On Saturday, Social Board transformed the Old Kenyon Residence Hall (Old K) basement into a “House of Horrors,” complete with fake blood, disembodied rubber limbs and a zombie-infested ‘all-campus’ party. The event, which was orchestrated by 25 Social Board members and 15 student actors, lasted two hours and occupied all of the Old K basement.
The House of Horrors’ overarching premise was a radon-induced zombie infestation of the Hill, a nod to the elevated radon levels detected in several campus residential spaces in February. “Our members decided that it would be fun to make the haunted house Kenyon-themed and pretend to have a campus-tour-gone-wrong storyline,” Social Board President Lynne Bush ’25 wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The Old Kenyon basement was the perfect venue for guiding students through different themed rooms with actors and surprises around every corner.”
Participants began their excursion at a replica of the Peirce Dining Hall seal, where tour guides sharply instructed them to watch their step. When a planted actor in each group stepped on the seal, sirens and actors covered in white-and-purple face paint ushered students into a world of bloody handprints and violent medical staff. The majority of featured rooms were replications of on-campus locations — including a Cox Health and Counseling Center examination room with a nurse chopping up disembodied limbs and sealed off “isolation housing” with scarers concealed behind a shower curtain. The final room was a zombie-infested Old K all-campus, where participants had to dance to avoid being attacked by the party-goers. The tour ended with zombified Campus Safety officers shutting down the party and chasing attendees out of the building.
According to Bush, Social Board members wrote character scripts before mapping out the actors, costumes and props that would occupy each room. One face-paint-clad zombie actor, Nicholas Kloor ’26, emphasized that his enjoyment as a volunteer stemmed from the high level of planning that went into the event. “The haunted house itself was so well put together. They had a script, a story. I was given a role, given training beforehand,” he said in an interview with the Collegian. “I had a great time participating in it. It was fun to be a zombie and get some scares in.” As the actors jumped out at participants and waved fake weapons, Social Board members followed behind the groups, slamming doors and knocking on furniture to contribute to an overall atmosphere of unease. To Vice President of Social Board Olive O’Riordan ’25, the level of enthusiasm and commitment from both Social Board and the actors made the event the most memorable in her Kenyon career. “This is my third year on Social Board and this is the event that I’m most proud of,” she said in an interview with the Collegian. “It was very student run, we put a lot of work into it and I think it was very successful.”