By JOHN LOUIE PANLAQUI
It’s that time of the year when scares are everywhere, and the night is filled with opportunities of fright.
Yes, it’s Halloween, and there’s nothing more Halloween-like than haunted houses. Manteca High’s Thespian Club is ready to open the doors to its Haunted House tonight (Saturday, Oct. 29). Thespian Club President Jaeden Bland and Vice President Lourdes Garay have been tasked with running this year’s event, which will be staged in the Mulvihill Theatre from 6 to 8 p.m. The cost is $4 for first entry and $2 for each additional entry.
Bland and Garay said the haunted house will be based on horror movies.
“Each room that you’re going into is a different horror movie,” Bland said. “So hopefully it will freak you out like a ton."
Last year’s event was a resounding success, Thespian Club advisor Dawn Coyan said, and Garay knows why.
“I think what made last year’s haunted house so successful was that it was the first haunted house in two years,” she said, alluding to the pandemic and COVID restrictions. “Everyone was just really looking for that fun activity, some stress relief and just to be like scared and have fun.”
Added Coyan, who tries to remain as hands-off as possible with the hopes of preserving the “student-run” event: “When doing the event, the club members need to focus on creating a scary but fun experience for the people coming through. We try to maintain three levels of scariness, so that a child coming through doesn’t necessarily get the same scare as a high school student who wants you to scare them big time.”
You can’t have a haunted house and not have some funny reactions to the scares. Last year was no exception. Garay enjoyed spooking a group of freshmen, who she sent racing toward the exit.
“I was getting ready to scare somebody and a group,” she recalled. “I think they were freshmen came by, and I stood up and I screamed in their face, and they all ran out the exit door that was right behind me.”
On the eve of opening, the Thespian Club has an optimistic view about the event.
“Well, I think it will be even more successful,” Bland said. “Not a ton of people knew about the haunted house last year and we are really trying to ramp up how many people will see it and trying to really promote things.”