Scary Harry (Andy Karcher)

Scary Harry (Andy Karcher)

Halloween events aim to horrify, terrorize

NANAIMO – Nowhere is safe in a city where terror lurks around every dark corner.

The thing that lurked under your bed when you were a kid? It was real and there’s a real possibility you’ll come face to face with it at Beban Park.

There’s no “happily ever after” waiting at the end of Scary Tales, this year’s show at Island Haunt Productions’ Haunted House at the Vancouver Island Exhibition grounds in Beban Park. Twisted children’s tales will awaken those terrors you thought you’d safely entombed in your childhood and have them scrabbling from their hiding places to claw in the darkness at your mind and soul.

“We let people decide how suitable it is for their children,” said Kerry Kass, Island Haunt Productions co-owner. “We’re not for the faint at heart, that’s for sure.”

Scenes and actors place their grisly stamp on nursery rhymes and give that special extra something missing from the slightly sanitized modern versions of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. Never before have things gone quite so horrifically for Little Red Riding Hood and, oh, if you’re tempted by Little Miss Muffet to join her on her tuffet to share some of her curds and whey? Not a good idea.

“We’re actually just making them the way they were meant to be,” Kass said.

Visiting hours are 7-11 p.m. until Halloween night (Oct. 31).

Cost is $9 per person and Island Haunt Productions will donate the admission cost of anyone who can’t make it all the way through Scary Tales to the charity of their choice. Strangely, Kass wasn’t prepared to say what became of previous visitors who chickened out part way through the house.

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Meanwhile, rumour has it there are some nasty things shambling around in the woods south of Nanaimo.

That’s where a deputy went missing and the sheriff has been rustling up search parties to go out and find the missing lawman.

The hitch is the sheriff always seem to forget to mention the searchers might have to shoot their way out to save their hides from all those zombies with a serious hankering for a little something to snack on.

“It’s basically live theatre in the forest,” said Jen Yarnell, co-owner of Company Z Paintball Adventures. “So it’s not just random going out and shooting zombies. It’s a scripted scenario. We’ve transformed the forest into backwoods Louisiana.”

The sheriff, played by an actor, leads groups of 12 people through the forest. They’ll meet characters who reveal parts of the story and rely on their trusty paintball guns to fight their way through zombie ambushes.

“There’s lots of really cool props and fog and sounds and all sorts of stuff and we’ve built up this really cool moonshiner’s compound where the final showdown is,” Yarnell said.

The story plays out on eight hectares leased on 20-hectare Takala Trail Ranch located at the end of Takala Road just north of Ladysmith.

The event is recommended for people 14 and older and apparently you can hear the screams of participants enjoying themselves emanating from the woods. Yarnell swears all visitors have been accounted for, so far.

Events for Halloween run Thursday to Saturday (Oct. 31 to Nov. 2).

For prices and more information, please visit the company website at

Pint-size ghouls and goblins 12 and under can cash in on candy and treats at Woodgrove Centre Halloween (Oct. 31) 4:30-5:30 p.m. Please donate $1 at the one of the candy stations at the main mall entrances to support Nanaimo Crime Stoppers.

You might as well make the rounds. Halloween at Naniamo North Town Centre happens 4-5 p.m. Thursday when children under 12 will get Halloween treats a the shopping centre and grown-ups can win $25 gift cards. Entry forms are at Nanaimo Crime Stoppers displays in the mall.

Country Club Centre is also supporting Nanaimo Crime Stoppers with suggested $1 donations when it hosts Halloween Trick or Treat Thursday 4-5 p.m. Again, for children under 12 accompanied by adults.

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