A huge animatronic werewolf is the star of this year’s Zed Haunted House, which will run from Oct. 19 to 31 at 1780-49th Ave. to raise money for Youth HQ programs. Event manager John Johnston expects to draw about 7,000 people to the attraction. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

A huge animatronic werewolf is the star of this year’s Zed Haunted House, which will run from Oct. 19 to 31 at 1780-49th Ave. to raise money for Youth HQ programs. Event manager John Johnston expects to draw about 7,000 people to the attraction. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Zed Haunted House to produce thrills and chills in Red Deer for first time since 2019

The attraction raises $100,000 annually for Youth HQ programs

Watch out for the wolf man at the Zed Haunted House.

An enormous animatronic werewolf with three-inch fangs is the star of the 30th anniversary of Red Deer’s haunted house, which will open to the public after a two-year absence on Oct. 19.

“Red Deer’s most fatal attraction” is back for the last two weeks of the month. It’s expected to draw about 7,000 people and raise about $100,000 for Youth HQ, the boys and girls club.

Event manager John Johnston said Facebook excitement for this year’s haunted house is off-the-charts — probably because the attraction hasn’t been around since 2019. “We’ve been inundated with comments…

“This should be our 32nd year,” said Johnston, but there was a COVID-related break in 2020 and 2021.

Young people involved in setting up the house are also hyped to be doing it for the first time in three years, said Johnston. They picked a wolf man theme because the traditional horror-show character never fails to frighten and produce visceral thrills.

He guesstimates it takes about 140 people and 8,000 volunteer hours to create the attraction.

This year’s haunted house will involve tilty floors, artificial fog and ghastly green lights, and various animatronics terrors — including some that appear to fly and lunge.

More crucially, 40 volunteers will be appearing in costume and as behind-the-scenes puppeteers.

The most disturbingly gory displays will not be shown to younger children, noted Johnston, since the idea is to provide fun scares, not traumatizing ones. However, he promises plenty of creepy surprises for all ages.

Johnston noted the animatronic vampires, zombies and ghouls are getting so realistic he’s even unsettled by some of them.

The Zed Haunted House will run from Wednesday Oct. 19 to Halloween Monday, Oct. 31 directly across from Westerner Park at 1780-49th Ave.

Special feature nights include Freaky Friday photo ops with featured characters on Oct. 21, after-close shows Black-out and Midnight Madness on Oct. 22 and 28, and the Alberta Hearse Association visit on Oct. 29.

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