Andrea Mueller isn't giving away any secrets.
She and a local group of volunteer artists, actors and Halloween enthusiasts are currently hard at work for the second year to create the Whistler Haunted House at 3145 Hawthorne Place in Brio.
"It's a surprise!" she says over the phone while putting up posters advertising the event. "That's the fun of it. We have some tricks up our sleeve."
The Haunted House — which features a less spooky version for kids from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. before launching into the "full scare" from 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. — was a massive success last year, but Mueller wasn't surprised. "Whistler is a town where people love to dress up," she says. "A town where people love events. In Canada, Halloween is huge. We have lots of people from other countries where it's not as big, so they really enjoy taking part too because they haven't had that opportunity."
The crew had line ups to get into the house every night last year with kids as young as one and up to 60 years old. In total, Mueller estimates somewhere between 700 and 1,000 people came through over the four nights.
"The theme this year is Hawthorne Manor: Meet the Hawthornes," Mueller says. "We're creating what will look like an old mansion. The idea being the Hawthornes have come back to haunt it."
After last year, the group travelled down to Vancouver to get some tips from the man who runs the Dunbar Haunted House. "We bought some props from him as well," Mueller says. "We're trying to step it up a little. It went extremely well last year. We basically learned that we're onto something that people absolutely love."
While she won't reveal any details on the house this year, she says the set up, so far, has been plenty of work. Everything from painting scenes to putting up spider webs and erecting the big front gates they crafted is time consuming.
"There's a lot of returning (volunteers)," Mueller says. "Especially the people who got to spook last year."
There won't be much in the way of spooking during the early hours set aside for children and the easily scared. "We turn on all the lights so it's not as scary for little kids," Mueller says. "We don't have anyone acting. No one pops out at you. It's for kids to look at the props and have a Halloween feeling."
The haunted house will run from Oct. 26 – 29. Entry is by donation with a portion of the proceeds going towards Whistler Community Services Society. Last year, people came back after they went through the house to give more money because it was so good.
"We encourage everyone to come out," Mueller says. "It's a fun, community event."
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