Sigma Phi unveils haunted house for charity

BY ELAINE LAFAY
Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 22, 2008

Correction Appended: the Interfraternity Council doesn't require its members to donate money to charity each year.

Engineering freshman Brian Murphy cackled gleefully as he led his first victim through darkened hallways for the dress rehearsal of the Sigma Phi’s first Haunted House, which opens tonight.

“Stay close, dearies,” he sneered through a bloodstained scarecrow’s mask. “You don’t want to get lost!”

The Haunted House is not – as the brothers were quick to point out – their Halloween Party, but a charity event instead.

“We haven’t done something for charity in a while,” said LSA sophomore John Hein, a member of the fraternity. “We wanted to do something for charity and we thought this would be the funnest way to do it.”

Sigma Phi Head of House Jordan Raetz said while the house chose to do the event primarily as a venue to donate to charity, he also hoped it would also serve “to get our name out there in a good sense.”

“A lot of people, especially those higher up at Michigan have kind of an anti-fraternity sentiment,” he said. “But we do a lot of work for charity and for the school – we do as much good as we can, as people and as a fraternity.”

Sigma Phi chose two charities to split the proceeds from the event. Half will go to the Michigan Humane Society and the other half to Great Commission Air, a charity founded by an Ann Arbor family.

The fraternity chose Great Commission Air after meeting members of the organization, which delivers food and other relief by airplane in Guatemala. Knowing that Great Commission Air’s lone plane crashed in August, Sigma Phi decided to donate toward funding a new plane.

All Sigma Phi members will take part in the event and try to make the haunted house experience more interactive for guests.

“It’s not just walking through the house and looking at things,” Hein said. “There are some rooms where you actually participate in what’s going on.”

Hein said the Sigma Phi house was particularly suited for the event because of its large size.

“There’s not really a ton of haunted houses in Ann Arbor at all, and we’d probably be the biggest one this year,” he said.

The Haunted House will be open to the public on today and tomorrow from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. The cost is $5.