Halloween events for all

(Story previously published in Canstar News)

For people who like scary things, Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a chance to dress up in costume and pretend to be someone (or something) else for a while, and get together with friends or family for some frightening fun. Here in Manitoba, there are plenty of events that will get you in the Halloween spirit.

For the 17th year, Boo at the Zoo takes place at Assiniboine Park. Winnipeg’s annual Halloween tradition features an expanded midway with carousel, haunted house, and other rides. Special displays, lights and music add to the spooky atmosphere. Characters like Icky, a friendly troll who loves candy, can be found roaming about each night.

Haunted tours are a great way to explore a city from the inside out, and learn deep dark secrets from days gone by. I’ve taken part in ghost tours in New Orleans and Pennsylvania, and it’s intriguing to see how different places give new life to their haunted histories.

Right here in Winnipeg, our city also has a ghostly past. Discover our dark side through the Haunted Winnipeg Series put on by Muddy Waters Tours. They offer the Historical Haunted Winnipeg Bus Tour, which takes you on a two-and-a-half hour bus ride to 14 sites such as the Manitoba Museum, Hamilton House and Hotel Fort Garry.

For more in-depth discovery, the three-hour Haunted Winnipeg Investigates Bus Tour ventures inside four locations to test out theories of suspected hauntings. This interactive tour stops at the Manitoba Legislature, St. Boniface Museum, Elmwood Cemetery, and the Fort Garry Hotel. More daring souls may want to try a Haunted Winnipeg Vigil, and spend three hours in the dark with a local medium who attempts to communicate with spirits.

Outside of Winnipeg, Lower Fort Garry’s ghost tours consist of a guided candlelit walk through one of the most haunted places in Manitoba. Learn about some of the most interesting characters that lived and died in the area. End the evening with hot chocolate and sharing some of your own ghost stories.

Six Pines is a family operated agri-tourism farm just north of Winnipeg that specializes in ‘making memories’. Their annual October Haunt has grown into an interactive experience for families and school groups. Daytime is a little less scary, and best for the littlest visitors. Actors are onsite to present activities like a magic show, hay rides, the terror train, and barn of doom.

At night, though, the downright spooky stuff begins. The barn of doom is ramped up with bone-chilling tricks and treats, and patrons are encouraged to ‘enter at own risk’. Adult comedians are on hand for some laughs, and there is also an adult magic show. New this year is the zombie shoot, a paintball game offering up zombies for targets.

Of course fall brings plenty of corn mazes and pumpkin patches to play in. A Maze in Corn just south of Winnipeg features a zip line tour over the cornfields, a haunted forest, and petting zoo. Penner Pumpkins in Steinbach has train rides, face painting, and a scarecrow forest. Boonstra Farms near Stonewall has a tower of terror, and the popular ‘headless horseman’ hayride.

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