Parkland Mall is about to get a very large dose of ghosts and ghouls as the Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer and District get set to kick off their annual Zed Haunted House this week.
Now in its 26th year, Red Deer’s premiere haunted attraction opened the doors of its new location in Parkland Mall on Tuesday night and unleashed a whole host of scary effects and animatronics on customers in the City.
Event Manager John Johnston and his team of volunteers have been hard at work over the past few weeks transforming the old SportChek location at the mall into the maze of monsters, maniacs and mechanical effects into one of Alberta’s scariest and most popular Halloween attractions.
“We’re over 8,000 volunteer hours that go into this every year and it keeps growing and growing,” said Johnston, who has been overseeing the attraction since it started more than 25 years ago. “Our first year we were in a condemned house in downtown Red Deer across from Port O’ Call Safeway. We had one prop that cost us $60 and a bunch of paint and we splattered everybody and threw them into old bathtubs and stuff and we just screamed at people,” Johnston recalled.
Now, the haunted house is the Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer and District’s biggest fundraiser of the year, raising more than $129,000 last year. All of which goes towards all of the Club’s community-based programs.
That’s a far cry from the $500 they raised in their second year of operation.
“With Red Deer Club, we’re in nine-plus locations now and it just continues to grow. We’re in Innisfail now, as well. This is the main fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club, so they rely upon us big time,” Johnston said.
One of the things Johnston said he likes about the fundraiser is that it gets the youth at the Club involved.
“I like it because the youth are a part of it. That makes a big difference.”
Youth at the Boys and Girls Club are involved in everything about the annual haunted house from the planning to the set up to actually being actors inside the house throughout the week.
“They’ve made an investment in it, too. So it’s worth it.”
The annual Zed Haunted House runs from now until the end of October beginning at 6 p.m. They will also host weekend matinees from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays that are geared more towards younger audiences and will feature reduced scares and atmosphere.
In addition to regular performances, there will be a special Midnight Madness showing from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Oct. 28th that features ramped-up scares.
For more information or to purchase tickets to this year’s Zed Haunted House, visit their web site at www.zedhauntedhouse.com.