Haunted house with a heart spooks Vancouverites

18:02, November 01, 2010      

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Seven years ago, only five children came to Brad Leith's front door on Halloween. This year, over 20,000 came knocking.

But a trip to Leith's house around Halloween isn't a run-of-the-mill trick-or-treating stop; it's a blood curdling adventure into the darkest depths of human fear.

Every October for the last six years, Leith has transformed his home in the sleepy, upscale neighborhood of Kerrisdale in Vancouver, British Columbia, into a ghastly haunted house and opened it up to the public.

When he first began, the mission was modest--to build a small haunted house for neighborhood children to visit on Halloween night.

Leith was nostalgic for the days of his own childhood, when the streets were packed with children performing tricks in exchange for treats while neighbors tried valiantly to scare the daylights out of them.

"I just had a memory of more people doing it 35 years ago. Nothing this elaborate, but doing something to try and transform the neighborhood to make it more unusual, and a little more spooky," he told Xinhua.

He never guessed the endeavor would balloon into one of the most famous Halloween events in Vancouver.

Since it's inception the Dunbar Haunted House, named after the house's location on Dunbar Street, has grown from a few rooms to a full-blown maze of terror.

Now featuring fourteen themed rooms and over 100 volunteer actors, the house has attracted over 100,000 visitors over the last six years. It opens every day from October 15 to 31, greeting line-ups snaking around the block of anywhere from 700 to 1600 guests per day.

This year's theme, Terror of History, winds guests through bone-chilling scenes from centuries past. Starting in ancient Egypt and Rome where Pharaohs, mummies and Roman soldiers come to life, guests run screaming into a medieval chapel of zombie monks, through Hell, Limbo, and emerge to find mutilated knights of the round table in the Renaissance.

Past the Spanish Inquisition, where red-caped colonialists drag a hook-nosed witch to be burned at the stake, a witch's lair is soaked in the blood and seething guts of mutilated animals hanging grotesquely from the ceiling. At any given moment as guests creep through, a creature trapped in a bloody burlap sack writhes, erupting into deafening screams.

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