SAE, Alpha Phi partner for philanthropic frights

Christina Salter

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The members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity have chosen to live in a haunted house this Halloween weekend, complete with murdered dinner guests, severed body parts and a creepy bunny rabbit.

Guests to their house, called Grimm Manor, are greeted by a friendly tour guide eager to get them through the house alive. He quickly explains the rules: Stay close, don’t fall behind, and if he should happen to disappear, just forge ahead without him.

And then the fun begins. Guests pass through room after room in the house, learning that the entire Grimm family was murdered during a dinner party. Surprises await around each corner, as it becomes apparent that not everyone is quite dead.

“But I’m a vegan!” screamed one girl going through the house, as the tour reached the kitchen full of “fresh meats,” plenty of gore and a bloody chef.

For the second year in a row, SAE and Alpha Phi are co-hosting Project Scare, a haunted house open to the Northwestern and Evanston communities. The event is held in the SAE fraternity house, 2325 Sheridan Road.

Proceeds will again go to SAE’s philanthropy, the after-school sports program for Evanston/Skokie School District 65. Last year, Project Scare raised more than $3,000, said co-chair Elly Lachman, and organizers hope to raise $10,000 this year.

This year’s house is “certainly scarier and more complex,” Lachman said. She suggested parents use discretion with children younger than 10 years old.

“Come prepared and bring someone to hold on to,” she said.

Communication sophomore Cody Hiller said the level of terror had definitely increased this year.

“At first I thought, ‘I have a handle on this,’ but towards the end I didn’t at all,” he said.

Crowds were not big on Wednesday’s opening night, though a police officer was present for crowd control. Organizers said they expect long lines on Thursday and especially Friday night, when they said many Evanston residents and high school students will come.

“If we can get it out to Evanston, I think that’s something most frats don’t do,” said Project Scare co-chair Dayne Bartscht. “Hopefully this will be something that can promote better relations between fraternities and the community.”

After passing through the house, Weinberg junior Julia Brook said she was impressed but wouldn’t recommend the experience for children.

“I can’t imagine having to live there during the day while this is going on,” Brook said.