Michelle Marentette’s annual Halloween haunted house is so popular you could say it’s a scream.
The local scare-monger is set to assemble her fourth major haunted house in Kitimat at her home at 35 Finch Street. Using a tent which covers her driveway, she opens up the attraction for youth and adults to make their way through a dimly lit maze like corridor, full of gory scenes and even real people hiding in the corners, waiting to draw out a scream or two from visitors.
This year Marentette plans to make the first room of her haunted tour closed off with black sheets, leaving people with a challenging time to see anything — at least not until being pounced on by an actor also in black clothing.
Marentette started making her ghoulish attraction after noticing a significant decline in the celebration of Halloween. Homes aren’t as decorated as they once were, there are fewer people handing out candy, and when kids do dress up it’s in something decidedly non-scary, like a princess costume.
“I love Halloween, it’s my favourite time of year,” she said. “I started to notice that people weren’t really celebrating it anymore.”
She continued, “It’s almost like the scariness has been taken out of Halloween…I felt the need to bring Halloween back.”
Marentette herself has always enjoyed the thrill of being scared and is a fan of horror movies. She said she has a blast putting the house together along with her friends. In all it takes about a week to get everything just right.
“People love it around town,” she said. “There was about 400 people [last year].”
A door person is even needed to make sure not too many people go in at one time.
“People, I think, talked about my Halloween house for at least two months after Halloween.”
Once inside the house you may find heads hanging from the ceiling, a scene from a butcher’s shop, and people under tables grabbing at your legs.
Her main theme on the porch this year is witches.
Marentette still gets a laugh thinking about the scares the house gave people last year. She had a person positioned under her porch to reach for people and she said many people’s first reaction is to kick back.
“I love hearing the screams and the looks on their faces,” she said. “I had so many people run out of the haunted house last year.”
Marentette isn’t the only person in Kitimat with the Halloween spirit. Chery Willis will be putting the finishing touches on her Halloween stage at 66 Partridge. Not as “interactive” as Marentette’s (meaning you won’t be chased by a monster), Willis has been putting on a Halloween scene in her garage for as long as she can remember. Kids who went through her displays are now going through with their own kids, to give you an idea of her longevity.
This year’s theme will be an ice cream and soda shop — operated by a staff of evil clowns.
She said they hand out homemade cookies to kids who come to the display with their parents.
Work on the display is still ongoing so specifics weren’t ready to be revealed.
She said they usually have well over 100 visitors to their home.
Halloween is on Oct. 31, next Wednesday.