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    • The cast of the 2021 Haunted House.

    • Hopkins enjoys a night on haunted hill in 2021.

    • Cartoon by Hailey Willey ’25

HDA’s Haunted House: An Evening of Spookiness

Shriya Sakalkale ’24 and Sarvin Bhagwagar ’24
The Hopkins Drama Association (HDA) is working harder than ever to revamp the annual Haunted House.
COVID restrictions significantly impacted last year’s Haunted House. Asher Joseph ’25, an active member of HDA, spoke to the challenge this posed at the time: “Last year, HDA had to structure the Haunted House to accommodate Hopkins’ COVID safety policies, which included limiting the number of people per group and creating adequate space between the visitors and the actors.” However, considering Hopkins’ updated COVID policies, Joseph believes, “we can expect to lift the mandate and allow for larger tour groups this year.”

The night was also overshadowed by offensive comments made by guests to the members of the cast. Michael Calderone, Drama Teacher, said, “Last year, there were a few incidents during the Haunted House that left us with a bad feeling. Some of the ‘guests’ were disrespectful to the ‘cast,’ and that’s putting it lightly.”Calderone expressed that some cast members wondered whether “[they] even wanted to do the Haunted House again.” Calderone stressed how important it is that visitors “be respectful and kind to members of the cast” and that “it is not okay to lash out at the performers as if they were animated decora-
tions one can see at Spirit Halloween.” Julia Murphy ‘23 talked about changes being made this year: “This year there will be a few rules for the people who chose to walk through reminding everyone to be respectful members of the Hopkins community. There will also be a few faculty members stationed throughout so the
guests remember that this is a community event where harassment is not acceptable. Joseph also talked about the “bumps and rough patches” of last year’s Haunted House, but remains hopeful that “the Hopkins community will be respectful and make responsible decisions so that this year’s Haunted House can be a fun and enjoyable experience for all.”

This year’s Haunted House will be managed a bit differently, with HDA taking the reins from the Student Council. Calderone spoke about how the Haunted House was managed in years past: “In 2022, StuCo covered ‘front of house duties’ like ticket sales and gathering groups outside, while HDA did everything inside: design, decoration, actors, theme, etc.” But splitting the duties brought about confusion, and as a result “communications didn’t always go as expected, causing log-jams outside of the Haunted House,” said Calderone. Because of this, HDA decided to take on the responsibilities of the Haunted House this year, which as Calderone said would also allow StuCo, “to focus on the Fall Festival and Pumpkin Bowl.”

This year also marks the last time the Haunted House will take place in Lovell. Calderone spoke about
how “auspicious [it is] that this will be the last haunted house in Lovell as it currently is. We may have to haunt a different building next year!” Abigail Murphy spoke to the history of Lovell and HDA: “even though it’s the last summer show, last fall show, last classes in Lovell, last haunted house, we’re enjoying fulfilling our traditions!”

While losing Lovell is bittersweet, HDA is excited for one more Haunted House there and gave hints for what to expect. Joseph said, “[You] can probably expect the classic vampires, zombies, etc. Last year’s
theme was urban legends, so... anything except that!” Calderone even hinted at a possible crossover
with the fall play. He said, “We really haven’t settled on a theme for the HH this year. We’re in the
middle of rehearsals for CLUE which runs Oct. 20th-22 (shameless plug). CLUE is a murder mystery in a big mansion, almost like a haunted house.” HDA member Beyla Ridky ’24 expressed how excited she is for members of the Hopkins community to visit the upcoming Haunted House: “ [You can expect] a fun and scary haunted house this year!”
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Melody Cui

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Evie Doolittle
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