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Haunted houses, other Halloween events locally this coming week

If it’s close to midnight, and something evil’s lurking in the dark, and under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart. . . you might be experiencing a thriller night in Oxford.

There are several events in town scheduled for Halloween week that are designed to give you a good scare.

Avé Mayeux, 26, is a senior at the University of Mississippi and the public relations chair for the UM chapter of Teachers of Tomorrow.

The elementary education major, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in business in 2012, is one of the organizers of the Guyton Haunted House.

“Basically, what we do is turn Guyton Hall into a haunted house that is geared towards younger children and their families,” she said.

The event will be held in Guyton Hall on the Ole Miss campus at 49 Rebel Drive Friday, Oct. 30, from 6-8 p.m.

“We will have Halloween-themed games, a spooky science room with science demonstrations and activities, a room where we will be reading stories, crafting, (eating) popcorn and, of course, candy.”

Mayeux said this is the sixth year for the family-oriented event.

“It’s a place where parents can bring their kids without having to worry if anything would be inappropriate or too scary,” she said. “We try to include some educational games and elements so it can also be a fun learning experience. And of course, there is a lot of candy and cool prizes for the kids.

This year, the Guyton Haunted House will feature a table where students can decorate their treat bags and collect candy, and another with snacks and a popcorn machine.

“There will be a photo booth where the kids can use props to create a souvenir picture,” Mayeux said.

The event also will feature a haunted hallway that children can walk through, if they choose to.

“Though it’s called the haunted hallway, it’s geared towards younger kids, so it’s not too spooky,” Mayeux said. “It’s more like walking through a dimly lit hall through pool noodles and spooky music.”

Some classrooms will be transformed into game rooms and a reading room, where children can sit and listen to Halloween stories read aloud.

“We are also planning on having a spooky science room where students can ‘feel body parts,’ and we were going to use boiled spaghetti, peeled grapes, etc., to be different ‘body parts/organs.’ Also, we were going to have some science demonstrations as well.”

Mayeux said there isn’t an age limit, but the haunted house is designed for toddlers to middle school-age students.

The event is free and sponsored by the UM School of Education with the help of Teachers of Tomorrow, a student organization for future educators under the Mississippi Association of Educators.

“Most of the students are planning on becoming teachers or coaches,” Mayeux said. “This is just a fun way that we can reach out and give back to the community, and kids in the community, that has just been so welcoming to us.”

OPD haunted house

Oxford residents can also seek thrills at the Oxford Police Department. This is the second year the OPD has hosted a haunted house in their training building at 715 Molly Barr Road.

The event will be held Oct 27-29. It will begin at 6 p.m. and continue until the crowd dissipates. Admission is $3. Capt. Alan Ivy is in charge of the event.

Megan Prescott, executive assistant to the police chief, said proceeds will benefit the Oxford Peace Officers Association.

“It’s a group that kind of gets together and will support our officers for good things, holidays, birthdays, also for any kind of family crises and funerals,” Prescott said.

Around 300 people attended last year’s haunted house.

Prescott said guides in the front and back will lead visitors through the haunted house.

The event will also feature a kids’ room for children 8 and under.

And don’t forget the Haunted Forest that will be held Oct. 28-29 at Avent Park from 7-10 p.m. Admission is $5 and adults must accompany children under age 10. The event is sponsored by the University of Mississippi Recreation Administration and the Oxford Park Commission.

For more information, contact Mike Young at 662-232-2391 or email him at mikeyoung@oxfordparkcommission.com.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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