Vernon haunted house returning ‘bigger than ever’ with new props from Kelowna’s Grenfell Road | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon haunted house returning ‘bigger than ever’ with new props from Kelowna’s Grenfell Road

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Okanagan residents familiar with a Kelowna Halloween haunted house that became widely popular for its animatronics and fundraising efforts will see lingering pieces of it this year in Vernon.

For years, Kelowna resident Paul Coxe and his family decorated the outside of their home on Grenfell Road, raising thousands of dollars for the food bank and seeing thousands of visitors walk through their spooky outdoor experience.

Due to the pandemic, they were unable to continue the haunted house but have passed along the torch to a Vernon man who is just as passionate about giving his community a good scare for a good cause.

READ MORE: Kelowna haunted house builders pass torch to Vernon

For the last few years, Mike O’Garr and his wife Sue Allin have decorated the outside of their home as a haunted house and since purchasing all of Coxe’s old equipment, they expect this year to be bigger than ever.

“As soon we purchased everything and saw his collection of stuff, it definitely felt like picking up a torch,” O'Garr said. “It’s fun and a nice way to give something back to the community here in October. We all like horror movies here and getting scared.”

Funds raised will be donated to the Indian Residential School Survivor Society, he said, as both he and his wife have Indigenous relatives and friends. Residents can walk through the haunted house by donation later this month and exact times and dates will be posted to the Vernon Haunted House’s Facebook page.

“It just progressively gets a little bigger each year. Now, it’s massive, it has gone around the whole house and there’s way more work and way more props,” said O’Garr. “Half the time I think we’re crazy and the other half I think ‘this is the coolest thing ever.’”

“It’s a labour of love.”

Halloween is a big deal within his family, who help out with the acting and dressing up. Each year, they see each other for “Halloweenmas” instead of at Christmas as the winter makes travel difficult on the Coquihalla, he said.

The duo has been hard at work this October and O’Garr said hundreds of hours are spent in preparation. The haunted house will be open Oct. 30 and 31 and posters will be set up closer to the date.

“I’m curious to how many people will come by. It was 500 last year but the last year at Grenfell Road haunted house was 5,000 so we have lots of catching up to do,” he said.

Walk by and see the haunted house for yourself at 2505 39th Avenue. Visitors will be required to wear masks, he said.


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