Things are getting spooking in the Lakeland area as Halloween approaches and a haunted house has opened its doors.
The Lakeland Haunted House, which was formally known as the Sherwood Park Haunted House, is back again but this time at a new location.
“This will be our fifth year doing it on a large scale,” Elizabeth Derby, who co-created Lakeland Haunted House with her friend Carmen Haywood. “We both love Halloween and we always decorated our front yard for Halloween and then we got into animatronics. It was always fun seeing kids and people coming to our house on Halloween to see it, but with Alberta weather, the animatronics started getting harmed.”
This year’s spook show has taken over a retail space in Aspen Plaza, on Lakeland Drive and Sherwood Drive, and pair is excited to show off their hard work this year.
“This year we decided to really get away from Alberta weather because it is cold and we decided to try to get a retail space,” Derby said. “It has been amazing to be inside and away from the weather this year and we expect it will be even busier this year than we’ve seen in the past.”
The haunted house does not use any live people in costumes in the displays and instead utilizes animatronics, decorations and atmosphere to give visitors some scares.
“Everything is animatronic or atmospheric and you can have 10-year-olds go through laughing or 10-year-olds that are afraid to walk through the door and it is really up to the kid and what they are comfortable with,” she said. “It is fun to see the kids go through bravely or turn around and – nope – right out of there.”
The Halloween tradition really is fun for all ages and everyone who comes through seems to really enjoy the annual setup, added Derby.
The Lakeland Haunted House is completely free to visit but visitors are encouraged to bring a donation to the Strathcona Food Bank or monetary donation to Zoe’s Animal Rescue. In 2018, the event brought in more than 1,500 pounds of non-perishables for the food bank.
Derby and Haywood noted they are really grateful this year for the new space and all the help they’ve received.
“Putting it on in the retail space this year was possible because we’ve had some great help and the landlord of the building has been very accommodating in allowing us to come in,” she said. “The owner of Panago Pizza is giving a $5 coupon for the first 25 families that donate each week.”
Everyone who donates at the haunted house will also be entered into a draw for a family feast from Panago, which includes two medium pizzas, salads, a drink and a family-sized cookie.
Visitors are also welcome to dress up before they come because it adds to the fun.
“We love seeing people dressed up when they come but we understand it can be harder for people wearing masks to see in the haunted house because of the dark lighting but we do encourage people to visit us dressed up in their costumes,” said Derby.
The haunted house opens on Friday, Oct. 18 and will run every night up to Halloween, including the big night.
It will operate on weekdays from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m and on Saturdays and Sundays from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. On the weekends from 3-5 p.m., organizers will turn the lights on in to allow younger kids to come through and enjoy it without being too scared.