Women scream and men cry at this Kelowna haunted house — think you can handle it? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Women scream and men cry at this Kelowna haunted house — think you can handle it?

Even frights get better with a little help from friends, something Paul Coxe is learning this year.

KELOWNA - Paul Coxe’s love of the macabre has made Halloween a particularly special event for the people in his life. 

“He lives for it — he loves scaring people,” Clarence Johnson, a close friend of Coxe's, said.

The Kelowna man’s fondness for frightening is annually expressed through a haunted house at his home on 945 Grenfell Road. 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 last four years the popularity of his field of screams has grown 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. 

The best part is it wasn’t just frights and fun, a good cause reaped the rewards. Those 4,000 people from 2018 brought in $13,000 of food and cash that was donated to the Central Okanagan food bank.

This year is expected to be bigger and better, but for the first time Coxe’s role will be smaller.

Johnson said that he’s suffering from a rare disease that is affecting his muscles and making it hard to breathe.

“He got it before last year’s Halloween, and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to put it on, but with the help of friends and family, he did,” he said. “He’s determined to do it again, this really is what keeps him going —  he’s a Halloween nut.”

Given the nature of the condition, Johnson said it’s anyone’s guess whether next year will be the scream it’s usually been.

Planning for this year’s haunted house started right after Halloween ended, so visitors should expect a great show.

“It’s a fun process,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t really a big fan of Halloween, but now I’m bigger. My wallet gets thinner because I keep finding pieces we need to use.”

Those include new animatronics that will be on display this year. And, in case you think you’ve seen it all, there will be enough changes to keep you on your toes.

“We’ve had people who have gone through and just loved it,” Johnson said. “We love hearing the screaming of the people who go through. A couple of years ago, we heard someone say, ‘you can’t scare me’ but by the time he came through the other end he was crying.”

They also get a lot of guys, who make their wives and girlfriends go into the house ahead of time because they’re worried about what’s to come.

Regardless, everyone who likes a Halloween fright seems to enjoy. And this week, as they get ready for construction, Johnson can see an even better show coming together.

For those who prefer a less frightening haunted house, there are times when that's possible. A schedule of what's what is on the Facebook page.

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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