UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Mary Foust Haunted House, a spooky Spartan history

A mysterious invitation is floating around campus. “You’re invited to dinner,” it begins.

“It’s a dinner party that goes wrong,” said sophomore Carrie Jester, artistic director of this year’s haunted house in Mary Foust Residence Hall.

The one-night production is created by the Ashby Residential College students and goes up this Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Mary Foust Haunted House first took place in 1995, at the initiative of two students, Andrea Davis and Ryan Harrison. They pitched the idea to “Fousters” as an event to raise money for a local nonprofit, and it was a go.

Now, the Mary Foust Haunted House is a major production created by 60 or more students, and it has always supported service organizations with 100 percent of the proceeds generated.

This year’s proceeds will go to the Arc of Greensboro and the Spartan Open Pantry.

Each year, the house has a theme that drives the creative process.

Associate Program Chair of Ashby College Christine Flood, who coordinated the student leadership for the haunted house 1999 to 2005, fondly remembers the theme of “Classical Horror” with the second floor made up to be the River Styx, with visitors pulled down the river on a rolling platform. She also remembers “Haunted Forest,” for which students decorated with ivy, and one that was based on the classic horror film “Nosferatu.”

She likes seeing students growing as a team as they develop their artistic skills during the fall semester.

“They get to see something from the idea stage to the completion stage, planning each step of the way and then seeing the final product,” she said.

But what does she think of the final product?

“I usually can’t go through it,” she confessed. “I walk through the haunted house before they turn the lights off, and I see all the decorations, but once they turn the lights off, I won’t go through it. When they’re done decorating, I get confused about where I am – and I lived in this building!”

Residential College Coordinator Will Dodson, who has supervised the haunted house student leadership for the past 7 years, says the process is not only a lot of fun, but it gives the students hands-on artistic experience.

“They’re writing, directing, acting, doing make-up effects, shooting and editing video, trouble-shooting, and most of all they’re learning to work together. Many just met for the first time in August, and now they’re mounting a large-scale interactive production together. And with the level of detail that goes into the work, I think it rivals professional productions.”

This year’s “House of Torment,” is Saturday, Oct. 28, from 7 p.m. to midnight, in Mary Foust Residence Hall, 301 College Avenue. Admission is $5 per person, or $3 with a canned food item. Before entering, visitors can also enjoy concessions, games and old movies.

By Susan Kirby-Smith
Photograph of the 2016 cast by Jiyoung Park