This year’s Parkland Community Centre Haunted House might have been its best yet, say its professional petrifiers.
Held over the weekend (Oct. 25-27), the spooky maze and adjoining kids’ area saw hundreds of locals scream and jump at the terrors on offer.
Rhosa Miller, Lian Wiggins and Kerry Onanski have been working together for two years, but the delightfully devious event has been held for a hair-raising decade.
“We started doing it at [Parkdale Elementary],” says Wiggins, “but once we had the community centre open, we moved it over here.”
She says she was inspired by a haunted house she visited many years ago.
“It was in a garage, and I took the kids and they scared them so bad,” she says with a grin. “It was so much fun, and since then, I’ve been hooked.”
The community centre was unrecognizable, with every inch of the space covered in skeletons and witches and pumpkins and other terrors too frightening for the pages of this newspaper.
A maze was available for the bravest of visitors with the strongest of hearts.
“Scarers” were hiding behind every corner, blending in with the dozens of mannequins or behind props, ready to pop out at the freakiest opportunity.
“The actors are students, and Kerry’s involved with the Pathfinders and Brownies, so we had some people from that,” says Wiggins, “but many of them are just people who have scared in the past who keep coming back to scare some more.”
Miller nods her head in agreement.
“We’ve got a few of the parents who have wanted to be scarers too, so they go ahead and do it as well. It’s great!” she says.
Miller was serving up slightly toned-down frights in the kids’ corner/cafeteria set up for those who are waiting to enter the petrifying maze or for the smaller folk who would prefer not to have as many nightmares for the foreseeable future.
While the room is not quite as spine-tingling, it had many an unsettling prop lying about.
“The kids can touch and feel everything, so everything makes a noise or moves,” says Miller.
“I have a hand that crawls across the table, fingers that move, a head that moves back and forth and its eyes light up, a Frankenstein that will sing to you and a mirror where a face will show up if you push a button.”
She also had some delicious rice crispy squares on offer, as well as many other snacks, as getting spooked can burn many calories.
Onanski was just as pumped as her partners.
“It’s extraordinary fun,” she says, “especially when you hear people who are walking through scream! That’s the best part of it all.”