Pi Kappa Phi fraternity hosts haunted house for charity


Pi Kappa Phi hosted its 6th annual haunted house to raise funds for Ability Experience

Iowa State students lined up for a haunted house located in a fraternity building Wednesday night.

The fraternity house Pi Kappa Phi transformed their living space into a haunted house as part of a fundraiser for Ability Experience. Ability Experience is a charity service that raises money for disabled individuals for special events, including a summer camp.

The fraternity opened its doors to the public for the haunted house from 7 p.m. to midnight.

“It’s like a tradition we’ve been doing for six years now,” Ryan Kelly, a junior studying agronomy, said. “It’s really good for all the brothers to come together and do something for others. We love doing it; it’s really fun.”

Kelly has been in charge of the haunted house since 2019. Though the fundraiser has been a successful tradition for several years, Kelly has faced many challenges while preparing the event each season. Some of these challenges include the COVID-19 pandemic and the fraternity’s shifting enrollment numbers.

“It was difficult getting everything set up during 2020, and it was difficult for us to do a lot [this year] since a lot of people left,” Kelly said. “So it was difficult to get everything started again.”

Aside from these daily turmoils, the event always has a steady showing each year with students commenting on the success of the house decorations, student actors and maze.

“Students love the way we decorate the inside of the house,” Kelly said. “We have a jail cell full of crazy clowns, a mad doctor and a maze. It’s our most popular feature because we have small jumpscares that get the students.”

Before entering the house, visitors were greeted with cobwebs hanging off the front porch, themed lights and the shadow of a person hiding in the bushes.

The exterior of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house Oct. 26.

After stepping through the doorway, paying for a ticket and signing a waiver, groups were directed to a tour guide who led them through the attraction.

The guided tour through the house began with a walk down a staircase flooded with red lighting. In the depths of the attraction, screams and thumps emerged from the dark behind curtains and within corners of the hallways.

Several fraternity members yelled, “Help me!” as groups shuffled past the various rooms. Near the end of the haunted tour, visitors watched as a fraternity member was “condemned” to death by a mysterious figure.

The admission fee to enter the attraction was $5, which could be paid in cash or through Venmo. The event’s earnings will go to the Ability Experience charity, which has been the main focus of the haunted house since it began.

“We want to help people with disabilities become recognizable and give them a better light,” Kelly said. “A lot of the money goes to the ability camp, a special needs camp where disabled students can enjoy a place to be themselves and enjoy camp activities.”

To keep a modest budget and maximize the earnings that go to the Ability Experience, members of Pi Kappa Phi reuse many of their props each year to save money and maintain a $1,500 budget.

“It really helps every year because we save a lot more than what we spend, so a lot can go to the charity organization,” Kelly said. “That helps a lot because then we can make sure those with special needs get the best possible summer.”

Plans for next year’s haunted house are currently underway with new spooks and frights in store for any visitors who dare to stop by.