Haunted HEEP returns for a night of horrifying Halloween fun 


The Office of Sustainability will host its fourth annual Haunted HEEP walk next Wednesday, Oct. 25, bringing fright to the University of Connecticut from 7:00 to 9:30 pm along Discovery Drive. Visitors should anticipate an evening of heart-racing excitement as they navigate a mile-long trail full of terrifying scenes. 

This year’s event will feature brand new sights that are “sure to scare” all those who enter, reads the Office of Sustainability’s website. 

“Students can expect a very dark trail, punctuated by illuminated scenes acted out by fellow students,” said the Office of Sustainability’s outreach and education coordinator Betsy Mortensen, who noted that last year’s “Cyclops Baby, Mad Scientist experiments and campsite murder scene,” give an idea of what terrors visitors may look forward to. 

For the first time, students have the option to pre-register at no cost on the Office of Sustainability’s website, granting a quick entry for those eager to get scared. 

In addition to the VIP line system, HEEP is making this year the most efficient yet, with “more flashlights to help move groups quicker,” and the incentive of candy for “survivors,” at the trail’s end, said Mortensen. 

Candy isn’t the only treat awaiting attendees, however; the first hundred visitors will also receive a free t-shirt upon entry. 

Adrenaline-fueled screams will undoubtedly echo through the Hillside Environmental Education Park, as a projected 750 guests make their way from one shocking scene to the next. The number of volunteers for the event has reached an impressive 80 individuals and is growing, with applications for anyone looking to spook and startle fellow students open until Friday, Oct. 20. 

Haunted HEEP may only be one night of thrilling fun, but the event is truly designed to introduce students to a park they can enjoy throughout the entire year. 

“The Hillside Environmental Education Park is an important part of UConn’s history of environmental action, and an important resource for its future,” emphasized Mortensen. 

The hillside, which was transformed from the UConn landfill into a 165-acre woodland preserve, opened in 2016 for student access. The park now contains three miles of trail and a host of programs including “Forest Meditations and trail work sessions to help students bring down anxiety levels and reconnect with nature,” noted Mortensen. 

Haunted HEEP’s mission in raising awareness for the rarely visited forest has been a success the Office of Sustainability hopes to continue, with 83% of attendees at Haunted 2022 stating they would likely visit HEEP in the future, despite the fact that 80% of visitors had never been to the park prior to the Halloween event. 

More information regarding Haunted HEEP’s location and how to get involved are available on the Office of Sustainability’s website

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