BY SARA SASILA
October is screaming season, which could only mean one thing … Halloween is near.
From haunted houses to pumpkin picking and carving, Halloween is the best part about October.
One of the most popular venues for haunted houses is located right in Kitchener. For the past 10 years, Screampark at Bingemans has featured multiple haunted houses that test the bravest of guests.
This year, the park features three haunted houses: Freak Show, Cabin in the Woods and The Dormitory.
Each house has its own unique way to make the hairs on your arms stand straight up.
“The Dormitory scared me the most,” said Alicia Hoffman, a visitor at the park who attended opening night. “I don’t think I’ve ever screamed as loud as I did in there, it was horrific.”
Sarah Wood, another visitor, said she couldn’t believe how realistic the haunted houses were. “I actually felt like I was in a horror movie.”
Bingemans showcases other Halloween events, such as the Saints and Sinners Ball, 13 Hours of Hell and Horror Cinema Night, but none are as popular as Screampark.
“Going to Screampark is my favourite thing to do during the Halloween season,” said Hoffman. “I’ve been going every year and every year it gets better.”
Since Screampark has been open, over 6,000 visitors have chickened out.
“I love how scary it gets,” said Ben Seymour, a first-year community and justice student at Conestoga College. “One moment you’re completely fine, the next you’re screaming for your life. It’s great.”
If you aren’t sprinting for your life, each house takes about seven minutes to go through. Each house costs $12.
“The scariness never stops,” said Wood. “Every corner you turn there is something waiting for you. I’ve been to a lot of haunted houses, but Screampark never seems to disappoint.”
Another Halloween favourite is visiting family farms and picking out pumpkins to carve.
The Shantz Family Farm, located at 1544 Bleams Rd. in Petersburg, has been in business since 1870. While they don’t focus on just Halloween, the farm has a variation of Halloween fun-filled activities for everyone to enjoy during the season.
“Our focus is more on fall family farm fun, rather than Halloween,” said Angela Shantz, one of the owners of the farm. “We do not focus on the theme of Halloween, other than to sell pumpkins for people to carve, but we do offer other activities for the celebration.”
Shantz said, “We sell around 20,000 pumpkins and squash yearly.”
Shantz’s husband designs a large corn maze every year for visitors along with a small kiddie-sized straw maze for children to enjoy to celebrate the month of Halloween.
“Our straw and corn mazes were created with family fun in mind,” Shantz said. “We feel fortunate to be able to share a bit of what we have to create a family experience for others in the community.”