The Halloween spirit is alive, well and spooky at two Elmira locations offering up haunted houses in keeping with the fast-approaching day.
EDSS drama teacher DJ Carroll has been doing a haunted house each year for three decades. This time around, he’s put together a theme based on the 2011 movie Cowboys & Aliens. It’ll be what he calls an “interactive Halloween” experience.
“If anybody’s watched the really cheesy sci-fi movie, the aliens are going to be coming out of the western town and the kids have to help defend the town of Elmira from that. They’ll be helping the sheriff defend the town,” Carroll said.
The first haunted house will be set up at Carroll’s home at 14 Limera Ave. in Elmira, with the first “show” at about 5:30 p.m. and running every 15 or 20 minutes until 8 or 8:30 p.m.
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“For me Halloween is like my Christmas. Other people get really up to decorating [at Christmas]. Me, it’s about Halloween. It’s about having fun. It’s about giving kids something fun to do on that night. A chance for the families to come out and just hang out for a few minutes and just interact and have some fun,” Carroll added.
The second haunted house will be at the Bristow Inn and will involve a butcher’s room theme. Yo Wang, who’s been doing a haunted house for 20 years, says there while be some scary elements to what he is doing, there won’t be anything over the top, despite the theme.
“There’s scared where we’re terrified and we can’t sleep at night – it’s something that’s unpleasant. For me, I’m talking about that scary feeling where your heart is beating, you have that enjoyment of being startled. Maybe something does scare you, but then you laugh after and that’s the type of feeling that I like and that’s also the type of feeling that I try to allow the kids in our community to enjoy,” he said.
“It’s not something where I want the kids to not be able to sleep at night. It’s more that they are able to scream but then also laugh at our house and they’d be able to kind of enjoy and talk about it with their friends the next day,” he added.
Wang will also be collecting donations for Food4Kids Waterloo Region, a charity that provides food to kids in need during the weekends and school holidays, including summer break.
“If you’ve enjoyed our display, we will have a bin for cash donations on site and we will donate 100 per cent of the money,” he said.
Although it may not be visible, not every child in the region has enough to eat, Wang said.
“In Woolwich I think we can get the false impression that everyone has equal access to food. At least for me at EDSS when I went there…I didn’t really have an encounter with poverty at our school and in our community. I didn’t have too many opportunities to see that as well,” he said
“There’s at least 3,000 kids in our community in the greater Waterloo Region community who do not have access to a nutritious meal. So I think it’s definitely something that’s important for us to be able to come together and help the kids that are just next door that we may or might not see,” he added.