Thielfoldt said she was happy to have won first place as a granny in the costume contest.
“My mom wanted me to be a granny,” Thielfoldt said. “My glasses are the best part about my costume!”
The final event of the night took place from 8-9 p.m. in the NUAMES portables just west of the Davis campus building. A haunted house was added this year with four themed rooms, including a zombie room, a devil’s lair, a mental institution and a black-light clown room.
The basic walk-through for ages 13 and up was haunted by the Davis student council, NUAMES student government, and family and friends of the two groups. This was the first year of the Davis campus adding something scary to the event in hopes of appealing to the older participants.
More information on activities available at the WSU Davis campus is available at http://www.weber.edu/wsudavis.