If you’re like us (vampires), you’re probably so glad to see summer finally over.
Now that spooky season has hit, you can find us doing what we usually do in the shadows – frilling our frilly shirts, cleaning up our coffins, constructing our cosplay outfits and getting ready to explore all of Winnipeg’s haunted attractions when the sun goes down (that cursed ball of fire!).
Bring on the jump scares! Release the zombies! Forget that flashlight in the corn maze! Now’s the time to get witless in Winnipeg. Here are all the top attractions for adults, along with some less terrifying things for kids (if you can stand such a thing), and a few fun events, too.
Big scares for big people
Six Pines Haunted Attractions’ Fear by Night – October 5 to 31, Thursday to Saturday, plus Monday the 30th and Tuesday the 31st (ages 15+)
This year, Six Pines is marking a quarter century of blood-curdling scares! To celebrate, they’ve added a new interactive experience featuring the cast of Scooby Doo called Lulu’s Mystery Date. This joins a restless repertoire of “Extreme Fear by Night” experiences that includes Psycho Killerz – bringing you into the minds of psychos; Ground Zero – a post-apocalyptic preview; the Insane Asylum – which is plagued by its past occupants, and The Barn of Doom – which we don’t even dare to describe.
On top of all these scary experiences, Six Pines is noted for its hand-crafted collector’s items that serve as freaky photo backdrops, such as the Ghostbuster’s Car and the new Scooby-Doo Mobile. Plus, there will be tarot card readings and clowns running around threatening to lock you in a cage. That’s our kind of party!
A Maze in Corn’s Haunted Forest – September 30 to October 29, Thursday to Sunday.
A Maze in Corn’s autumn offerings couldn’t be any more night and day. When the sun is up, this place is all about cute country charm with its corn maze, lookout towers, petting zoo and haystack pyramids. Then, after sunset, they’re content to wagon you out to a scary dark forest that you must attempt to navigate as creatures of the night come out from the darkness to scare you to no end. Wear good footwear. You’ll need it if you plan on making it out in one piece. That said, the creatures are also known to be quite saucy, so that you can count on a good laugh or two.
Please note: no costumes of your own.
For tickets and times, go here.
Heebie Jeebies – October 5 to 31, Thursday to Sunday
At Heebie Jeebies, you’re not a visitor. You’re a “victim.” That’s how seriously they take their scares. In just six short seasons, this place has made a name for itself as perhaps the biggest and scariest experience around.
Its cast of characters – all 120+ of them – were created by an American movie production studio, so you know they are high quality. The details would be sure to impress you if only you weren’t too horrified to take it all in instead of running for your life when confronted down a dark hallway. If you want to study the creatures in detail, just look up to the towering giants that stand above all the mazes.
Okay, but is it that scary? As Heebie Jeebies’ Q&A states: “Screaming can be heard from the moment you park your car until the time you leave… You will scream a lot, laugh a lot, and maybe pee and cry a little… We’d say it’s an equal amount of screaming and laughing.” Sign us up!
This year, there’s a new maze called The Hallows, Heebie Jeebies’ fifth. This rounds out experiences that include prisons, bunkers, freaky folks in a farmhouse and a funhouse filled with clowns. Food trucks, too (not scary ones), so there is no need to eat dinner beforehand.
Please note: Do not come dressed in a costume. If you do, they will feed you to the clowns (and/or not let you in.) Also, save on your tickets if you book as a group.
Go here for full details and tickets.
Deer Meadow Farms’ Forbidden Forest – October 13, 14, 19-21, 26-29.
This year, the Stone Church and Victorian Manor will join the other 18 larger-than-life sets within Deer Meadow’s 15 acres of freaky forests. On top of the forest itself, you can also take part in Haunted Hayrides, a corn maze by dark and the dead sunflower trail. Onsite, you’ll also find a Blood Bar with bar specials on all night long (that is where you’ll find me, as the bartenders are vampires, too!) and a concession serving up hot food, including quality burgers.
The Forest itself will feature a host of characters, special effects, fog and sound effects spread across 600,000 sq. ft.
Find tickets and more info here.
Escape rooms that are sure to thrill
As the name indicates, Killer Noob Escapes’ rooms are not for the faint of heart. Specializing in hair-raising challenges, Killer Noob offers everything from a two-hour escape room experience to several one-hour rooms, a 30-min room that will see you trying to escape from a tiny coffin (like me every evening!); and The Chamber with its five minutes to solve five puzzles. For scary escape experiences, look to The Funhouse, featuring a creepy clown named Puddles, who you have an hour to foil. Following that, should you pass, you go on to The Upstairs, which provides your only chance of making it out.
Full details and bookings are here.
