Kerry Kass

Nanaimo haunted house offers up final scare

NANAIMO – Island Haunt Productions says this year’s Beban Park Halloween attraction will be the last.

This year will spell the last time Island Haunt Productions puts on its haunted house at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Exhibition fairgrounds.

A Halloween fixture at Beban Park for about 15 years, Stephen Kass, who owns Island Haunt and operates the haunted house with wife Kerry, said it has become time consuming.

Kass said they also own Halloween retail stores InCharacter Costume and Novelties and when the haunting began, they only had one store. Now have three, with two in Victoria and he said he spends all of September and October in the provincial capital.

“I don’t get an opportunity to see my own haunted house except for Halloween night,” said Kass. “I do a lot of building and then I don’t get the pleasure of actually participating in my own haunted attraction. I’m getting close to 60 years old now, so it’s like, OK, maybe it’s just time to start considering passing the torch or … piece it out in my stores and go from there.”

Another consideration, Kass said, is the fact that Vancouver Island Exhibition is pursuing a plan to have barns on the site removed for a new agricultural centre and if that takes place, there won’t be a site for the house.

Past themes have included asylum and nightmares and Kass said this year’s, aptly named “The Final Chapter,” is a greatest hits package of sorts.

“What’s interesting this year is we don’t have a theme per se. We just called it The Final Chapter because it’s how we call an ‘eclectic collection of rooms and scares’ that we feel was the best over the last 10 to 15 years and we just tried to put them in somewhat of a logical order … the best of,” said Kass.

For Kerry Kass, it will be sad to end the attraction.

“It’s just the way progress goes and maybe once all the grounds are changed, and things work out, maybe we get to come back,” she said.

The “final chapter” officially begins Friday and Saturday (Oct. 21-22) running from 7-11 p.m., then starting Tuesday (Oct. 25), doors will be open every night until Halloween.

Tickets are $10 and available only at the door. Please go to www.islandhaunt.com.

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