By Anna Smith
Killer clowns, serial killers from the silver screen, and quite a few fog machines make their home in the Suntaira greenhouse for the Redcliff Youth Centre’s Glass House Haunting.
This year marks the fourth iteration of the event, said Janae Ulrich, Executive Director of the Redcliff Youth Centre, and is one of the many fundraisers that take place over the course of the year to make their programming possible.
“100 per cent of the proceeds raised go directly back into supporting our educational and recreational programs, as well as life skill and mental health building programs for our vulnerable youth population. We currently have 365 units that are registered with our agency,” said Ulrich.
The event is made possible by the centre’s sponsors, the Medicine Hat Kinsmen Club, Slick Inspection, Rocc Lending and Services, UFA, and of course, Suntaira themselves for lending their greenhouse for the haunt.
The event takes about a month to set up, said Ulrich, and an additional month to tear down after the fact, with about two and a half weeks in between to scare visitors and have fun.
“The kids are part of the entire planning and facilitation process. There’s a lot of kids that are in there scaring a lot of our volunteers and sponsors as well to help us run and facilitate things which is really nice,” said Ulrich. The youths are involved in every aspect of the haunt, from coming up with concepts, set up and take down, making popcorn and cotton candy, and of course, donning costumes to creep up on unsuspecting haunt-goers.
Doing the scaring is easily the best part, agreed Youth Centre volunteer and self-proclaimed “cool guy” Cash Coombs, as well as volunteer Barton Toma.
“I like getting the screams out. I like haunting people. I like creeping behind them,” said Toma. “I am very respectful to the ones – especially the ones who have kids – that are crying, when I can hear them coming. I do hide myself and I make myself disappear. So they don’t see me, but this is one of the best times of year for me.”
Suntaira is also hosting a raffle as part of the festivities, and tickets for that and the 50/50 draw are available both online and at the front of the Haunting, which will continue each Tuesday to Saturday until Halloween night.
“The haunted house itself is immaculate, it is almost 20,000 square feet here. It is huge. Takes about 15 minutes to go through,” said Ulrich. She recommends that people with young children who might want to tour the haunted house show up early, while the sun is still out, as the “spook factor” is amplified significantly after dark.
Tickets are $5 a person, or $15 for a family of four, or $3 with the donation of a non perishable food bank item. The facility is open from 6-10 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday, 6-11 p.m. Friday – Saturday, and will be open from 4-8 p.m. on Oct. 31.