Escaping the Jungle of Doom

Laura Lothrop

Hallowscape brings campus together

Hallowscape _ Color _ Julia Maddy-0061
Tour guides dressed in safari themed attire, fitting with the illusion that students were immersed in an unknown jungle. Julia Maddy | The Falcon

by Laura Herman
Staff Reporter

“Hallowscape,” hosted by the Student Union Board (STUB), presented students with a set of spooky challenges.

The upper floor of the campus Student Union Building underwent a Halloween makeover, designed with three unique escape rooms.

Hallowscape brought students together for a time of bonding through trust and testing while under the pressures of escaping from each room.

“It was very creative,” said first-year Bri Ulianich. “We had a great time with the people in our group.”

On the evening of Friday, Oct. 27, students lined up outside of Eaton Hall, excitement palpable. The line crawled slowly forward towards the sign that read “Hallowscape — Jungle of Doom” in dripping red and white paint.

Senior and STUB Event Programmer Reed Middleman chaired the event, coordinating with other members of STUB as well as Garrett Berkey, the vice president of campus activities.

“This year’s event is completely new,” Middleman said. “Last year’s event was a dance, and before that was ‘Hallowscream,’ the famous on-campus haunted house. We wanted to make something fun as well as get the campus in the Halloween spirit while creating an entirely new, spooky event.”

While past events like “Hallowscream” were more focused on the fear factor, “Hallowscape” invited students to use their puzzle-solving and teamwork skills to escape a Halloween jungle.

Tour-guides, dressed in jungle safari attire, led students into the first escape room. A volunteer then gave the instructions to find the passphrase.

“You have eight minutes,” the volunteer said. “Your time begins now.”

“I’m excited to see the students work together and get excited to solve each room,” Middleman said. “Having done escape rooms in the past myself, the rush of adrenaline and working as a team was what I loved most. I hope that other people get to experience that through this event also!”

In the first room, students searched through piles of old, leather-bound books for three letters that would make the phrase.

An “R” was scrawled in black marker across one page. Another book contained a “P”. The final clue lay within a wood chest, latched with a combination lock.

A clock propped against a stack of books, second hand unmoving, read the time 2:21.

Perceptive students could use these numbers, 2-2-1, to unlock the chest and find the final book that contained the letter “I”.

“RIP.” The correct password allowed students to pass on to the next room. Small and dimly lit, with vines hanging from the ceiling, the second room grew warm with the crowd of participants.

Black plastic covered the walls and ceiling to create a dark, spooky atmosphere.

The volunteer instructed them to find the key — but which one? A multitude of old skeleton keys were scattered around the room, under carefully placed, giant insects (artificial ones, fortunately) and in pots of dirt.

One key, smaller than the rest, unlocked a large wooden chest, which held a skeleton. Hidden with the skeleton was also the password to escape the second room, the word: “escape.”

“It was so well done and detailed,” Emma Robbins, a junior history major, said. “They put in a lot of effort.”

Perhaps the most creative was the third escape room, where students had to decipher the final password from symbols painted on the back of tombstones. A large cipher was hung on the wall with the equivalent letter for each symbol. After translating each symbol, students had to unscramble the letters to make the word “nightmare.”

With the final puzzle solved, a trapdoor was opened and students trooped out, emerging from the jungle and back into the familiar safety of the SUB.

“Everyone worked extremely hard for this event,” Middleman said. “The decorations committee who amazingly pulled off creating the atmosphere in each room was Hannah Larson and Julie Harstad.”

“The volunteer coordinator and lobby decorations were done by Christie Pak, and the creepy-cool posters were done by Celeste Ajayi.”

“While we all brainstormed ideas for each activity in the rooms,” Middleman said, “myself, Kirin Yusaf, and Abby Kim coordinated on what the puzzles and passwords should consist of.”

There were also two tour guides and seven more volunteers to help with setup and make sure the event ran smoothly.

“I couldn’t have done it without them,” Middleman said.