Brianna Garcia ’25 has been attending Mount Saint Mary’s University’s annual Haunted Campus since before she was born. “I’ve been going ever since I was in my mother’s womb,” she says, laughing.
As a child, Garcia favored dressing up as Disney princesses and — along with her cousin — looked forward to trick-or-treating at the historic mansions along Chester Place. She recalls the kindness of students and faculty who handed out candy and admired her costumes — but mostly she remembers the candy. “They gave out huge lollipops, and my cousin and I always looked forward to them,” she says.
Over the years, Garcia outgrew her love of Disney princesses and began dressing up as other characters, including comic book heroes and villains. One year she was Batwoman; another year she and her cousin dressed up as the Joker and Harley Quinn.
Eventually, Garcia and her cousin were old enough to wander around the campus without parental supervision.
“When I was younger, I thought that people lived in the houses,” Garcia says. “I didn’t realize that the houses were part of Mount Saint Mary’s University. Then, when I was in elementary school, my grandma told me that it was an all-woman's university, and I found that to be so empowering.”
Garcia decided then and there that she wanted to be a student at the Mount — and this year her dream became a reality: She enrolled as a first-year student in biology and hopes to become a dermatologist.
What Garcia remembers most about the Haunted Campus — besides the candy — is the energy and sense of community. “Everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime,” she says.
Garcia has been fortunate enough to attend the Haunted Campus every year of her life, save for one year when it was too crowded. And although the event has been canceled two years in a row due to COVID, she hopes to return not only as a participant but an organizer.
“It would mean a lot to me to get involved in the event for the next generation of kids,” she says. “I remember my mom dancing with me while we waited in line, so I would love to introduce something like arts and crafts to keep kids entertained while they wait.”