Fancy a spooky Halloween, but not a party animal? Looking to go to a haunted house, but do not want to go off campus? The Spingold Theater could be your best place to go during Halloweekend! Last Saturday, Brandeis’ own Theater Arts department held their annual Spooky Spingold event, by which the UDRs turned the entire Spingold Theater into a haunted house for the brave souls to test out if they could make it through the loop. Thanks to the three UDRs, Liam Delaney ’26, Laya Fridman ’25 and Payton Gunner ’24, Spooky Spingold this year was a big success. The Hoot conducted an interview with Fridman to learn more about what the UDRs did to make Brandeis’ own haunted house happen.
Spooky Spingold is an annual event of the Theater Arts department, and also the biggest event of the fall semester. According to Fridman, the event was initiated three years ago, and they have planned to make it a tradition of the department that keeps happening every year.
The UDRs started planning the event about a month and a half ago before Halloween, in which they distributed flyers with QR code across campus and publicized it on social media. By doing this, they recruited scarers and makeup artists for the event. They also collaborated with the Undergraduate Theater Collective, who provided costumes for them. Fridman told The Hoot that there was also a person from UTC who could do blood effects for the scarers.
Fridman told The Hoot a part she found surprising about the event: “We don’t get like a ton of actual theater kids or theater majors. I think people just like Halloween and want to try and scare people … I think people just like haunted houses. It is kind of a unique opportunity. ” They attracted around 20 sign ups for the scarers, and three people came to do makeup who were theater majors.
As Fridman was also involved in Spooky Spingold last year, she elaborated on the difference between the two years. Last year’s Spooky Spingold happened during family weekend, so a lot more people—including families—wanted to come. “There was one time this family came, and the mom and dad were too scared to go in, but the kids really wanted to, so I walked them through which is pretty funny.” She chuckled.
“Last year we had around 200 people,” Fridman said, “and this year I think we had 70 to 80 people in the ballpark …We didn’t keep track, but from letting people in I would say around 80, which is still a great number.”
Another big difference this year was although they got roughly the same amount of sign-ups, this year people showed a bigger interest to scare. Fridman said a lot of people didn’t show up last year so she ended up having to scramble at the last minute to get more scarers to come, but this year everybody who signed up came, and if they didn’t come, they emailed her to let her know, which was great and very appreciative.
Fridman’s favorite part this year was to see everybody’s reaction. “It’s funny,” she said, “Some people would come out panting but happy … one person came out and they were jumping for joy, saying like, ‘oh it was so fun!’ which made me so happy. And some people were like, Oh, that was so scary! One person said that it was the best one yet, so we had really good reactions from people who came to see it, which is great.”
The props the Theater Arts department used came from their huge prop stock, including items as small as spider web and hand props, and also as big as shopping carts and a huge chandelier which are stored in trailers outside of the theater building. The UDRs tried recycling props as much as they could, but they also wished they could have more funding from the department to do cooler things.
In terms of next year, Fridman hoped there could be more participation by trying to get the word out more. Her biggest challenge would be trying to get more people to show up. Even though she was happy with the outcome this year, she would still apply for more funding and start promoting the event a bit earlier.
The next big event—and also the last show this semester—for the Theater Arts department will be Shakespere’s Twelfth Night coming out during November 17 to 19, directed by Robert Walsh. The UDRs encouraged people who are interested in seeing to reserve their tickets in advance here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/twelfth-night-tickets-743773254827.