Not to be outdone on the scary escape room scene is The Real Escape. Our own crew of undead failed miserably to complete The Mine, which even made me want to turn on the lights. Their charming game master handcuffed us to a railing to start the experience before shutting off all the lights and unleashing a miner in a pig mask to terrorize us. I hadn’t had this much fun in centuries! My fellow vampires are all about London 1888 at The Real Escape, which they failed too (as you would expect, we are not particularly good at escape rooms as we need someone to let us in). Anyway, to quote Nandor the Relentless, who lived in London in 1888, “it felt like I was really back there again in autumn. Everyone was scared, and for all we knew, a killer was about. Just like the alleyways of Whitehall, there were moments of total darkness and jump scares, too! That said, this London 1888 room is a lot nicer than the real Victorian version. You wouldn’t want that sewage smell and the rats in an escape room. I can tell you that.”
Learn more and book here.
Cosplay this way
Winnipeg Comiccon – October 27 to 29, RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg
With a lineup of acclaimed actors – including Giancarlo Esposito (Gus!), Sean Astin (Samwise!), Michael Rooker (Yondu, and every memorable baddie), Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Captain Carson Teva) and The Trailer Park Boys – Winnipeg Comiccon is sure to pack in the crowds.
As always, when you are not catching these artists on stage or getting their autographs or photos, you can attend panels and workshops and enter the Masquerade, Saturday’s costume contest. (You should enter here now as space is limited; winners will be announced on Sunday). Shop from a vast selection of vendors for comics, anime, memorabilia and more, and even LARP with Underworld LARP, “Canada’s largest 18+ Dark Horror Fantasy LARP community,” which will host an archery station, an escape experience and a meet-and-greet with all their main characters.
Winnipeg Comiccon also has a hotel deal with Delta Hotels by Marriott Winnipeg, which is directly connected to the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.
Tours that are (slightly less) terrifying
Don’s Photo Ghastly Ghost Tour – October 28th
Join Don’s Photo for a photo walk on the scary side! (G)hostess with the mostest, Susan Ainley, will lead you to some of downtown Winnipeg’s most haunted buildings and regale you with creepy tales of their supernatural residents. This 16+ event is open to non-photographers, free to attend and runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 28. For all the terrifying details, check out their website. While the event is free, they ask that you register on Eventbrite.
Halloween at Dalnavert – October 11 to October 29, Wednesday to Sunday
Of all of the eras that we’ve lived through (and there are MANY), the Victorians have the market cornered on everything that’s spine-chilling and sinister. It just makes sense that Winnipeg’s own Victorian house museum, Dalnavert’s Halloween events offer more creepy goodness than you can shake a Ouija board at!
This year’s programming includes such eerie delights as Dalnavert After Dark, a tour of the museum by candlelight; a talk entitled Experiences with the Other Side, that gives an in-depth look at Victorian occult practices, historic hauntings and tales of ghostly encounters at Dalnavert. Our personal favourite, which sold out last year, is the escape-room-style event The Dracula Escape Experience: Dracula Returns! There’s also kid-friendly programming with the Haunted Halloween Scavenger Hunt for those who aren’t looking for jump-scares.
Information and links for tickets can be found here.
Cute stuff for the kiddos
Witchy Wonderland: A Not So Fright Fest – Weekends (and more); October 13 to 31 at Red River Exhibition Park
This autumn, The Red River Ex has added some Halloween family fun to its offerings. Witchy Wonderland will feature kids’ rides, including midway rides and a not-so-haunted hayride; performers doing magic, stilt-walking and fire dancing; cute farm animals as always; an inflatable corn maze and face painting.
Plus, food onsite at this event runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Unlike other events, you can also buy tickets at the door or online here.
Boo at the Zoo - Evenings starting at 5:30 p.m.; October 6 to 29
This year’s Boo at the Zoo promises to be even bigger and more efficient. Expect a number of rides (all included in the price of admission), so much food to be had, drinks for adults (that you can carry around the grounds, including boozy coffees), and so many live music concerts and performances.
Of course, there will also be a colourful cast of characters lurking amongst all the twinkling lights that make this such a magical, family-friendly event. More details are here in our Assiniboine Park Autumn Guide.
Ghoul Daytime Flashlight Haunt at Six Pines Haunted Attractions (5+)
Six Pines is doing something Halloween-themed for the kids this year involving what parents tell me is their favourite thing – flashlights! The Ghoul Daytime Flashlight Haunt allows you and your kids (aged 5+) to explore the sets in a friendlier manner, with no characters coming out to send you screaming. There will still be theatrical experiences like fog machines and sound FX while you take it all in at your own pace with your own flashlight.
Manitoba Theatre for Young People presents Snow White, October 13-15, and 21-22
There’s a witch in it, so
Snow White is officially a Halloween story, as the good folks at MTYP well know. This production promises to not to be a sleeper, as two actors will play all the characters – Bashful included! – providing a super fun scene that your kids will find the fairest of all.
Get your tickets here.
Wu-Tang Clan live at Canada Life Centre on October 10
“Wu-Tang is for the children.”* Enough said, plus Ghostface will be there, so it counts as a Halloween event. Nas & De La Soul, too!
*For some, Wu-Tang may not be considered appropriate ‘for the children.’