On Friday Nov. 3, NYU Shanghai hosted its spookiest event of the year: the Carnival of Terror! The marking of our very first Carnival of Terror at the new Qiantan campus left students, faculty, and visitors amazed. This extravaganza transformed the quad into a Halloween themed realm filled with delicious delights, Squid Game themed contests, performances, and a haunted house offering a night to remember for all attendees.

The visionary behind this event, Student Government’s Event Director Korrina Poindexter-Benbow, noted, “The Carnival of Terror, previously named Carnival Of The Dead, has been a traditional event for NYU Shanghai since 2013, which makes this year the 11th time we have had this event and the first time with the new Qiantan Campus.”

When asked about how the location of the event or collaborations were planned, Korrina explained, “Originally Carnival Of Terror was held in the Cafeteria of our old campus. This year it didn’t feel right, so we took it to the quad. Unlike the previous years, this year we invited other departments to host activities, such as Campus Safety and the Language department.”

In an effort to embrace diversity and culture, Korrina thoughtfully incorporated decorations commonly associated with Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), infusing the event with vibrant colors and a sense of inclusivity.

In alignment with our commitment to celebrating the rich diversity of our student body at NYU Shanghai, the Carnival of Terror made a deliberate effort to use inclusivity by drawing inspiration from a variety of cultures. For example, Korrina used decorations typically used during Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) to incorporate diversity and culture. Utilizing handmade colored paper hanging across the quad and the flowers at the stage, she created a very inclusive and colorful atmosphere. 

Photo: Cheng Zhang

In response to the question about the process of designing and creating haunted houses and attractions, Korrina elaborates on the approach they took, “As for the process for designing things, we usually start out brainstorming a theme, scouting a space, then going step by step from there on to my specific details. This year we worked with thespians so we could make this year’s haunted house more of an experience. I’m so proud of my assistant directors Daniel Woc, Leena Chang, and Jessie Wu for leading this aspect of the event. It’s surprising how far a fog machine, some spooky lighting and fake blood can get you haha.”

Photo: Cheng Zhang

The Carnival of Terror also had a variety of appetizing treats with vendors such as HomeSlice, La Matcha, Green & Safe, Smokey, and 1991 Trading Co., offering a wide selection of food and drinks to keep the energy levels high throughout the night.

Photo: Sisi Wang

The Student Government also introduced the Squid Games for the first time into the evening’s entertainment. Participants engaged in a battle of wits and courage with Red Light, Green Light, reminiscent of the popular K-Drama Netflix TV series, offering an adrenaline rush to participants like no other. 

Century Avocado took the stage with a captivating performance set to the tunes of “Kiss it Better,” “Nirvana,” “Positions,” and “Seven.” Meanwhile, SOS dance club delighted the audience with their awesome dance moves choreographed to the songs “DNA” and a dynamic mashup of 2NE1 hits. As the crowd gathered on the grass, cheers and support for their fellow performers echoed through the night.

The Costume Contest winners, Sophomore Jason Wang and Freshman Jenny Tan, were a sight to behold, showcasing their creativity and commitment to the Halloween spirit. When asked about their costumes, Jason stated, “We are the Chinese ghost bride and demon slayer, our inspiration for our costumes comes from the rich Chinese tradition of dealing with the supernatural. In the spirit of Halloween, we have delved into the realm of Chinese ghost stories and demon-slaying to bring an authentic experience.”

Natalya Charlemagne for On Magnolia Square

As the night unfolded, it was clear that NYU Shanghai’s first Carnival of Terror at the Qiantan campus was a great success. Attendees revealed the spooky delights, thrilling attractions, and a sense of unity and belonging that defined the event. With a promise of even more chilling surprises in the future, this annual carnival has firmly established itself as a must-attend event on the NYU Shanghai calendar.

Thrilled about the success of the event, Korrina concluded, “Overall I’m proud of what my committee was able to accomplish and I’m so happy to see everyone post how much fun they had at the event, super rewarding! Hope to see everyone at our next festival in December called Dumpling Fest!” NYU Shanghai’s first Carnival of Terror at the Qiantan campus not only exceeded expectations but also fostered a strong sense of community and excitement, it has established itself as a highly anticipated annual event on the NYU Shanghai calendar.