Candyland takes a dark turn

New maze leads students to feelings of fear and excitement.


Rebecca Mitchell/ THE CHIMES

Rachel Etzel, Writer

As children clad in cute costumes eagerly await the magical world of the Candyland game brought to life, they stand unaware of the spooky happenings in the hallway of the first floor below.

Newfound spookiness

On Halloween night, the highly-anticipated annual Candyland event was met with a multitude of children enjoying the games, trick-or-treating in the halls, getting their faces painted and more. Alpha has put on the event for 15 years and this year there is a new spooky element— a Halloween maze intended to encourage students to participate in the last hour of the event.

When the doors opened at 5 p.m., a continuous flood of over 1,900 people were greeted by the warm smiles of several Alpha resident advisors who were all dressed in “Where’s Waldo” costumes, decked out in red and white stripes. These RAs answered questions and guided families around the floors. This type of inviting and caring welcome makes Candyland a safe and family-friendly environment.

Each family was able to move from floor to floor and admire the different themes and door decorations. A popular floor was the second floor on the west side with the theme of “Mr. Mint goes to the amusement park.” The residents on this floor went all-out with the decorations— some even going as far as decorating the adjacent walls and ceiling as well, though this broke fire code.

Many children also enjoyed the first floor on the east wing with the theme of “Princess Lolly goes to the North Pole.” This floor included a life size portrait of Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen and a fireplace complete with Christmas presents and Santa Claus.

In the brightly-decorated lobby, where over 1,000 balloons covered the ceiling, there were several carnival-type games that children could participate in, such as a cake walk and fishing game.

Into the darkness

Amidst the vibrant smiling faces of the volunteers and the loud gleeful giggles of sugar-intoxicated children, several older students began to join the festivities later on in the evening. The event began to take on a darker tone as students on the first floor of the west side began to enter room 149 where, for the first time ever, a spooky Halloween maze awaited them — that is, if they dared to take the first step over the threshold.

The maze was made with beds, desks, mattresses and black paper. It was set up in such a way that required its victims to fumble their way over bed frames and crawl through tight spaces with little to no help from the dim blue flashlight with which they were provided. If making their way through this Tetris-like maze was not hard enough, multiple persons popping out, grabbing at ankles, causing guests to shriek and jump back in surprise added to the terror and difficulty of navigating through the maze.

There were two overall reactions that students emerging from the pitch-black maze zone had— they were either laughing or trying to catch their breath, and still some came out doing both. Nearly every student leaving the maze took a few moments to lean against the wall lined with fake cobwebs to regain their composure.

“[The maze] was suspenseful because [people] would jump out and scare us,” said Rebekah Burns, freshman music performance major. “But I would totally do it again.”

An overall success

While the maze was frightening and thrilling, and some guests were unsure what to expect next, other students seemed relatively unfazed or even confused by the maze.

“There’s people screaming and there’s somebody grabbing my leg now,” said Sophie Butler, freshman cinema and media arts major, regarding her initial thoughts on the maze.

She also did not consider the maze scary, but did enjoy the aspect of having to climb through and over things.

“I think if they did it in a bigger area it would be a little bit better because you could see things better,” said Sara Hamraz, freshman Cinema and Media Arts major, who went through the maze with Butler.

Other students thought using a small space added to the experience. The tightly packed furniture provided a unique obstacle both in a physical and mental sense.

“I mean I think it was more of a bit of a claustrophobic kind of thing, which was kinda cool,” said undeclared sophomore Steven Smith, who also participated with Butler and Hamraz.

Overall, the maze did not disappoint. Several students were impressed that something of this nature was so well executed in such a small space.

“Depending on how well it goes this year, it could continue to be a part of the event! If it receives a positive response from the Biola community, I don’t see why it couldn’t continue to be a part of Candyland,” said Patrick Wheeler, sophomore psychology major, prior to the event in an email interview. Wheeler created the maze along with sophomore political science major Wyatt Redfern, who had created a maze for the Mosaic Masquerade event the year prior.

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