skip to main content

Biology Halloween Open House

Scary fun for students and faculty at UM on Halloween

Patrick Allison, a PhD student of Ryan Garrick

Patrick Allison, a PhD student of Ryan Garrick, associate professor of biology, at the University of Mississippi Department of Biology Halloween Open House.


On Halloween, the University of Mississippi Department of Biology is hosting a spooky time at their second annual Halloween Open House. The open house is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 31 from 12 to 3 pm. 


“It is going to be another exciting and productive Halloween Open House of the Biology Department,” said Sixue Chen, chair and professor of biology. “It does take everyone’s effort to make this happen.” 


The Halloween Open House will feature a walk through the haunted River Lab of Doom. The lab in Shoemaker 331 was established by Cliff Ochs, professor emeritus of biology, who conducts research along the Mississippi River.


Dr. Colin Jackson

Colin Jackson, professor of biology attends the University of Mississippi Department of Biology Halloween Open House.

According to Colin Jackson, professor of biology, legend has it that covens of witches practiced dark rites in the swamps of the river. Ochs unknowingly brought back the remaining spirits and other denizens of the Mississippi River with his samples. While the lab was active, the creatures stayed hidden, but now that the lab is retired and abandoned, they have found the lab to be their new home. 


“Dare you enter the haunted River Lab of Doom!” the biology department flyer warns. 


The open house will also feature a scavenger hunt, where students can follow clues through Shoemaker Hall and explore different labs, research demonstrations, and opportunities in the department.  


“It is a fun way to make biology exciting and inspiring to our biology majors (especially freshmen) and pretty much anyone interested in life and sciences,” Chen said.  


Other activities include a crawfish and snake show and raffles for prizes. The open house also provides students and prospective students the opportunity to tour the labs and talk to Biology faculty about courses and future career paths.  


Carol Britson, Instructional Professor of Biology

Carol Britson, instructional professor of biology, and students at the 2022 Department of Biology Halloween Open House.

In establishing the Halloween Open House, the biology department wanted to foster a sense of community and family for biology students, faculty, and staff. “The primary goal of planning the event last year was to celebrate our biology majors and build a sense of community,” operations coordinator Candece Stewart said. “It is important to establish a welcoming and open department where students have the opportunity to converse with each other and with faculty.”  


Chen added, “Importantly, we want our students to have a memorable Halloween time with our big family. We would like to continue that sentiment this year.”  


The biology tent will be set up in front of Shoemaker Hall with pizza. Additionally, the department welcomes everyone in the university to enjoy and participate in the events.