The Saint Mary’s softball team’s annual Halloween fundraiser is in its twentieth consecutive year this fall and promises to scare everyone from seniors to freshmen alike.
The fundraiser, an interactive haunted experience called the Walk of Horror, is created entirely by team members and run with the help of volunteers from the university. It is a source of funding for the team’s annual spring trip to a tournament in Florida, head coach Jen Miller said. Miller also said that the funds are sometimes used for gear and general team improvements, depending on the team’s needs in a particular year.
The Walk was conceived by former head coach John Tschida, said Miller. Tschida coached the Saint Mary’s softball team from 1994 to 2000 and led the team to a national championship in his final year at the university.
Junior Brittney Birkhauser, an infielder on the team, has been involved with the Walk all three of her years at Saint Mary’s. This year, she and her teammate Allison Borawski are running a “creepy freezer scene” in one of the Walk’s two tunnels, she said. Birkhauser described the process that goes into creating the Walk, saying that the team has been meeting daily since Oct. 3 for two to three hours to make props.
Saint Mary’s Walk of horror Participants
Birkhauser appreciated the long hours spent in preparation. “I like how close you become with your teammates,” she said. “You are with each other nonstop, and you learn how to work together to get the job done.”
Miller agreed. “It’s a team building activity, and it’s also a good community event,” she said. “Kids from 10 and up come, and it’s a good activity for the city of Winona that is also inexpensive.”
While the scenes and props of the Walk are designed entirely by the team, the team also relies on volunteers to act in the Walk and to lead groups of visitors from the ticket area to the entry of the Walk, which begins at the woods. One volunteer was junior pole vaulter Maria Missurelli.
“As a line leader I got to see that this event brought together people of all ages,” Missurelli said. “It was cool to see how much work was put in for the whole event and how many different types of people attend. Also, I am not on the softball team, but I was glad to be able to help. The team made it fun for me and all the other volunteers who were involved.”
Missurelli described a conversation she had with a student from Winona Senior High School who stated that he had low expectations for the Walk of Horror before attending last weekend. Afterwards, he said, “this was really amazing and fun.”
The Walk of Horror is located on the Saint Mary’s campus and starts near the gazebo. Admission is $5 for Saint Mary’s students and kids 12 years old and under and $6 for adults. Haven’t gone yet? You still have a chance tonight, as the Walk is open for its final night from 7-10 pm. Happy Halloween!