Haunted happenings in Rolla


Helen Weiss

When living in a college town, there aren’t a lot of events for high schoolers to attend, but on Halloween, everything changes. You can watch movies with your friends, go trick or treating, go to a pumpkin patch, or find a close haunted house. In Rolla, there are two main haunted houses: the Haunted High, hosted by Leadership for $10, and the Haunted Mine, hosted by Missouri University of Science and Technology for $15.

Seniors Gage Klossner and Troy Benson are in charge of the Haunted High this year. They are ready for the students, with this year having the longest route yet.

“You can’t do exactly the same scares as always, so of course that’s gonna be different, but we’re not going to share any of those. We don’t want to give up the suspense, you know?” said Klossner.

One thing that has to go into the thought process of making a haunted house is what makes people scared. Klossner’s answer is looking for that “adrenaline rush”.

“It seems like a lot of people nowadays are doing different things for the adrenaline rush. And like a lot of people want [the scare] that makes their heart beat super hard. The ‘What’s gonna come next?’” said Klossner.

With having the longest route yet, many volunteers will be needed. There are about 60 helpers, including supervisors.

“We were kinda surprised at first, but we were like, no that seems about right,” said Klossner. “We didn’t really think about the band kids going through. We had things planned out for band kids to scare people by using their instruments and whatnot, but they have a competition on that day so we’re not able to do that.”

Another issue with getting volunteers is wanting to experience the scares.

“We’ve had people tell us that they want to work it, but they also want to go through and experience it for themselves. That’s the only problem we’ve come across,” said Benson.

The funds from the Haunted High aren’t just going to Leadership.

“We want to bring a lot of income for not only leadership,” said Klossner. “We’re also gonna donate some to a charity, which we haven’t fully decided yet, but we are planning on doing that. And we just figured that we want to make it as best as possible because we’re kind of overachievers.”

With COVID-19 still in mind, as a precaution, masks will be recommended at the Haunted High.

Klossner and Benson are both very excited about the upcoming event.

“This isn’t just for high school students. Anybody in the state or the country can come and walk through the high school if they want to,” said Klossner.

Another Halloween event coming up in the near future is Missouri Science and Technology’s Haunted Mine. The event started in 1987 as a way to raise money for the S&T mining teams to go to competitions and conferences. However, the money from the Haunted Mine doesn’t just go to the university, they also donate canned goods to the Russell House in Rolla.

“With the can drive, you can get up to $3 off with three canned goods,” said Casey. “If you bring one can, I’m gonna give you $1 off your ticket and if you bring three I’m going to give you three. It’s up to three per person. And what that does is all those canned goods go to the Russell House here in Rolla, which is a women and children’s shelter. We’re only giving you a $3 discount, but if you brought more cans because of the fundraising absolutely we’ll accept them.”

Casey also helps put on the Haunted Mine. However, it isn’t put on by the teachers or advisors, it is mostly run by the students.

“Traditionally every year, the students themselves decide what’s going to be in each specific section of the mine,” said Casey. “The student team in charge of it lays [a plan] out. All of our student groups in the department pick rooms, and come up with designs for what’s in them. I don’t know that any 200 mines have ever been the same. It’s always a little bit different because, as you know, older students leave and younger students come in. There’s a different twist or a different perspective.”

Another important factor that has to be put in when preparing and planning the Haunted Mine is acquiring different costumes and makeup.

“So we have a stash of costumes that we use year to year from others. A lot of the students buy their own, some of them do their own makeup, but there were some local Rolla makeup artists that did all of our folks’ makeup, and they did a really good job,” said Casey.

Precautions also have to be made when planning the Haunted Mine. One key precaution the students have to remember is the safety of their guests. The main hazard of the Haunted Mine is being in a mine, so the students have to be cautious about that.

“[The guests] will have to wear helmets. Once they purchase a ticket, they step over to the helmet booth. They have to have a helmet the whole time they’re there, until they turn it in when they walk out of the mine and go to their cars. We sanitize after they take them off,” said Casey.

The mask mandate for the Haunted Mine is the same as on the university’s campus.

“Inside the mine, masks are recommended. Only because we have our folks in there and then the patrons walking through there. We already don’t send them in in large groups because there’s not enough room, so the social distancing aspect is kind of taken care of in the mine. Outside the mine, people have to social distance themselves, because of campus rules. We will have hand sanitizer present and face coverings available. We will still have some there for those that don’t have one. The only place they have to wear it is in the mine. As long as you’re social distancing, you don’t have to have a mask on, but they’ll need one in the Haunted Mine,” said Casey.

“[The Haunted Mine] is on October 29, October 30, and Halloween day. It is $15 with no discount. And then if you are undertaking an S&T student, or you’re military, you already get a $2 discount so that would bring it, bring your ticket down $13,” said Casey.