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Next House rebuilds and redesigns haunted house escape challenge

For the second year in a row, the Next Haunt student group will host a Halloween-themed escape-the-room challenge.

Next House residents are hard at work building a two-story haunted house in the dorm’s basement. When finished, the room will be able to fit a team of four to six people, who must solve the house’s puzzles in order to escape.

The Next Haunt team is reusing the material from the exterior of last year’s house, but has completely redesigned the interior and promises a whole new set of puzzles.

The team has also added some polish to the room’s decor this time around.

“The house was built and planned in a month last time. We weren’t really concerned with making everything look good,” Next Haunt art director Clare Zhang ’16 told The Tech. With the extra time this year, the art team can devote more attention toward giving the house an appropriately creepy personality.

Sturdy prop construction has also been a priority. Ben Mattinson ’16, Next Haunt producer, recalled that at last year’s haunt, “someone backed into a table and broke it — people in the house can get a little jumpy.”

To ensure the safety of players, Next Haunt uses cameras to monitor the inside of the house and keep the event running smoothly.

Beyond running the event, constructing a 240 sq. ft. house in the Next’s basement presents its own set of difficulties. The Next Haunt team worked closely with MIT Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to ensure the soundness of the room and its construction site. According to Zhang, “a gigantic packet of details and plans” was required to gain the administration’s approval. Together, Next Haunt and MIT EHS covered everything from the house’s structural safety to the basement’s emergency exits. An architect from an outside firm was even called in to inspect the building’s plans. The extensive planning seems to have paid off, and construction is proceeding smoothly.

Next Haunt will run on Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 6, and Nov. 7. Mattinson encourages participants to sign up early. Last year, all team slots were booked completely.

—Christopher Wang