As Halloween approaches, many students will look for inexpensive ways to scare themselves — the haunted houses provided by different organizations at Truman State are an extremely fun option for those students. There is a classic appeal to wandering around a corn maze with friends or a significant other, or rushing through a haunted house set up by your masked peers. These events rarely are disappointing and often raise money for charities.
For some, these classics are missing one important factor — they are not everlasting scares. The fear ends when you leave. For off-campus residents, this fear not only can follow them home, it could be their home.
Many off-campus students live in older houses with basements. Like most student housing, leftover possessions can end up almost anywhere — hidden away in closets, under ovens or between a radiator and the wall. The basement just offers more space for these hidden treasures.
I live in one such house. In the kitchen there is a single white, haunting door that opens up to the basement. The basement door is only kept closed by a lock you might find on a bathroom doorknob. At the bottom of the rickety wooden stairs, there is a large concrete room with a low-hanging ceiling. One side is filled with leftover furniture and toys for children. Someone set up one corner as a bar, complete with old adult magazines hidden in the rafters above it. A large, dusty trunk covered in spider webs is under the stairs. There even is a thin piece of plywood nailed over what used to be a door leading outside.
It is my own personal “American Horror Story.”
The basement provides a creepy ambiance year-round, even with the door locked and blocked by a garbage can. However, around Halloween, that basement brings my roommates and I into the holiday spirit.
The exploration of these basements might just be the Halloween spirit some students want. Some Kirksville basements I have encountered have been homes for feral cats or raccoons, while others have been full of cardboard boxes stuffed with old family photographs and various mementos.
An adventure into a spider-infested basement might not seem like the most exciting way to spend an afternoon, but with some imagination and a good ghost story, descending into your basement could be one of the best horror adventures of the season.