Amenti Haunted House provides scares, memories

By Brooke Shinberg

Amenti is the name of the Egyptian goddess who guards the dead, which makes it the perfect title for the haunted house at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St.

Derek Gibbs, the Egyptian Theatre’s membership and marketing director, said the theater usually brings in about 3,200 people each year for their haunted house.

“We typically have good attendance on Halloween, so we are shooting for over 500 people and hoping for over 600,” Gibbs said. “On previous years when Halloween was a weekday we still got like 500.”

The haunted house is the largest fundraiser the Egyptian Theatre holds during the year.

“All of the proceeds go to benefit the theater,” Gibbs said. “The theater is non-profit so the money goes toward day-to-day operations.”

According to Executive Director Alex Nerad, the budget for the haunted house is between $15,000 and $20,000 each year.

“This is our seventh year doing it and we usually bring in around $40,000,” Nerad said.

Almost everyone involved in the event is a volunteer. Anastasia Bouziotis, a sophomore textiles, apparel and merchandise major, came with the organization Helping Hands to set up scenes.

“I thought it was really cool,” Bouziotis said. “But I am afraid of the dark so I am taking tickets.”

Bouziotis was one of several NIU students volunteering at the theater. Mykal Rodriguez, junior theater studies major, was one of the actors in the haunted house.

“I liked the experimenting part; when one thing doesn’t work in a haunted house you can always go back and change it for the next night and see what works,” Rodriguez said.

Some of the actors were interested in seeing the reactions of the attraction’s visitors.

“My favorite part is scaring people and seeing if you can make them drop to the floor,” said Kourtney Brown, a sixth-year volunteer from Genoa.

Dylan Hughes, a volunteer from Wilmington, said he went through the haunted house when he was a little kid and wanted to participate as a volunteer because of that experience.

“My favorite part is scaring people and being around people that work it; it’s a really great place,” Hughes said.

Maddie Frye, a DeKalb High School student and voluenteer for the house, said it’s fun to hang out with the crew and see the reactions of those who go through the haunted house.

DeKalb resident Dave Folowell was actually recruited because of his age.

“Actually, Derek said they needed older people to do it and he talked me into it,” Folowell said. “It’s one of the funnest things I have ever done.”

Genoa resident Sonyie Caise said this was her first year attending and almost every attraction in the house scared her.

Visitors who have attended the house in previous years said that Amenti provides a consistently good experience.

“The scariest parts were the balloon hallway and the room with a girl hanging from the ceiling,” said Erin Sherrill, graduate counselling major. “It was better this year than last time we came.”

Alex Holliday, graduate physical therapy major, agreed this year’s house was just as good last year’s, though he disagreed on the most frightening part. “The clowns were the scariest room,” Holliday said.

Sycamore resident Stephanie Zielinski agreed it is consistently good.

“The decorations and props were really good,” Zielinski said. “The girls in front of us seemed to get all of the scary parts; but chainsaws or anything electrical–that’s what gets me.”