Halloween leapt into full swing on Friday night as the Merced College Theater Society hosted their inaugural Fright Night at the Merced College Theater. The festival consisted of three classic short horror films and a feature presentation of Tod Browning’s Dracula as students enjoyed an evening of scares.

The Merced College Theater was decked out in a full array of decorations, with spiders dangling from the stage rafters, cobwebs lining the entrance, trailing through the wings and covering the stage, ominous low-lighting and fog machines to add a touch of mystery to the scene.

“We wanted to bring the Theater Society out and show students that they have somewhere to go,” Theater Society President Anna Smith said. “It’s safe, it’s welcoming, and it’s an educational outlet that welcomes everyone.”

The club photo booth brought some light comedy with their various masks and themed props. As did their raffle, where they auctioned off a free photography session, gift cards donated from local businesses and special themed gift arrangements in celebration of Halloween.

Attendees were encouraged to come in costume and participate in a costume contest where they could show off their disguises with flair.

“Being involved in theater allows you to have interests in many things,” Theater Society Secretary Seska Gimlin said. “We’re a family, and that invites you to come in and try all the different parts of what makes a show run.”

The students say they plan on more themed events in the future. The Theater Society meets the first and third Mondays of every month in the lower level of the Theater Building. The meetings are held at 4:30 p.m. and anyone interested is welcome to come check them out.

-- Alessandria Pedretti