Phantoms and freaks spook students at Halloween Haunt


The rails rattle under the weight of zooming rollercoasters, and hearts pound as the ride reaches terrifying heights. But for those seeking that extra shot of adrenaline, Canada’s Wonderland is currently hosting its annual Halloween Haunt.

“We’re really excited about this event,” said Dineen Beaven, public relations manager for Canada’s Wonderland. “Every year the park really changes. The atmosphere changes and turns from our regular, family-friendly environment into this spooky playground of terror.”

For the first time since it’s been open, Canada’s Wonderland allowed students to take part in a special College and University Media Night.

Last Sunday, students who participated were given a VIP pass and the opportunity to explore backstage areas. Going behind the scenes, one was able to witness how much work goes into constructing the Halloween Haunt and its events.

“Halloween Haunt is the event for college and university students,” said Beaven. “The media night is not something we’ve done in the past, and I think the light bulb went off. Let’s get these guys out here to experience the event and tell their peers about it.”

The VIP pass allowed students to witness crowds of actors being turned into monsters as they put on latex masks and slipped into their costumes. There were also special tours of select mazes where students were treated to an inside look of each set.

According to Beaven, the college and university media night is something the amusement park plans to continue in following years. This will allow students to have an inside look and tell their peers about the newest additions to Halloween Haunt.

Every year, the event introduces two to three new mazes in place of older ones.

“With our new mazes we want to make the best experiences for our guests,” said Danusia Rogacki, area manager and event services. “We started building in June, and actually finished construction on it and the art direction just a couple days ago.”

The new mazes introduced this year are: The Ruins, an early 19th century archeology site populated with lurking monsters; Sci-Fi House, a black-and-white home inhabited by aliens; and Louisiana Scream, a bayou haunted by twisted people whispering twisted things.

“Every time we hear about someone who pees themselves in one of our mazes, it’s like, ‘Okay, we did our job,’” said Rogacki. “It’s kind of a running joke with staffers.”

To put all this together, Rogacki has a main production team of 35 to 40 members, and an additional 20 who join in September to assist with construction.

“A lot of the paints and prop team are students right out of Humber, Sheridan and Ryerson,” said Rogacki. “The first team that starts anything is the paints and prop team, and they start building in the spring.”

Another important piece of bringing Halloween Haunt to life is the costuming and makeup.

“We mold our own masks here,” said Alex Mancini, costume designer. “We make 80 new costumes a year for the new mazes, and then another 20 to replace costumes for the old ones. There are least 500 monsters that come through here.”

The production team takes great pride in the fact that almost 100 per cent of the props and costumes are built in-house.

Other attractions include the brand-new Mysterion the Mind Reader, a live show where an animated psychic reads the minds of the unsuspecting audience, in addition to old favourites, such as the Cornstalkers maze and Skeleton Crew show complete with acrobats and aerialists.

Halloween Haunt is designed to frighten, and is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night in October from 7 p.m. to midnight.

For information on tickets and other events taking place, visit

One Response to Phantoms and freaks spook students at Halloween Haunt