Soggy haunts await guests at annual New Tech fall festival


New Tech High @ Coppell senior Cosette Chiv acts in one of the rooms of the annual New Tech High Haunted House. Haunted houses have been commercialized since 1915, and the New Tech High Haunted House was first hosted In 2007. Photo courtesy of Brooke Stokes.

Joanne Kim, Staff Writer

It is 6:50 p.m., and the weather outside is cold and gloomy. However, this does nothing to deter the already growing line of people who are waiting 10 minutes before opening time to get into New Tech High @ Coppell’s Haunted House. 

The haunted house is an event hosted by New Tech every year, and it is held alongside the school’s annual fall festival. At this year’s festival, there were multiple activities such as a cake walk, face painting and sack races, and there was a wide variety of food booths as well. People of all ages attended, even those as young as 3 years old.

“The turnout for this event is amazing,” New Tech High assistant principal Raheela Shaikh said. “Usually we have quite a lot of people for the fall festival, and the festivals just get bigger and better every year.”

Even with the sudden rain, the leadership teams at NTH didn’t panic and were able to proceed with festival set-up smoothly.

“The good thing about the [Networking Team Captain (NTC) and the Learner Leadership Council (LLC)]—our school’s leadership teams—is that they always have a Plan B,” Shaikh said. “So immediately when they realized that the weather was not going to be conducive with having the fall festival outside, they went into Plan B and moved booths into the gym and in the cafeteria. It really wasn’t even something that we had to think about. They already knew what they were going to do in the case of inclement weather.”

One major change made to adapt to the weather is the Punkin’ Chunkin’ event, one of the highlights of the festival, was rescheduled to Friday during the school day. 

“The Punkin’ Chunkin’ will be held during school hours on Friday,” Shaikh said. “And for learners who want to have parents or other people attend and aren’t able to do it on Friday, they’ll be launching on Thursday after school. But most of the launches will be happening during the school day on Friday.”

Despite having to change locations last minute, the festival proceeded painlessly with no crises at all. And as the fall festival ended around, the haunted house began.

“[The haunted house] is a huge event, and it’s one of the main three or four events of the year,” said Autumn Kranz, a junior at New Tech High and one of the actors for the haunted house. “During the school year, there are announcements and flyers around the school, and there’s a lot of talk about this huge event in the networking and just around the school in general.”

Due to the weather, the haunted house too had to go through a few last minute changes.

“The layout of the haunted house changed to adapt to [the weather],” New Tech High senior Maria Fleming said. “We were planning to have people exit the haunted house through the side door, but since we heard it was going to rain, we had to change it and have it loop around the whole school again so they can go out where they came in from. Thankfully, we were able to get all of the tarp walls up last minute. It was a big rush, but it was worth it in the end, I think.”

Most of the money raised goes towards the Senior Charity of the year, which for this year is the Muscular Dystrophy Association. A portion of the money also goes to the student council to help out the school and to help fund more events.

The LLC and NTC leadership organizations work together for about two months leading up to the haunted house event to get organized, gather volunteers and make sure that there are enough materials. The students who were helping with the haunted house yesterday had been setting up since 2:40 p.m., and didn’t stop until the haunted house event started at 7 p.m.. And according to Fleming, “their hard work clearly paid off.” This year, the event brought in about 250 attendees.

“It was so, so scary,” Coppell High School sophomore Kriti Mathur said. “Even scarier than I expected. All the kids are really good actors, and the effects made it really good too. The lighting just made everything so scary, and everyone else’s screams just- it was so good!”

CHS9 student Amy Yan agreed that the haunted house was much scarier than she anticipated.

“If I’m being honest, I didn’t have too high expectations for the haunted house,” Yan said. “But then we went in and I was already really scared, especially with how they set up the beginning. They kinda faked it out when we were expecting jump scares and that caused just a bunch of tension, and when we got to the second part where there actually were jump scares, we were screaming really loud. The makeup was done very well, and everyone was super in character. The actors really created the atmosphere, and the settings in the rooms just really psyched us out. It was just so much fun, and I’ll definitely be coming back again next year.”

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