Kelowna haunted house builders pass torch to Vernon | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna haunted house builders pass torch to Vernon

FILE PHOTO - Paul Coxe poses for a photo outside the famous Grenfell Road haunted house in Kelowna It's is moving to Vernon, well at least all the props are.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Paul Coxe
June 14, 2021 - 6:30 PM

One of Kelowna’s signature Halloween events has fallen under the weight of the pandemic but Vernon residents will reap the rewards.

“We were just unable to continue in Kelowna because of COVID but all of the Halloween props have been purchased by someone in Vernon,” Clarence Johnson, one of the organizers of the Grenfell Road Haunted House, said.

“We just want to say thank you to the people who supported us... It’s nice to pass on the torch. We had a good run here and it’s nice to know (the new owner of the Halloween props) is going to do what we did, and maybe get some charity donations.”

Johnson didn’t want to go into specifics about why it was no longer tenable in Kelowna but said the new owner of the spooky gear is excited about building on his haunted house near downtown in Vernon.  

The Grenfell Road haunted house went on tour for its last year but it’s all been going for about five years as a team effort and before that, Paul Coxe found joy in the Halloween season.

READ MORE: Grenfell Road Haunted House a community affair

The Kelowna man’s fondness for frightening is annually expressed through a haunted house at his home on 945 Grenfell Rd. It went up every October for years, but in 2016 he wasn’t sure if he’d keep it going. Each Halloween that passed there were fewer and fewer kids going through and he wasn’t sure it was worth doing again.

His daughter encouraged him to try one more year and make it bigger than ever — so he built it and they came. 

In the years that followed the popularity of his field of screams grew and so too has its audience. In 2016 he had 800 travel through the haunted house he built, then in 2017 there were 3,000 and in 2018 there were more than 4,000 and it just kept growing until last year, when it was a parade. For years it raised thousands of dollars in donations for the Central Okanagan Food Bank and this year they raised money for Mamas for Mamas, which Johnson said was a great group to partner with.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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