Halloween community builder


Sophomore physics major Ed Stafford is “wounded” during a game of Zombies vs. Humans on October 19 2012. Photo by MELANIE NESTERUK.

Hannah Kelling

Fitting for a classic action movie, Daniel Baxter defended his marshmallow ammunition in the basketball courts behind the Honors dorms Friday.

“You’ll have to pry them from my dead hands,” the freshman chemistry major said.

The Zombies vs. Humans simulation was organized by Resident Assistants in Stopher and Johnson halls with assistance from those from Lake and Olson halls.

The rules were similar to that of a game of tag, with extra precautions like: “Don’t eat your ammunition.”

“We thought it would be really nice right before Halloween,” said Emily Altaffer, a sophomore medical technology major and an RA in Johnson Hall. She said residents had expressed interest in a Halloween community builder, and the battle with the undead staff members was a result of those suggestions.

Technically beginning at 7:45 a.m., the event took some time to gather enough participants for a full-fledged battle. However, by late afternoon, about a dozen “humans” were matched against the “zombie” RA’s.

Red bands were tied on the arms of humans and the foreheads of their zombie opponents for identification purposes.

The playing field, which extended from the M.A.C. Center to the Art Building and stretched between the Esplanade to the Tennis Courts by Verder Hall, hosted five official “missions” and several spontaneous battles.

Set at hourly intervals between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. until the final mission at 6 p.m., the quests included such tasks as stealing the pink “brains” — stress balls — of hidden “zombies” — the RA’s — to win zombie “perfume” — paper slips — granting immunity to two zombie “bites” — tags from an RA.

“We decided to open it up so there would be more opportunity,” said junior biology major Lindsey Matthews, also an RA in Johnson Hall. She explained that participation was originally limited to Honors residents but waivers were present for walk-in participants as well.

The scene was full of both strategy and infectious good humor, as the participants laughingly devised the sort of plots that only marshmallow-fueled bravery could support.

Enthusiasm ranged from the casual amusement of sophomore geography major Sam Schaefer and his crew of humans to genuine interest in the zombie mania that builds such popularity during this time of year.

“He’s really into it,” Altaffer said of fellow RA Matthew Pearce. “He’s convinced that the zombie apocalypse is a real thing.”

Altaffer admitted that things hadn’t gone exactly according to plan because limited knowledge about the event led to a series of “plot twists” throughout the afternoon.

“This is our first year doing it, but we’d like to do it again,” Altaffer said, expressing hopes that the grass-stained and muddy participants would be back next time with even greater enthusiasm and numbers.

Contact Hannah Kelling at [email protected].