Students in focus group were too terrified to attend
*All stories found under The Layers are satirical and are not intended to be taken seriously.*
November 9, 2021
Westfield High School Theatre reportedly sought to make dramatic changes to their annual Halloween haunted house event, Haunted Stage, this year. The proposed changes, however, were discarded after the WHS Administration found the idea for a college application-themed experience a bit too realistic.
While many thought it was an excellent idea to force participants in Haunted Stage to ask a teacher they hadn’t seen since sophomore year for a letter of recommendation, the experience brings back unpleasant memories for some.
One anonymous student recalls a particularly traumatic moment. “I walked in, and somebody was already speaking with my former teacher. They were talking for minutes on end until I started to lose focus. All of the sudden, I looked up and realized that I had been asked what I was there for. I really didn’t even remember. When I realized they had forgotten my name, I nearly soiled myself,” said the student.
Another frightening idea was to recreate the college visitation process. Haunted Stage participants were apparently first going to be trapped in a maze representing the process of searching a barely functioning university website for a visit time slot, and then finally being unable to park on campus after canceling an appointment to arrive on an inconvenient date. A theatre member reveals the inspiration for this choice.
“One time I had to drive three hours for a 7:00 A.M. visit, only to get lost on campus when I arrived. The email said to park in the garage by the McDonald’s, but every street had a McDonald’s. When I eventually got there, the place was full, and I paid this guy at a frat house thirty bucks to park in their driveway. After the tour, though, the car was gone and so was the house. They had put up a two-dimensional cardboard cutout just to rob me,” said the actor.
The most mortifying idea of all, however, was the Theatre’s plan to integrate college application deadlines into the Haunted Stage. Documents indicated plans to periodically announce over the speaker systems the number of days remaining until the November 1st deadline to leave the haunted house. There was also mention of having event staff dressed in costumes to look like red clock icons.
Unfortunately, the WHS Administration found the changes to Haunted Stage dangerous to the student population and put out an official statement to clarify their position on the scrapped content shift. “This subject matter is just way too real for our student body right now. There is no way we will ever let you all make our senior class reread their writing supplements while being stalked by werewolves,” said the announcement.