Grossmont College cranks up the spooks with Halloween-themed fall fundraiser

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It is that time of year again, when the nights grow longer and a deathly chill swirls through the air, the time when Boogeymen and ghosties and ghoulies come out to play. Yes, it’s Halloween season, and that means it is also time for the Annual Fall Fundraiser being put on by the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department.

It is that time of year again, when the nights grow longer and a deathly chill swirls through the air, the time when Boogeymen and ghosties and ghoulies come out to play. Yes, it’s Halloween season, and that means it is also time for the Annual Fall Fundraiser being put on by the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department.

This year’s show is entitled “Flight or Fright,” and centers on a group of Grossmont College staff and students reading spooky stories. A mixture of classic terror tales and poems were told to a raptured audience, including Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” an excerpt from Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein,” and the Irish fairy tale “The Tale of Pat Diver,” among others.

Also on show were some famous Halloween songs that were given a “dramatic reading” including “The Monster Mash,” “The Town Meeting Song” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and the rock classic “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by the Blue Oyster Cult.

The night’s festivities and theme were a departure from previous fall fundraising events said “Flight or Fright” coordinator and theatre arts instructor Brian Rickel.

“We were looking to do something a little different this year,” he said, “and, aside from doing ‘An Evening With Edgar Allan Poe’ one year, we hadn’t really explored the Halloween season in these fundraisers. So it will be fun to read some scary stories.”

As to the subject matter, Rickel said that scary stories have been around forever and are a deep facet of society.

“There is not a culture that exists that do not have some form of ghost stories,” he said, “and I think it has something to do with the fact that they remind us that there are people who have passed on. We use it to tell some serious stuff about our mortality and sometimes we use it for fun to scare the hell out of kids. But, overall, these stories have always been a part of the fabric of our culture and I think they are very important.”

The night’s show is helping to raise funds for the 2019 Summer Arts Conservatory Program, which will put together a musical production of “The Little Mermaid.” The program recruits high school students and offers them the chance to earn college credits and work in the theatre.

Theatre Operations Facilitator Alexis Popco said that the program is beneficial to helping foster a love of theatre in teen students and offers them a taste of the college life awaiting them.

“This program keeps the arts alive in San Diego,” she said. “The students get a real feel for the theatre life by being involved in all the aspects of staging a production, from building the sets, to designing the costumes, to ushering. We offer a very well rounded education.”

Back at the classroom in Grossmont College, the show is over and the theatregoers file out of the room into the crisp fall air, ready to go home. Before they go to bed they will make sure that all the doors in their home are locked and the windows are closed tight, and as they check under their beds just to make sure nothing unpleasant is under there they will chuckle to themselves and think “It wasn’t real. It was only a story.”

Or was it?

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