Deadmonton Haunted House promises thrills, chills and plenty of screaming
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Firefighters don’t scare easily. They run into burning buildings, not quite sure of all the dangers they face. Perhaps that is what makes Ryan Kozar a mastermind when it comes to creating the ultimate haunted house.
A firefighter by day, Kozar helps keep the city safe. But for the past year, he’s been spending nearly all his free time creating the Deadmonton Haunted House to make thrill-seekers feel anything but safe. “I came across a website of a haunted house in Vancouver. The gentleman had been doing it for 10 years and he was in the theatre industry,” explains Kozar of his inspiration to transform a downtown warehouse into a terrifying maze.
“What he had done was so inspirational. It grew from his house to this commercial haunt with over 200 volunteers participating. As soon as I saw what he did and how he developed the scenes, I fell in love with the idea. I started doing research and realized there isn’t really anything here for adults at Halloween. It’s either young kids or going out to party.”
Like a mad scientist, Kozar has been blissfully obsessed with bringing his creation to life over the past year. He started by purchasing props right after last Halloween and, by February, he was constructing the maze. “For me, what is intriguing is the set design. I get involved in the detail. My place is a haunted farm scene. I love bringing the fantasy aspect to life.”
From Oct. 3 to 31, those looking for a thrill can visit the Deadmonton Haunted House from Thursdays to Saturdays. All proceeds from tomorrow’s opening night will go to the Firefighters Burn Treatment Society, a charity managed and supported by firefighters to raise funds and awareness for research, treatment and recovery from burn injuries. Firefighters will also be on hand selling merchandise to support the cause.
“We aren’t really doing this for a profit. I just wanted to do a cool community event,” Kozar says. “I just want people coming out of the haunt screaming, laughing, and maybe even crying, and for them to say, 'That was awesome.'”
• The Deadmonton Haunted House runs Oct. 3 to 31 at 10505 106 St.
• It’s recommended for ages 12 and up.
• Admission ranges from $10 to $20, depending on the night.
• Tickets are available at deadmontonhouse.com.