The Beaches Recreation Centre will be possibly the scariest place in the East End on Oct. 26 to 28, as local residents Jay Marks and Dexter Frost install their fifth annual haunted house in the rec centre gym.
“We turn the entire gym into a 3,500 square foot maze,” said Marks.
Marks said several years ago, he realized he missed the haunted houses that used to happen in city rec centres. He and a small group of friends approached the Beaches centre, which offered the space at no cost. Five years later, over 20 volunteers will come out to spend three long, intense days converting the space into a haunted house.
“People take time off work to come help out,” he said.
Why the dedication to a haunted house? According to Marks, mostly because it’s fun. “We get to be kids and scare the crap out of people.”
Every year the crew works to out-do the previous edition; this year’s event, called the ‘Fear Factory’, is no exception. Unlike other haunted houses, participants are pushed through a maze on a cart, while actors in costume do their part to ensure everyone gets a scare. That is, unless they chicken out, as close to 100 did last year.
The event is free, however, food donations are collected for Community Centre 55. The boxes will be out for two weeks after the haunted house, in case young ghosts and ghouls forget to bring canned goods with them. Hundreds of pounds of food donations have been collected in past years, and Marks said he hopes to collect more every year.
With new props and costumes added, this year’s Fear Factory should be a howling good time.
Get scared on Friday, Oct. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m., or Saturday, Oct. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. There is an age limit of 8 and up. Marks said not to be discouraged if there is a lineup at the door, it’s worth the wait: “Stay in line, get scared.”
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