Halloween invades EV for fundraiser

Members of the English Valleys cross country team put on their scariest, creepiest faces for their Haunted School fundraiser on Halloween night.

"Wanna play?" Kristen Fisher, Carly Stanerson and Bryson Grove turn childhood into a nightmare with this unsettling scene.

            As darkness drew over North English on Halloween night, screams could be heard from the direction of English Valleys Jr/Sr High School. Many brave souls entered the gym, converted into stuff of nightmares, only to return with their eyes full of fright and mouths agape in horror. Fortunately, it was all for a good cause, as the EV cross country team hosted their Haunted School to raise funds for their program.

            The idea of a fearsome fundraiser was the brainchild of the team, coached by Breann Coffman. In order to raise money for the team’s equipment and social events, Breann talked with the students to figure out a perfect event that would get people excited, or in this case, scared.

            “Last year was my first year coaching EV, and the kids wanted to do something fun for a fundraiser,” Breann said. “They thought about it for a week before they had the idea of a haunted house, because it was mid-October. Obviously, we couldn’t get that all done then, but we started planning for this year to do that.”

            Over the next year, Breann joined forces with her sister Brooke to come up with ideas for a haunted house, eventually morphing into a plan to convert the school into a terrifying trek for only those who dared to come through.

            “At home, we started talking about the theme, wrote down the ideas and then showed them to the rest of the team,” Breann said. “Originally, we wanted to go down the two long hallways in the school, but administration told us no and we stayed with the gym.”

            Things didn’t exactly go according to plan at first. Materials had to be donated to give the space the spook it needed and everything else was purchased by the team. Between the Monday before and Halloween, the Coffmans and the team setup walls with volleyball nets and transformed the old gym into four different sections, featuring a bloody hospital room, a creepy doll room, a nerve-wracking clown room and a mysterious area they dubbed “the dark room.”

            “It was hard at first to make this event what is was,” Brooke said. “It took a lot of work to put up the walls. We threw things together and it worked out well.”

            Charlie Axmear, the lone senior on the cross country team, helped set up the room and then joined his teammates for the best part: showtime. Due to small numbers, Axmear and several others had to move between rooms to provide the right amount of frights as fellow students and community members walked tentatively through the Haunted School.

“This fundraiser was a good way to raise money for equipment and the team, and we had fun doing it,” Axmear said. We did good with our small numbers and the short amount of time of we had to prepare.”

            While everyone involved admits that this project wasn’t exactly easy, it was all worth it in the end to hear friends and family scream in terror, as the cross country members stalked their victims while in full costume.

            “I had a lot of the fun dressing up, getting our makeup on and scaring the people that came,” Brooke said. “We hope to do this again with more of the school like we had planned. We want to make it more of an experience next year.”

            The sentiment for another Halloween fundraiser was echoed by her sister. Materials were saved for next year’s production and with a year of experience under their belt, the Haunted School plans to return to possess EV again in 2018.

            “I’m hoping setup will go more quickly because this year we were bouncing ideas around,” Breann said. “Since we are saving things for next year, stuff will go quicker and we’ll have things to improve on by then.”