For the third straight year, a Red Deer family has built a haunted house to bring some Halloween scares to their neighbourhood.
Victory Shewchuk and her husband Nick Rooyakkers transformed their backyard into a space of horror for Halloween – the haunted house was also open Saturday night as well.
“I love the thrill of Halloween and the scare factor. I actually specialize in special effects and gore makeup. That was my thing for a while and now this is my new thing,” Shewchuk told The Advocate on Sunday, the day before Halloween.
Shewchuk, who has lived in Red Deer for eight years, grew up in Carstairs.
“Family friends of mine there did a haunted house every year that I helped out with,” Shewchuk explained.
“At first, I wanted to do this in Red Deer to share my love of Halloween.
“I love seeing the reactions people have when they drive by and see the (giant inflatable) cat in our front yard. It’s all a lot of fun.”
On Halloween, the haunted house at 44 Cornett Dr. in the Clearview Meadows neighbourhood is open from 2-5 p.m. for children. From 5-9 p.m., volunteer actors will be inside the haunted house to create a more frightening atmosphere.
“On Saturday night, we had four teenage girls just from our neighbourhood come out and volunteer,” said Shewchuk.
The haunted house has grown significantly over the past few years, she added.
“It’s grown, not just in terms of the size of the haunted house, but also with how many people we get coming out. In our first year, we had maybe 30 kids and last year we had over 200,” said Shewchuk.
“I really think it’s awesome we have so many people in our community donating candy and donating time. That really speaks to the character of our community. I appreciate it so much.”
Overall, it takes about a month to put the haunted house together.
“It’s mostly just me and my husband that do all of the work. He handles the technical, electrical stuff and the really heavy lifting.”
Shewchuk, a stay-at-home mom, and Rooyakkers, an instrumentation technician, have two children: three-year-old Victory and four-year-old Antonius.
“They’re obsessed with Halloween. They were both in the haunted house (Saturday night) scaring people,” Shewchuk said with a laugh.
Rooyakkers added: “Last year they decided to cut trick or treating early so they can come home to scare people.”