Haunted houses are pretty standard fare for Halloween, but Eerie Acres in East Sooke is trying to change that with a unique tour that takes the would-be spooked into a house, the woods, and even a graveyard complete with creatures every step of the way.
In its sixth year, founder Lindsay Trowell said it gets bigger and better every year.
“It’s only really been three years that we’ve done a big haunt. Prior, it was just a room in our house.”
Starting with 50 kids the first year, it’s doubled in size every year. Last year, in the rain, 400 kids from as far as Sidney and James Bay showed up in a six hour period.
Situated on a one-acre property near the East Sooke Fire Hall and running Saturday, Sunday and Monday night from 6 until 10 p.m., there’s something for everybody. Trowell was tight-lipped about the specifics, wanting it to remain a surprise, but said this year they added two more stations including something she called a “vortex.”
There are “bailout areas” along the 15-minute route if the animated props or character actors get too spooky for some, and there is a less-intensive path for younger children and moms.
On a scale of one to 10, Trowell gave the scariness rating a 7, saying it’s comparable with the popular Galey Farms in Victoria.
“I’ve had five year olds through and I’ve had 85 year olds through”
She said It really depends on how easily guests are frightened, adding “I’ve had some moms come up to me and say ‘I think I just peed a little.’”
The whole project is volunteer run, and Trowell — who organizes the entire event along with her stepson Quinn and husband Parry — said they can always use more volunteers to assume the role of some type of monster or member of the undead. Volunteers also guide guests along the tour with a flashlight.
Trowell, originally from Metchosin before moving to their East Sooke haunted home, has loved horror movies since she was 10- years-old and experienced the Nightmare on Elm Street and Jason franchises for the first time. She was also involved in her school drama club where she learned to create things like zombie masks and imitation wounds.
“I love Halloween makeup, 3-D gore, I’ve always done my own props before and made my own things out of latex.”
Many of the props are homemade, that started with the graveyard. A few years ago, she put on a halloween dance fundraiser for a a sick friend that provided the inspiration for Eerie Acres. Now, all the money from the by-donation event goes toward a local family in need. Last year, they gave proceeds to a family without insurance who had their house burnt down. Any food donations go towards the food bank.
“I don’t think there’s enough free things for families to do nowadays. I wanted something affordable that any family can participate in,” she said.
Eerie Acres is located at 1468 Woodcock Rd. in East Sooke. There will be skeleton hands leading the way starting from Gillespie Road off of Highway 14. For more information, or to volunteer, call Lindsay at 250-642-1539.