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Monday, October 24, 2011

Boo who as frights escalate for Halloween

   One-Tank Trip published on Oct. 22-23, 2011

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Want to be scared out of your wits?
Blood-curdling fun takes over Canada’s Wonderland for Halloween Haunt.
   How about spending a sleepless night in a fortress of terror, avoiding Jack the Ripper reincarnated or being one of the scaredy-cats who “chicken out” at Screampark?
   Halloween terrors are again reaping havoc across the land. Here’s where evil lurks.

   Fort Fright
   One of the most elaborate frights is at Fort Henry in Kingston where the haunted fortress comes to live – or should we say death – next Wednesday through Saturday.
   Fort Fright, the “festival of fear” from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., has visitors “looking over their shoulders as screams emanate from dark casemates, dead things come to life and ghouls stalk your every move.”
   The ghostly apparitions and spooky creatures “will scare you right out of our citadel,” said publicist Will Baird.
   The “truly brave” can experience a sleepless night in the historically haunted citadel that’s “not for the faint of heart,” he said.
   Bring a sleeping bag as these “very rustic” accommodations are similar to those of an 1860's military site.
   Haunted hypnotist Buzz Collins will “pick your brain” in nightly shows where participants “witness the bizarre, the freakish and the absurd.”
   There’s the Gunners Fire Show and Zombie Hunter game, Shop of Horrors and Pirates' Den restaurant with service by “scallywags and wenches.”
   Admission is $13 with the overnight $40 or $50 a person. www.forthenry.com; 1-800-437-2233

   Ghostly Fort York and walks
   Here’s the chance to tour the grounds of Fort York in Toronto at night.
   On Ghost Walks, next Friday and Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., tales will be told about this “national treasure and the history that surrounds it.”
   That includes the haunted lighthouse and the bloody Battle of York along with complimentary refreshments. Tickets are $12.50. www.fortyork.ca; (416) 392-9607
   Thirteen “lucky guests” will be able to explore the “eerier side” of Toronto with tour guide Shirley Lum on Ghost Walks through Nov. 1.
   Tours are Haunted Kensington, Chinatown and Grange; Haunted Yorkville, University of Toronto and Queen’s Park; Phantoms, Players and Pundits; and Ghosts, Greasepaint and Gallows. http://TorontoWalksBikes.com; (416) 923-6813

   Creepy, sinister hauntings
   Halloween Haunt has taken over Canada’s Wonderland north of Toronto for “brave souls who dare to enter.”
   On Fridays through Sundays and Halloween Monday from 7 p.m. until midnight, this wonder land is “transformed into Canada’s largest, creepiest and most sinister event,” said publicist Dineen Beaven.
   There are 10 “blood-curdling” mazes, with names such as Blood on the Bayou and Club Blood, highlighted by the Terror of London recalling 1888 when Jack the Ripper’s murders terrorized the city.
   There are three live haunting shows including the Hanging with more than 500 monsters while park thrill rides and attractions operate in darkness.
   By day is Camp Spooky with children’s rides, mazes, pirate themed treasure hunt, costume parade and Charlie Brown’s Trick or Treat Show.
   Halloween Haunt admission is $35.99; online from $29.99; http://haunt.canadaswonderland.com; (905) 832-8131

   Chicken count rises
   The “chicken-out count” should exceed the 646 not-so-brave souls who fled from Bingemans’ Screampark in Kitchener last year.
Screampark isn’t for the “faint of heart” at Bingemans in Kitchener.
   Open nightly from 7 p.m. (except Monday) through Halloween, there are six new attractions including Quarantine where the goal is to escape a testing facility that has fallen into the wrong hands.
   “Tempt fate” and leave the Soul Asylum with your soul intact, break free from the Clown Cage or get revenge in the paintball Zombie Hunt, said publicist Mike Kwiatkowski. www.screampark.ca; 519) 744-1555

   More chills, thrills and screams
   - Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene becomes haunted next Wednesday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a witch’s cauldron, ghouls, skeletons and a pirate brigade.
   There’s a haunted house and things “luring in the shadows” along candlelit paths and historic properties. www.discoveryharbour.on.ca; (705) 549-8064
   - Haunted hayrides at Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London feature the Cultured Criminal, a play by Robyn Israel this weekend and next Thursday through Saturday.
   A Haunting We Will Go is next Saturday from noon to 4:30 p.m. with trick or treating, bobbing for apples and “ghoulish activities.” www.fanshawepioneervillage.ca; (519) 457-1296

   Happening now
   Pick that perfect pumpkin to be transformed into a jack o’lantern at Birtch Farms Pumpkin Festival at RR 7, Woodstock.
   The event today and Sunday includes a costume contest, pumpkin bowling, guessing games, tic tac toe and pumpkin treats from the bakery. www.birtchfarms.com; (519)469-3040


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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