Something in the air changes when September becomes October. It’s cooler, crisper… somehow more eerie when the leaves fall from the trees. This, my friends, is my most favourite time of year. When you’re a kid, you liked Halloween for the candy. When you’re a teen or young adult you wear risqué costumes and relish any excuse to party. When you’re my age…. Well, you mostly watch scary movie marathons because all that other stuff just seems like so much work. But what if I told you there are plenty of things to do in and around town that don’t require costumes or a lot of pre-planning? And don’t worry if costumes do happen to be your thing, I’ve got a few ideas for you too!
Below are 13 frightening ideas for you to get into the “spirit” of things… muahahahahahah
Outdoor Attractions Just Beyond the City’s Edge…
- The earliest attraction of the season is A Maze in Corn’s Haunted Forrest which opened September 29th. This is probably one of the most kid-friendly spots on the list. In addition to the Haunted Forrest, there’s also the corn maze and zip lining. You could make a whole day of it if you wanted to. Tickets are $18 for 12 and under or $20 for 13 and up.
- On October 6th Fear the Living Dead returns to Adrenaline Adventures for a third year. This one features two experiences: The Zombie Chase and The Coffin Escape ($25 a piece or $40 for both). And yes, the zombies may claw at you while you’re trying to escape! The first few dates are already sold out so booking in advance is a good idea. 16+
- Six Pines Haunted Attraction is one of the oldest haunts around, this is their 19th year! It opens October 12th. They have family friendly fun during the day and more sinister attractions at night. In addition to the Barn of Doom, this year’s new theme areas include Hillbilly Manor, The Voodoo Train and CarnEvil (yes, there will be clowns *shudder*). 16+ but younger teens can enter with a parent or guardian. Daytime activities cost between $10 and $15. Evenings $30-$45.
- Terror on 12 claims to be Canada’s largest haunted attraction but doesn’t offer much more in the way of description. *Oooohhh, mysterious* It opens Friday October 13th. There is no age restriction here and it’s a no-contact attraction but use your own judgement. $25 or $35 for a fast pass – cause no one likes to wait in line.
- Lower Fort Gary also has a family friendly and a slightly creepier option. Adult oriented scares start on October 13th with Fright at the Fort. This year’s theme is straight from the scenes of American Horror Story Freak Show – a haunted circus “The performers have fled, the ringmaster is missing and the animals are on the loose! Wander at your own risk through the macabre menagerie”. Explore the abandoned performers’ camp, creep through the frightening fun house, and watch your back for eerie entertainers hiding in dark corners of the stone fort walls.” 16+ $13.60. The kids event is called Lower Fort Scary and starts October 22nd. $9.70-$13.60 or $29.71 for a family of four.
- Zombie Outbreak at the Gimli Industrial Park Airport: This attraction will be short lived (it’s only one from the 20th to the 22nd) but it sounds like the most engaging (it’s a LARP after all) (that’s live action role play if you’re a beginner geek) so if you’re looking for something more akin to an escape room in addition to running and being scared, this might be the activity for you. Three floors, two buildings and only one way out! Players will find themselves in a zombie infested facility (three floors, two buildings and only one way out…) and and must battle their way out against a score of undead using Nerf blasters, gathering weapons, supplies and solving puzzles as they go. “Don’t just run, fight back!” $40. Daytime is geared to 12+ and nighttime is 16+.
- Halloween Haunt at the Selkirk Marine Museum: This one has a fun and appropriately nautically-themed tagline: “Get ready to ship your pants” lol. Opening October 20th, spirits run amok on the Marine Museum’s three ships. While this event is for all ages, the S.S. Keenora is the scariest, recommended for 16+ while The M.S. Lady Canadian is for younger children. The third ship hosts a concession with “Ice Scream” (groan) and other treats as well as kids activities. The Halloween Haunt is a fundraising event for the museum and all money raised goes towards restoration of the ships. General admission: $11, Children 6 & Under FREE.
Ghost Hunts and Haunted Tours
- There are a bunch of ghost tours that you can check out this year, either on foot or by bus. The City of Ghosts Bus Tour (Oct 20 & 24) and the Talking to the Dead Bus Tour (Oct 25-31 – closed Oct 28) are the priciest $17.37 for ages 8-17 (although the Talking to Dead tour is recommended for 12+) and adults are $46.75 and $50.02. Walking tours range in price from $10-$20 and three hour paranormal investigations at some of Winnipeg’s spookiest spots cost $30.
Insidious Indoor Activities
Let’s be real, the weather in Winnipeg in October can be totally unpredictable, so if you’d prefer to stay inside I’ve got something for you as well. This is where you’ll find info on the swankier side of Halloween-ing in Winnipeg.
- Dalnavert After Dark presents Dracula Unearthed! an immersive Victorian experience. Starting October 18th, brave souls will be let into the darkened and allegedly haunted Dalnavert house equipped only with a flashlight and their courage to discover clues, listen to recorded accounts, read journals and find out, for themselves, what is lurking in the shadows… The experience starts at 7 and lasts for 2 hours and features a cash bar and a wine tasting station. Early bird tickets are $30, $35 on the day of.
- Stage Frights – A Haunted House Experience at the Burton Cumming Theatre: Based on the true stories of performers who have passed only to return to haunt the theatre, audiences will tip toe through the bowels of the theatre, winding their way from room to room from October 26th to the 31st from 5 pm to midnight. It’s a theatrical twist on a traditional haunted house that amps up the horror gets in your head. Experiences begin every 30 minutes and there are a limited number of tickets available per time slot, so it’s best to purchase tickets in advance. Adults looking to party on Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28 have the option to buy tickets to an 18+ Afterlife Afterparty ($40) featuring music, spooky cocktails and prizes for the best costume. Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for those 12 and under.
- Ok, so C4 Central Canada Comic Con isn’t technically a Halloween event, but this is where you’ll find some of the best, most intricate costumes around. It’s on September 27-29 at the RBC Convention Centre. Tickets range in price from $14.50 for a youth day pass to $50.50 for an adult weekend pass.
- A Nightmare on Donald Street: Winnipeg’s biggest Halloween costume party is a multi-level extravaganza at the Met on Saturday October 28th. The 90-year-old building will be transformed into an abandoned theatre run by zombies. It’s VIP nightclub experience, with the exclusiveness of a mature gala, and the terror of a haunted house all rolled into one. There will be four DJs on two floors and $2000 dollars’ worth of prizes for best costumes in a variety of categories. This one is a 23+ event. General admission is $25 or get a bunch of perks with a VIP tickets for $40. If this is your vibe but Saturday doesn’t work for you, there’s also Scream on October 31st, same venue, different DJs, 18+, $30-$55.
- Frankenstein with the WSO: On October 31st, the Centennial Concert Hall will be transformed into a haunted house, while the WSO plays H.K. Gruber’s Frankenstein and A Night on Bald Mountain – the otherworldly spooky music from Disney’s Fantasia. There’s also an after party featuring a costume fashion show from Ragpickers Antifashion Emporium Costumes & Books, two bands and a DJ. Early bird pricing is in effect until October 10th $20 for students and $30 general admission. $38 after Oct 10th.
Happy Haunting Boys & Ghouls!