Legend has it that a short ways down Timberlands Road, there is a house of horrors so terrifying that locals don’t dare go near: Huard’s Haunted House.
For the past nine years, Shandra Huard and her husband have terrified the community by transforming their property into a haunted house.
“When I met my husband, we did our first little yard haunt on Oakley Street,” Huard said. “I told him what I wanted to do, I said ‘well you walk on stilts. Why don’t you put your stilts on, and we’ll put a costume on you, and you can pretend to be a robot. Then when they pass you, you can chase them out of the yard. That got him hooked.”
The next step was setting up a haunted house in their trailer-park sized backyard. They had more than 100 metres of covered tunnel for patrons to walk through.
“People started giving us money. We said, ‘no, we do this for fun, we don’t take money.’ And they said, ‘no, you’re taking money.’ We decided there’s other people that need it more than us, so we started giving to the youth bowlers at Brechin Lanes,” Huard said.
As Huard’s Haunted House grew, they had the capacity to give to other groups. They have donated to the Ladysmith Secondary School band program, the McNabb family, the Ladysmith and Nanaimo food banks, the Vancouver Island Mental Health Association, the Duncan Sea Cadets, and the Vancouver Island Raiders.
A point of pride for home haunters is how many people they can scare, and how many people they can get to pee their pants.
“Last year we had 41 who had a code yellow, and we had one code brown. So far this year we’ve had four code yellows,” Huard said.
She said her favourite thing about the haunted house is the laughter she hears when people make it out of the house. Beyond her haunted home, Huard has found an extensive online community of home haunters from around the world. Huard is a member of the Canadian Haunters Association, and is president of the Vancouver Island, B.C. chapter.
“There are hundreds of sites out there,” she said. “I have this one group I chat with on a weekly basis, sometimes twice a week, where we’re talking with people from Canada, the States, and Australia. We talk about everything – it’s gotten to the point where we know each other’s kids, and we celebrate birthdays.”
All of the ‘creatures’ at Huard’s are volunteers. Although they don’t get paid in cash, they get food, and the thrill of scaring strangers.
“We do this for the community. We want people to know that we love people, we want to make sure our community grows, and we don’t do this as a negative thing, but as a positive thing for the community,” Huard said.
Huards will be open from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 21-31. It is located at 1702 Timberlands Rd. Admission is by donation.