As Halloween approaches, it’s time to get into the spooky spirit, and the Binghamton University Japanese Association (BUJA) an on-campus event to help.
This Saturday, BUJA is bringing back its annual Ghost House in the University Union’s Mandela Room. The event is usually held in University Union 120, but the bigger venue will allow for a larger production that will include many more decorations made by club members. With the change in location, Corinna Ronen, president of BUJA and a senior majoring in biology, is betting on drawing a larger audience.
“Typically, since our previous Ghost Houses were held in [University Union] 120, there was not a lot of foot traffic going through that area, limiting it to our general body members and other individuals who heard about it or saw our flyers,” Ronen said. “However, in the Mandela Room, we hope that many more people stopping through the Union will be interested and want to not only participate, but want to attend future events that we plan to conduct.”
In past years, Ghost House, a horror-themed obstacle course, has been one of BUJA’s most successful events. Each edition of the event has a theme, with previous Ghost Houses being titled “High School” and “Hospital.” Ronen said this year, the club is planning to take a different approach, focusing more on the history and culture of Japan.
“People going through the Ghost House will be given an omamori (lucky charm) that they must carry throughout the house and drop off at the end of their journey before exiting,” Ronen said. “This year’s Ghost House will also introduce various ghosts from different periods of time in Japan.”
The event aims to celebrate the Halloween weekend of the United States while showcasing an element of Japanese horror. Visiting ghost houses is a popular pastime in Japan, with many events taking place during the summer months.
“Ghost House is a literal translation of the Japanese phrase ‘obakeyashiki,’” Ronen said. “Obakeyashiki are commonly found throughout Japan in all different amusement parks and sometimes even in regular malls and shopping centers. In schools in Japan, every year they hold a school festival in which one of the biggest attractions of that event is the obakeyashiki.”
Ghost House will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 in the Mandela Room. Admission is $2 for students with their ID card and $3 for the general public.