Blocked
Blocked
We can't go that way
Abduction
Abduction
Mysterious lights
Alone
Alone
Hiding in the corner
Presence
Presence
Don't look, or it takes you
Growing
Growing
An unnatural growth
Containment
Containment
How long will the glass hold?
Faceless
Faceless
Slender Rises

Print – 2011

Halloween haunts scare up frightful amounts for charity

smartin@yrmg.com
If you’re in the market for scaring people this Halloween, a routine jack-o-lantern may not cut it.
A growing group of Halloween fans who go all out, using their time, money and imagination to make their homes scary each year, have upped the ante significantly.
Some spend thousands, while others make do with old items they find around the house or buy online.
No matter their method, all seem to have a charitable bent to their thirst for Halloween horror.
Here’s a sampling of a few of the best ones around.
***
It all started off innocently enough for Richard Young.
Ten years ago, the Markham resident simply dressed up and handed out candy.
“It was more of a cumulative effect. A few small things every year,” he said. “People come to expect something.”
What they expect from Mr. Young, to put it politely, is to have the candy scared out of them.
Most of Mr. Young’s terrifying creatures are handmade from wood, chicken wire, newspaper and what ever else he can find.
He than makes them move by attaching various motors, pneumatics and motion sensors. “I spend a lot of time on Kijiji and eBay looking for stuff,” he said. “Cost is definitely a factor. Paying the mortgage and putting food on the table is what I’m more concerned about.”
Mr. Young’s has made his two-car garage into a labyrinth of terror. In total, he has 15 homemade characters to illicit screams from patrons who are gluttonous for terror, like the morgue bag that sits up from a horizontal position.
He calls his concoction the Legacy of Horror as it is in the Legacy neighbourhood on 6 Red Ash Dr. The street will be closed to vehicles to make it safe for the children, he said. Candy was donated by Walmart and Longos. Mr. Young is raising money for the Hospital for Sick Children. “The nicest thing is what we’re doing is collaborative effort with the neighbourhood,” he said. “The community looks forward to the roller coaster ride.”
Check out the website at www.legacyofhorror.org
If you have seen Thornhill’s Phillip Galin this past week, there’s a good chance he was out on his driveway on 71 Chopin Blvd. constructing his famed “Tunnel of Terror.”
The 40-foot tunnel up the driveway is full of ghosts, zombies, thunder, lightning and various sound systems. He will also have nine fog machines going, an animated graveyard and enough candy to fill a pickup truck.
Mr. Galin has been doing this for five years. “Sometimes I ask myself ‘why am I doing this’,” he said, as the temperatures dove towards freezing Thursday night.
But his passion for giving something memorable to kids won out, he said. Mr Galin’s latest prop, Beware Crow, is a half-dead guy on a stake powered by pneumatics. It cost around $3,000. He said he receives lots of corporate donations so he can afford to make his front yard into the scary playground of Thornhill.
He’s hoping a large crowd turns up this year as he is raising money for the Yellow Brick House. Check out his website at www.71chop-in.com
Just down the road from Mr. Galin’s place is Chris Ainsworth’s gigantic Thornhill Woods Haunted House. Mr. Ainsworth is the closest thing to a professional. In fact, he’s the president of the Canadian Haunters Association.
He takes the week before Halloween off work.
“Once you get bit by the Halloween bug you try and improve and better yourself,” he said. He started doing the haunted house on the corner of Thornhill Woods Drive and Krisbury Avenue in 2004.
“Every year it grows,” he said. “I’ve always got to keep changing it to make it bigger and better.”
To do this he attends trade shows in the United States to keep up on products that are available. This year, he said his haunt is focused on his patrons’ biggest fears.
“I sent a mass e-mail out to friends of us on Facebook ,” he said.
People were most scared of spiders, snakes, claustrophobia and the dark so he has embedded them into his five-room haunt. Aside from that, Mr. Ainsworth has an animated graveyard with surround sound.
How scary is Mr. Ainsworth’s place? “I hate to say it. We actually had one lady pee her pants,” he said.
Mr. Ainsworth will have a donation box set up to raise money for Sick Kids Hospital. Check out his website at www.thornhillhauntedhouse.com
Scaring children isn’t just for people who are old enough to have a driver’s license. Thirteen-year-old Daniel Giovanni and his friend 15-year-old Roman Kleyn would rather scare people than stuff their pillow cases full of Oh Henry! and Mars bars. “We’re pretty successful at scaring people,” said Daniel.
This will be the fifth year the Vault of Fears will be set up at 30 Miriam Garden Way in Thornhill.  Daniel and Roman are raising money for the Sick Kids of Toronto Herbie Fund. The haunt is a scary walk-through garage maze with props and live actors. A lot of the props were donated by Spirit Halloween in Toronto, said Daniel.
“My mom doesn’t want to walk around and look at the props,” he said. “We go all out. But we’re not obnoxious.”  Check out the website at www.vaultoffears.tk

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