Carlson Manor haunt returns
Halloween enthusiast Chad Carlson stands in front of the new facade of the Carlson Manor haunt at 54 Erica Dr. in Lacombe, Alta. on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The haunted house opens to the public on Oct. 28 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. and runs until Halloween night. Admission is a suggested donation to the Lacombe Food Bank. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
Those looking for a bit of scary, family-oriented fun this weekend won’t have to go far as the Carlson Manor opens its doors for a second year in Lacombe.
For Chad Carlson, a Halloween enthusiast and member of the Canadian Haunters Association, setting up the haunt is his way of giving back to the community and helping out the local food bank by collecting donations.
“Not only are we able to give back to the community with something fun to do, but we can give back in the food sense of things,” he said. “This time of year, being so close to Christmas, they’re always in need of donations. Halloween nicely lines up.”
It’s something he started about ten years ago when he lived in Stony Plain, Alta. as a simple display - a head on a rotisserie - that ended up making the front page of the Stony Plain Reporter.
“It was probably a little bit much for the public paper. There was some commentary that was entertaining, but it was all fuel to continue on,” he said.
The next year he created a display in his garage door called “Hell’s Kitchen.” From there it developed into a haunted house which he set up every year, and brought to Lacombe last year.
His love for Halloween stems from having a birthday in October that resulted in Halloween-themed parties. Part of it also stems from attending the Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts where he originally planned to pursue a career in theatre.
That background, which included studying set design, has aided in the creation of the Carlson Manor, which this year features a brand new “haunted house” facade that Carlson handpainted.
This year, the house has few additions, included a few more animatronics, projections and other smaller items.
Outside, there’s a grave yard, and a campsite, while inside it’s set up like a house, complete with a boiler room, bedroom, living area with floating candles and T.V.s and more.
Altogether, its something that has taken since August to assemble - as well as some extra repair time thanks to heavy winds.
The house and it’s large, spook display appears to have sparked a little more interest in Halloween from his neighbours, as well.
“Lots of neighbours are investing in Halloween this year. I’ve been joking around that it’s the “Halloween Horseshoe” of Lacombe just like Edmonton has Candy Cane Lane,” he said.
While the Halloween spirit might be catching on with neighbours, it isn’t one shared by his wife, Jarita Carlson.
“She dreads October,” he said. “But she’s been supportive.”
The Carlson Manor is located at 54 Erica Drive, and will open on Saturday and run until Halloween night from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation to the Lacombe Food Bank.
Free coffee and hot chocolate will also be given out, as well as treats on Halloween night.
Other Canadian Haunters Association haunts nearby include The House on Herder Drive in Sylvan Lake, Alta. and Shadow’s Gate Haunt at 112 Sugar Maple Lane in Leduc, Alta.