He-e-e-re’s Haunted WIU!

Halloween is quickly approaching, and WIU starts the holiday early with Haunted Higgins and Safe Trick or Treating! Haunted Higgins begins today at 8 p.m., returning for its fifth year at WIU.

University Housing and Dining Services Complex Director Joe Nixon explained that this year, more events are available for people coming to Haunted Higgins. “This year, some of the hall government executive board [members] decided to expand,” he began. “Now there are carnival-type activities…face painting, popcorn, palm readings, and fortune tellings…it’s something for people to do while they’re waiting in line,” Nixon said.

I was surprised to learn that WIU alumni help students organize and host Haunted Higgins. “Every year we have students who are very eager to help, and people return [to help],” Nixon said. During the planning stages, volunteers separate into groups for each area of the haunted residence hall. Nixon explained the groups map out what themes they want to design and then see what items they can use in order to make the “scaring” work. It takes a lot of work and workers to make Haunted Higgins a frightful event. “We’ve been taking volunteers, scarers…then there’s tour guides who will be in costume; then we need table workers to take people in and take donations…sell t-shirts,” Nixon said.

Last year, Haunted Higgins raised $3,300, From there, Nixon said they took the money and donated it towards Stuff the Bus. “We raised 1.3 tons of food. When we went shopping, Sodexo helped us out and filled three pick-up trucks to the brim,” said Nixon.

When Haunted Higgins isn’t going on, the 19th and 20th floors of Higgins Hall maintain their eeriness as no one lives on those floors. Nixon said, at one time, the floors obviously produced a lot of activity. “You can tell [the 19th floor] was a buffet area. The view is still awesome; it’s the best view on campus,” Nixon explained. “The 20th floor is pretty creepy. There’s four walk-in coolers…in one of the wings there’s old furniture. You can tell there used to be a lot of people [living there]… it’s all pretty eerie,” he said.

Haunted Higgins tours will begin tonight in Higgins Hall lobby from 8 p.m. until midnight. Tours will also be available Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. until midnight. Admission costs $5 or $3 when you donate a non-perishable food item.

Then, on Monday, October 29, the annual Safe Trick or Treating Event will allow children the opportunity to get a head start on Trick or Treating. Since the early 1990s, Safe Trick or Treating has been available for children to stuff their bags full of candy early. Last year, the event brought a few hundred participants.

Leann Meckler, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications in the University Housing/Dining Services-Administrative Department, explained Haunted Higgins provides a less scary “Family Friendly” night on October 29 which offers tours, candy, and games for those who want to experience the sights and sounds of Haunted Higgins that aren’t too scary.

The community is also invited to visit Tanner, Lincoln, Washington, Grote, Corbin, and Olsen Halls. Meckler said Safe Trick or treating is a great event. “We strongly encourage the community to get involved. It’s a lot of fun!” she said. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on October 29, Haunted Higgins organizers will accept $3 admission fees as well as any canned goods.

WIU looks forward to a spooky good time in the next few days! For more information on Safe Trick or Treating, visit http://www.wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=10177.

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