“The goal [of Planet SOS] is to educate and inspire, not just scare… It’s supposed to scare people into changing their habits,” says Ali Kaufman, founder and CEO of Space of Mind. “We’re going to tell the story through the lens of our own experience, so everyone here [in South Florida] can relate to it. We look at sea level rise, rising temperatures, the impact of toxic chemicals in the air, [and] what happens if the food supply and ecosystem are depleted.”
Space of Mind’s academic theme this year is “Our Planet, Our Health.” For Halloween, the students learned about environmental risk factors in their science classes, creating research reports and using evidence-based research skills. The reports were then turned into scripts and storyboarded to make science documentaries, which will be featured at the haunted house. In the humanities classes, students translated the scientific facts they gleaned from research and wrote horror stories for Planet SOS.
This is Space of Mind’s fifth-annual haunted house, and while earlier events earned a reputation as frightening, Kaufman says this version may be the scariest yet: "The reality is — and this is supported by this year’s climate report — that it’s down to ten years to solve this problem. This year’s haunted house is based on the present and the future, and the real facts are superhauntingly real,” she says.
Despite the evidence, which is documented unequivocally in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report released earlier this October, many in the current U.S. government continue to deny the effects of climate change. Kaufman wishes all politicians, Republican and Democrat, could come to Planet SOS.
“For those who do not believe the evidence is real, the kids can educate them on how they learned research skills and gathered facts and why they are not made up," she says. "And the politicians on the side of environmental science will be proud of the kids and how they communicate this message.”
Planet SOS Haunted House. 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 26, at Space of Mind Campus, 102 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; findspaceofmind.com. Admission is free; onsite attractions cost $2 to $8.