Michelle Marentette outside the beginnings of her haunted house in Kitimat, which she’s been doing every Halloween for the past 12 years. (Clare Rayment)

Michelle Marentette outside the beginnings of her haunted house in Kitimat, which she’s been doing every Halloween for the past 12 years. (Clare Rayment)

Staying spooky and safe this Halloween in Kitimat

Most residents are still handing out candy and trying to make the best out of this year’s Halloween

Trick-or-treaters around Kitimat are planning for the big night and how to be safe on Halloween during the pandemic.

The overwhelming majority of Kitimatians who responded to a Facebook post by the Kitimat Northern Sentinel about residents’ Halloween plans said they’d be handing out candy on Halloween

“Handing out candy [with] mask and gloves,” Cynthia Wright wrote.

Shannan Creek said they’re “handing out candy then trick or treating after with all the kids.”

Some are taking other measures to adhere to COVID-19 protocols, such as Gwen Sheasgreen, who said she’d be “chilling in my carport with candy bags to hand out — no knocking on my door.”

A few people said that the trick-or-treating restrictions for this year didn’t bother then, as they had other plans with friends or family in their social bubble.

“We not handing out treats. Or Trick or Treating. [We’re having] our own party and fireworks too,” Tania Wilson said.

“My kids don’t want to go trick or treating. We typically visit family and go to the mall and the Halloween Howl at Riverlodge,” Vanessa Combden wrote. “This Halloween we are going to have our own party. We are going to watch movies with popcorn and glow sticks, make Halloween themed deserts and even dinner. I think dinner will be black chicken which shall be called “bat wings” lol.”

Some people mentioned that they would unfortunately not be participating or handing out candy this year due to they, themselves, or people in their bubble being in the high-risk category for COVID-19.

“I am in the high risk group so I will not be giving out candy,” Aprile Thompson commented.

“Lights out, and crime scene tape across my walkway. I love Halloween and seeing all the little ones in their costumes, so excited. But just to be safe I have to say no.”

Michelle Marentette has been hosting her annual haunted house at 35 Finch St. for over a decade, and said she’ll be doing it again this year, just with some restrictions in place.

READ MORE: Kitimat’s haunted houses readying to scare trick or treaters

The Haunted House will be one-way traffic with one family through at a time. Masks will be mandatory — but won’t be supplied — and there will be a PVC pipe candy shoot for the kids.

The haunted house starts with a dark hallway entrance and goes throughout her entire garage. She has statues, animatronics, lights, sounds, walls, and more in order to give people the full haunted house experience.

Everyone also gets a treat at the end and Marentette makes sure she gets enough for everyone who goes through — which, she said, is up to over 300 people some years.

This year, she has a circus theme, with clowns, sword-eaters, and other spooky circus-related tricks and treats. However, even though the haunted house has become much more elaborate in the past four years or so, she’s had to turn down the spookiness over the years because it was getting too scary for people to want to go through.

“I like the creepy horror movies and stuff like that, but I can’t do too scary anymore because of the little kids,” Marentette said. “It’s like, you don’t want to do all this decorating and set-up and then just have people standing around on the driveway because they’re too scared to go in.”

Marentette said she started the haunted house all those years ago because she felt people weren’t as enthusiastic about Halloween as they used to be, and she wanted to bring back the spooky and scary to the holiday.

“Halloween was dying,” Marentette said. “Yeah, it was like, nobody was handing out candy anymore, nobody was decorating. Stores were almost, like, you’d see Halloween stuff for a week and I just noticed it was turning into, like, even if you did see kids, it was all princess stuff and nothing was scary anymore!”

So, she decided to make Halloween scary again. She started off just doing some elaborate decorating, then over the years turned it into a full haunted house. And she said she started noticing more people decorating in the years after she began the haunted house.

“It was almost like Halloween was livening up again,” she said. “I kind of feel like I brought back the spirit of Halloween.”


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Halloween decorations at a house on Bartholomew St. (Clare Rayment)

Halloween decorations at a house on Bartholomew St. (Clare Rayment)

Halloween decorations at a house on Carswell St. (Clare Rayment photo)

Halloween decorations at a house on Carswell St. (Clare Rayment photo)

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