Haunted town tours, ghostly scavenger hunts, trick or treating and a brand-new zombie apocalypse challenge are just some of the fun, family-friendly events planned for this year’s Ghostly Halloween weekend at Barkerville Historic Town and Park.
James Douglas, Barkerville’s public programming and global media development lead, says they have been hosting a Halloween event for close to 25 years. The event has changed and grown over the years, based on feedback from community members and visitors.
Halloween at Barkerville is focused on families, and the communities of Wells and Barkerville are a big part of the event.
“It started specifically as something we did for children who live in Wells, and the school kids still carve pumpkins, and we line the streets with them,” said Douglas. “A bunch of community members volunteer their time to help make it happen.”
This year’s Ghostly Halloween activities take place Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27.
Admission is $5 and includes all activities except for face painting. Children five and younger get in free.
There will be a ghostly scavenger hunt between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., face painting from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a Halloween hot dog bonfire from noon to 4 p.m., a monster-free haunted house between noon and 2 p.m., a spooky town tour from 1-2 p.m. and a super-scary haunted house between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Several merchants are open for business and are offering trick-or-treating stations, including the Barkerville Café and Visitor Centre (from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Cameron and Ames Blacksmith Shop (from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and Mason and Daly General Merchants (from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). L.A. Blanc Photo Studio will be open for Halloween portraits from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Douglas says very young children might get scared of the haunted house, but everything this weekend is meant to be fun and not too, too scary.
“It’s really designed for kids,” he said. “The whole point is it’s a family-friendly environment.”
Douglas says the Halloween event started to grow over the last 10 years, and the last few years, they’ve had around 500 people each day. The event used to take place Halloween night, but based on feedback, they switched it to the weekend before Halloween and made it a daytime event.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Douglas. “It’s the perfect time of year to come out to a town like Barkerville in the fall. It’s kind of spooky by its nature.”
A brand-new event for this year is the Ultimate Zombie Apocalypse Challenge, taking place each day at 3 p.m.
“It’s sort of reminiscent of games like Assassins that you might play at summer camp, but with a twist,” said Douglas.
The goal of the game is to stay alive. Humans must collect food and water tokens hidden throughout the town and avoiding being caught by zombies. Zombies must catch humans and collect brain tokens, and there are some surprise elements thrown in as well.
“This hour-long, adrenaline-pumping survival challenge is based on the classic predator-prey game, with an historic Halloween twist,” states the Facebook event. “Competitors will hunt or be hunted for a chance to collect some hauntingly great prizes.”
The challenge is for players aged 14 and older, and entry is limited. Tickets are $10 each and are only available by pre-sale at eventbrite.ca/e/barkervilles-ultimate-zombie-apocalypse-challenge-tickets-76836135951?aff=efbeventtix. Tickets include entry into the competition and admission to Barkerville Historic Town and Park and for the other Ghostly Halloween activities. Ticket sales close three days before the event.
First prize is a two-night stay in a Barkerville Cottage and a family admission pass to Barkerville, while second prize is one night in a Barkerville Cottage, a family lift pass to Barkerville’s Shamrock Tube Run and a Campfire Lunchbox package, and third prize is an annual family admission pass to Barkerville, two free nights of camping and a merchandise basket.
“So far, it’s been quite popular — we’re getting a lot of inquiries about it,” said Douglas.
For more information, call 1-888-994-3332.