illustration: Pretty Sleepy Art/Pixabay

Scare Up Frightful Fun at These Alberta Halloween Haunts

By Craig Moy

Though it’s no zombie apocalypse (thank goodness!), the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly given us a bit of a scare. Yet despite it all, Albertans are looking forward to an even more frightful affair—Halloween. The spooky season will no doubt be different than in year’s past, but there are still many ways to safely see ghouls, ghosts and goblins at Halloween events across the province.

Read on to discover some of our favourites, and rest assured that events producers are taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including strict sanitization protocols and mask mandates for all performers and guests. Many events are also limiting admission via timed tickets. Book yours in advance—and prepare to be scared!

Cowtown’s premier Halloween event has been reimagined as a drive-in experience. Guests select from three distinct productions—including a family-friendly option—that can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of your vehicle. If you’ve been waiting for a reason to get a car wash, book the “extreme immersive experience,” which gives performers permission to slather your windows with fake blood, guts and goo.

Throughout October, a giant warehouse in Vegreville is haunted with all manner of ghastly phantoms and menacing creatures, just waiting to terrorize unsuspecting Albertans as the sun goes down. Families who prefer milder scares can partake in an afternoon walkthrough instead, or check out the nearby Vegreville Corn Maze for harvest-season fun.

Tickets for Fort Edmonton Park’s chilling ghost walk have already sold out, but paranormal investigators can suss out spectres online with Dark Escape: Haunts of the Selkirk. The 60-minute virtual experience takes you on a ghost-busting mission through the halls of the Hotel Selkirk. Evict the unwanted guest before it takes up residence in your own nightmares!

Get two terrifying experiences at this annual scare-a-thon: the indoor Area 51 houses untold numbers of unspeakable horrors, while the outdoor Dusk walk takes visitors through an eerie New Orleans-style cemetery. Entry tickets are available at the door, but to avoid long, physically distanced lineups, consider advance-purchasing a timed-entry speed pass.

Get in on the ghoulish fun just outside Grande Prairie, as dark magic transforms Nitehawk Adventure Park’s ski chalet into a howlingly frightening haunted house. Fear not, however: it’s all in good fun—and a lighter “soft scare” experience is available for more timid guests.

Southern Alberta scare seekers can converge on the village of Warner, southeast of Lethbridge, for thrills and chills on the Halloween-crazed Reimer family’s haunted acreage. Featuring thousands of props—many of which were handmade by the Reimers—the creepy tour’s fright factor is customizable for each group of guests, making it a Halloween favourite for all ages.

100% WOLF
Looking for more light-hearted Halloween fun? If you’re comfortable visiting a (limited-capacity) movie theatre, the animated film 100% Wolf might just become your family’s new seasonal favourite. The flick follows Freddy Lupin, a proud werewolf cub who finds himself transformed into a decidedly non-threatening poodle. AMA members save on movie tickets for Cineplex and Landmark cinemas.

While trick-or-treating may be different this year, and larger Halloween parties are not recommended, there’s certainly no excuse for not getting into the spirit of the season with a fabulous (or frightful) costume. Calgary’s The Costume Shoppe has more than 15,000 outfits for every reveler—from Paw Patrol pups to fairytale princesses to peas in a pod—and AMA members save 10% on all purchases, in-store or online.

Keep your youngsters safe without sacrificing the sweetness of trick or treating by creating an in-home candy safari. Set up spooky treat stations with Halloween-themed favourites from Rocky Mountain Chocolate. AMA members save 10% in-store and online.