For the past nine years, the Webber family has tirelessly planned, produced and hosted a Charity Yard Haunt — an event that takes up their entire front yard during October.
For those that don’t know what a Yard Haunt is, it’s like a haunted house — but outside.
This year, they plan to make it bigger and better than ever, so they have started two weeks early. This event is a maze of spooky wonders – including a cemetery, witches hut, alien autopsy and werewolf cage.
In the past they have had special attractions, such as a mad scientist’s lab, pirate’s cove and even a six-foot-tall paper-mâché T-Rex, although the Webber family says the T-Rex has unfortunately succumbed to the rain, and won’t be making an appearance this year.
All of the pieces that go into this production are artfully crafted by the Webber family, or donated items from the community.
“We are a creative family – and we have always loved Halloween,” says Cherie Webber. “Ever since our kids were little, we decorated our front porch – my husband (Mike Webber) loved doing it so much that it just sort of, took over the whole lawn.
“Then someone suggested we think about involving a charity aspect – so I came up with the idea to collect non-perishable food items for the local food bank. Generally, kids can come and look around for free – but adults that come are supposed to bring something for the food bank.
“The kids get candy, and my mother usually makes her apple cider to help warm people up. It’s nice to see the big boxes of food at the end of it, it makes all the effort we put into this every year, most certainly worth it.
“Mind you, we’d do it even if no one showed up — we just love it. It brings the whole family closer together.
Although many of the creatures are created by Cherie and her kids, she is adamant that the brain of the operation is her husband, Mike.
“He spends all year planning this – drawing little maps and plans. He goes around and finds sales on things he can use for Halloween decorations – and he is always enlisting the help of anyone that asks about it.
“This is like his child, he loves it – but it frustrates him and worries him and it’s definitely a lot of work. He suffered a serious back injury this year that put him out of work for a while, and we were worried that it might affect his ability to set up the Yard Haunt – but September started and despite the pain he was in, he started planning.
“Nothing gets in that man’s way – when he sets his mind to something, he does it.”
This year, the Webbers would like to make the event even bigger and better – and attempt to beat their record of 2,000 visitors to the yard.
Mike had this to say; “Last year, we only had 300 people come through. It was really disappointing. I’d like to see numbers like we used to have – maybe even beat my record. The year we had 2,000 people – we had lots of boxes of food for donation. So I am making it bigger and better this year!”
The Webbers have plans to enlist friends, family and volunteers to help – everything from assistance putting up the displays, to people willing to dress up in costumes, then jump out and say “boo!” on Halloween night.
If you would like to volunteer, make a donation or would like more information, you can e-mail the Webber family at email@example.com.
If you can’t help out, the Webber family would still love to see you Halloween night; every single person helps them get closer to their goal.
They are located at 1310 10th Street East, off Back Road, in Courtenay.
Remember to bring something for the food bank.
— Webber family