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Fraternity scares up charity profits

Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 00:10

Wicked Woods

COURTESY

Members from the Mu-Gamma chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity construct and operate Wicked Woods. Proceeds will be donated to various charitable groups such as The American Red Cross, CARPOOL and the Brazos Valley Food Bank.

Screaming and frantically running in fear of masked men with bladeless chainsaws frequently renders the minds of college students useless as they think back on ghosts of Halloweens past.

Halloween is not just for kids. College students may celebrate it slightly different, but with the same idea centered on costumes and ways to get a good scare in for the year.

Wicked Woods in College Station is the fifth largest haunted venue in the state of Texas. Constructed by the Mu-Gamma chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Texas A&M, Wicked Woods is more than just a fun time of frightful thrills; it serves as a way to give back to the Brazos Valley.

“I think the event is so popular with students because it is planned and operated by other students, allowing us to design the event with other college students in mind,” said Chris Anderson, senior civil engineering major and president of the fraternity.

This year marks the 17th year that Wicked Woods has been in operation after its founding in 1994 by Kappa Sigma members lacking a philanthropy event to raise revenue while helping people in need.

The proceeds accumulated from the frightful entertainment benefit several different organizations around the area. These include The American Red Cross, CARPOOL, Brazos Valley Food Bank and the Fisher House Foundation.

“Usually [they donate] around 4,000 pounds of food [every year]. We took them some barrels out last week, and they will continue collecting food for us until after Halloween,” said Rhonda Behrens, Brazos Valley Food Bank distribution manager. “4,000 pounds is a really good amount for a community-involved event.”

In return for bringing canned food to donate, customers are given a discount for their trip through Wicked Woods.

The members of Kappa Sigma aim to provide a renewed and unique experience for customers each year by beginning their construction process on the first week of every fall semester. Each member is expected to contribute anywhere from 50 to 100 hours a semester working on the event.

“I love scaring people,” said Taylor Johnson, agricultural leadership and development major.

Unfortunately for Johnson, his position as senior operations officer for Wicked Woods doesn’t let him take part as much as he would like. But Johnson said when he could, he takes the opportunity to scare people.

“When the chance comes where I can slip out into the scenes for 20 minutes or so, I throw on a robe and head that way,” Johnson said.

Johnson said since Wicked Woods is outdoors, the weather puts a lot of wear and tear on the structures. Due to that, they have to replace about a third of the event completely each year. There are a lot of separate structures, or scenes that are built throughout the trail, each offering its own theme and set of scares.

“The locals love the event because it has been an attraction in the community for so long and is suitable for all ages, allowing families to feel comfortable bringing their children,” Anderson said.

The remaining operation days of the event are on Oct. 25-27 and Oct. 30-31, starting at 8 p.m.

 

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