Fright Nights at the Arboretum began with monster music and classics. Attendees could be seen dancing and laughing along to Thriller, waiting for Frankenstein to begin.
Before the movie began, graduate students Nicole Garrison and Rebecca Godwin with the AU Bio Lab took children, adults and spider enthusiasts on a guided tour of spiders through the Arboretum.
Children crowded in next to one another, looking over the Arboretum path at a sheet-web spider.
“Kids are so curious, they are so interested and they want to learn,” Godwin said, “And if you can start that curiosity and that interest when they are young, that will shape how they view things going forward.”
Some children said they were both scared and excited by the spiders at the same time.
The Davis Arboretum was chosen for this venue because it is a natural amphitheater, Whitney Morris, aquatics and special events coordinator, said.
Two of the attendees, Hannah Joiner and Caity Minehardt were spread in front of the screen with a picnic basket full of food.
“[Fright Nights] was born out of a desire to collaborate with the Arboretum, and thereby the University, on more events,” Morris said.
Joiner described the event as relaxing and family friendly.
“There definitely should be more involvement between the community and the campus,” Minehardt said. “Little things like this really help.”
The series chosen for Fright Nights at the Arboretum was old monster movies. This includes Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Dracula.
“We decided to go with more of a classic theme for our first time around,” Morris said, “The series is meant to appeal to a wide variety of ages, from young adults and students to families and retirees.”
Surrounding the movie screen were families on blankets and fold-out chairs. Dogs too accompanied moviegoers to Frankenstein.
“I love that it is in black and white, I think that’s what really drew me to [the event],” Minehardt said.
Every upcoming fright night will also include a presentation, similar to the spider walk, put on by a department in the University before the screening of the movie.
“Even if you have never seen a black and white monster movie, you can understand the importance and impact they have on our modern movie culture,” Morris said.
Talk has already begun on next year’s movie lineups.