Students gather for “CarnEvil”

Graphic+by+Joshua+Graham

Photo by: Joshua Graham

Graphic by Joshua Graham

Julia Fulmer, Staff Writer

Students eagerly gathered at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 outside of the Smith University Center (UC) ready to enter FMU’s 11th annual “CarnEvil” event.

The event was a joint-effort Halloween celebration hosted by the Campus Activities Board (CAB), Student Government Association (SGA) and the FMU Diplomats.

CarnEvil mainly took place in the UC commons with a variety of carnival games scattered around the room. Students who successfully completed the games were given tickets to use at the prize booth for candy, trinkets or an entry into the raffle for different prizes. In addition to the “Spooky Cinema” showing classic horror films in the gym, food trucks parked on the UC lawn to supply students with food, such as funnel cakes, barbeque and ice cream.

To accommodate COVID-19 precautions, the event was split into two sections, one from 6:30-8:00 p.m. and the other from 8:30-10:30 p.m., allowing time for sanitation between the time slots. The event welcomed around 300 students in one of the largest activities hosted on campus this semester.

According to Alex McGill-Brown, student life specialist, CarnEvil was originally scheduled to take place on the UC lawn. However, due to possibility of rain, they decided to move the event indoors. Since the new venue would be an enclosed space, the event organizers decided it would be safer to limit the number of people at the event. This led to the introduction of a ticket system, where students could sign up online for free tickets to use for entry. Despite the sudden scheduling changes, students flocked to the event.

“We had a fantastic turn-out,” said McGill-Brown. “The tickets sold out in minutes, and I had to post new tickets twice.”

One of the most popular attractions of the night was the scare trail. Aided by student volunteers from Kappa Delta (KD) and Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE), students were led through the eerie halls of the UC’s second floor with a few surprising encounters along the way.

McGill-Brown said she was impressed with the overwhelmingly positive response to the scare trail, as it was the first year it has been featured in a CarnEvil. She said similar activities in the past led them to the idea for the trail. 

“We did haunted escape rooms last year and people seemed to really enjoy it,” said McGill-Brown. “With COVID precautions, we didn’t want to confine people to one enclosed space and have them touching clues and such, so we did the trail. I’m honestly so impressed with our students. They put in so much work and really made it fun. The PIKEs and KDs also made a huge difference by volunteering as actors. They brought a great energy to it.”

Tristan Shird, a junior elementary education major and member of the SGA Senate and Diplomats, said he decided to volunteer at the CarnEvil to get to know some of the new students this semester and encourage more people to come to events.

“I think that we should have more activities during this pandemic because there are a lot of freshmen or transfer students that are coming by, so they’re not really making friends by just staying in their dorm room or staying in their apartment,” Shird said. “So it’s best to have these events so they can interact with other people and also make new friends and get to know everybody.”

Dalisay Aldrete, a junior elementary education major, said she decided to work as a volunteer for the Diplomats, stationed at the ping pong ball toss carnival game.

“I think the important thing is to make sure people are being cautious of how close they are to others, having their masks on and just taking precautions as far as their personal lives go and applying that whenever they have events like this,” Aldrete said. “I know it’s really hard to keep social distancing and trying to keep everyone safe, but it’s also very important to have that kind of community within the university.”

Sophomore nursing major Tiara Chavis said she enjoys the Halloween atmosphere during this time of year.

“I love Halloween,” said Chavis. “I love the theme of it, the colors, the fears and everything. I really enjoyed the event so far just playing the games. I’m most excited about the haunted trail. I would recommend it to other students and other people in the community.”

McGill-Brown said she wanted to thank everyone who helped make the CarnEvil possible this year.

“I am so proud of our students for how they organized this event,” McGill-Brown said. “I also want to point out that without the help of people like Dean Blackburn, Derek Young or our facilities and grounds crew, we would not have been able to make this event happen. They are incredible people to work with and really help to make these events great.”