In her first year, Jen Calla hid in the bushes on Halloween night, scaring trick-or-treaters on the way to her house.
This year, there are three-headed dogs. And body parts. And actors.
In her fifth year of fully embracing the holiday, Calla and her husband have transformed their garage along with additional space in front of their home into a haunted house – one so scary in fact, that Jen admits to scaring herself.
“Sometimes I’ll walk in and forget something is there,” she says with a laugh. “We’ve always loved Halloween.”
Inspired by a haunted house in Victoria she visited with her family, Calla has collected a variety of items and displays over the years, including strobe lights, fog machines and hand-made half-bodies.
With the theme of ‘the living dead,’ Calla promises a couple of different rooms within their garage separated with drop panels, an electrocution room and an 8×8 foot space out front “to add to the fun.”
It takes a couple of minutes to tour the haunted house.
Calla adds because a lot of the effects are very realistic, there is the ability to escape if it gets too scary.
There will be between five to eight actors on site, and rules will be enforced – no running, for example. Calla adds she’s looking forward to having her international exchange student from Brazil participate as an actor, as she’s never experienced Halloween.
Last year, Calla estimates she had around 200 people walk through the haunted house, which is only open on Halloween night from 5 to 9 p.m. She says ideally she’d like to extend the time for a few days prior to the holiday, but the challenge is finding actors to participate on more than one day.
There is no fee to visit the haunted house, but Calla is accepting donations for juvenile diabetes.
The haunted house is located at 685 22nd St. in Courtenay.