Haunted Lodges take over Chi Psi Alphas

NOVEMBER 1, 2023

At the University of Michigan, the men of Alpha Epsilon created a Haunted Lodge around Halloween to raise money for charity in 2022. This fall, they brought Haunted Lodge back, and plan to make it a tradition moving forward.

“We definitely want to continue this event,” says #36 and Mental Health Chair Matthew Fischer, E ’24. “We had a ton of people come through and it raises money for a really good cause.”

In 2023, the men chose to support House by the Side of the Road, which distributes clothing and household items to those in need in the Ann Arbor, Michigan community. The group also helps out the local homeless population and provides aid to those re-entering society from prison and to migrant workers.

“We try to make the organization that we donate to a local charity to improve our campus community,” says Fischer. “Last year, we gave to a charity that prevents domestic abuse and child abuse, and this year we are supporting underserved communities in Ann Arbor.”

At Alpha Omicron (Virginia), they also held their second annual Haunted Lodge philanthropy this fall. According to #36 Sam Lauer, O ’25, the theme for this year was a haunted construction site in the Lodge.

“We showed a short video to attendees at the beginning, offering fictional context about a burst pipe that led to an outbreak of zombie-like creatures,” says Lauer. “We then directed them upstairs, where they had to navigate a maze of hanging sheets and avoid our Brothers jumping out to scare them in their costumes.”

The men of Omicron charged $5 per person to enter, and proceeds went to The Gordie Center. An organization close to Chi Psi’s history, The Gordie Center’s mission is to end hazing and substance misuse among college and high school students nationwide.

“We raised about $2,500 for this event, which exceeded last year’s total,” says Lauer. “I think we’ll get better each and every year in that respect. We want to make sure we’re continuing our relationship with The Gordie Foundation and keep its purpose front of mind.”

At Alpha Nu (Minnesota), the men raised more about $6,000 from their Haunted Lodge philanthropy for Children’s Minnesota, a local pediatric hospital. Owen Maze, N ’26, the Alpha’s #36, says it is his favorite philanthropy and one that pretty much every Brother gets involved in.

“It takes over the entire Lodge this time of year,” says Maze. “We put a lot of time and effort into it and everyone was especially really excited to help the kids out at Children’s Minnesota this year.”

On top of being a fun and beneficial event for a local community organization, Maze says it’s an opportunity for the Alpha to generate good relationships in the area and on campus.

“We want to be front and center with our philanthropy on campus,” he says. “We want to give back to this community and ensure our events have good turnout. We’re ramping our philanthropy this year too, so I’m excited to see what this brings.”

The men of Epsilon, who also charged $5 per head, raised right around the $1,200 goal they had set – and that was before any donations from generous alumni came in to support their efforts.

“In 2022, we had about $300 in alumni donations, and I think we’ll easily surpass our fundraising goal if and when those gifts come in,” says Fischer.

Their theme at Epsilon was a haunted hospital, and all actors in costumes who were doing the scaring were Brothers or Potential New Members of the Alpha. For Fischer, the men of Epsilon, and the rest of the Brothers at every Alpha that put on a Haunted Lodge, the consensus was clear: fundraising can be fun, but it’s the giving back that makes memories.

“We want to properly represent Chi Psi on our campus with every event we do,” says Fischer. “We want everyone to know what we stand for. I know at Epsilon we are doing a good job of embodying those Chi Psi values with our philanthropy work.”