Students Spooked by 'Nightmare on Plympton Street'

Haunted Houses
A haunted house is set up in the basement of Quincy House for Harvard students to enjoy. According to Quincy HoCo, it is the only haunted house in the area.
When students enter the basement of Quincy House this Halloween, they’ll find something even scarier than juniors cramming for midterms: Since Sunday, the space has been transformed into “A Nightmare on Plympton Street.”

Four roommates in Quincy—Jonas M. Aranda '18, Louis J. Colson '18, Garrett Wen '18, and Max Y. Hsiao '18—organized an event that transformed the basement into a haunted house.

Sheets dyed with fake blood hang from fishing wire divide the room, cobweb-covered exam practice books sit on a desk, and spooky sound effects play in the background.

“It's a dorm room-theme haunted house, so you get to go visit a living room, a bedroom, a study hall room; there are a lot of Harvard jokes in the room as well—part of it is like the MCATs are coming,” Wen said, referring to notoriously difficult medical school entrance exam.

Aranda said that he and his roommates developed the idea because they enjoyed scaring Wen.

“We thought it be a cool idea to scare other people in the basement; so far it’s gone really well,” Aranda said.

Quincy Faculty Deans Deborah J. Gehrke and Lee Gehrke hosted a “spooky open house” Sunday night in their residence when the basement haunted house was only open to Quincy residents. According to Colson, the Gehrkes helped them market the haunted house by sending people down to the basement from the event.

“They really thought about it. They’re hanging sheets, they put blood in the right places, they put music in the right places, they come out and scare you in the right places,” Deborah Gehrke said. “It is scary.”

Students who passed through the haunted house seemed to agree: Jillian A. Scyocurka '18 described the experience as “nail-biting, teeth-chattering," and Charlotte H. Davis '19 added that it was “earth-breaking, never-done-that-before, one-of-a-kind.”

Wen said that he had previous experience working with haunted houses.

“In high school, I used to volunteer in a haunted house in my town, so I had a lot of experience with designing rooms, and hidden compartments, and ways to scare people,” he said. “We were able to turn a very small room into a complex maze.”

But Aranda said the group had to readjust after the first night.

“We had to make some renovations because someone pulled everything down. They were too scared,” he said.

Wen said that he hopes the haunted house becomes an annual tradition.

“We really want as many people to stop by—just have a good five minutes of fun,” Colson said. “We just want as many people to come down and enjoy themselves.”

The haunted house will close at 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

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