Then comes the part they anticipated for weeks: the scares. The time and work spent setting up the house comes to life in a minute-long tour as visitors navigate their way through a dark maze, jumpscared several times along the way.
“Most people will say ‘Oh my God, it’s so cool,’” Munamala said. “Some won’t be scared and will just say, ‘Hi, I see you,’ which gets annoying sometimes, but for the most part it's really exciting. Sometimes it's hard to stand in the same costume and do the same thing, but seeing all the reactions is really fun.”
Despite their prior experience with making a haunted house, the set-up usually takes longer than anticipated. Although they spent about eight hours preparing this year, they were still much faster than previous years.
“We usually are barely finished by the time people start showing up on Halloween evening,” Datta said. “We are just finishing up so there is always a bit of a time crunch. This year I think we went a little bit quicker because we’ve done it so many times before.”
Left to right: Akshay Gopalkrishnan, Chetan Mokkapati, Vishnu Palaniappan, Pramodh Srihari, Andrew Fung, Sahas Munamala and Gaurav Datta. Photo provided by Vishnu Palaniappan.
As seniors, this was the group’s final year, and working their final haunted house was a time for them to reminisce on memories.
“Having it be my last year was definitely something,” Datta said. “When one of the last people went through, it hit us like ‘Wow, we’re never going to do that again,’ so I guess we were all more motivated to make this last one count.”
For Palaniappan, the only way to describe his emotions after their last haunted house is “bittersweet.” Although he is disappointed that he will never get to experience the fun again, he’s thankful to have added something special to their community's celebration of Halloween.
“There’s a lot of fun and a lot of good memories that I'll always remember,” Palaniappan said. “It's also nice, in that we brought the community together and a lot of people were able to enjoy their Halloween, and we all had a good time.”
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