Local haunted house less busy despite increased safety precautions

By Joel Larson

Six Pines Haunted Attractions isn’t hearing as many screams this season, according to James Thevenot, who runs the attraction with his wife, Judy. 

Six Pines Farms has been spooking Manitobans with their haunted houses for 23 years.

This year, Six Pines Haunted Attractions is using timed ticketing to distance different groups, but some say the fear factor is still there.

A clown poses inside the Ghoul Flashlight Haunted Experience, a kid-friendly attraction at Six Pines Haunted Attractions./Six Pines Haunted Attractions

Kati Budgell, who’s been going to Six Pines Haunted Attractions for the last seven years, thought this year was the most frightening yet.

“I thought they did a 10/10 job,” said Budgell in a message.

Thevenot said the difference in the number of guests this year is huge, despite positive feedback from guests.

“There’s a lot less [guests],” said Thevenot. “We’re just hoping to break even.”

The business normally has hayrides and a petting zoo, but this year only has haunted attractions open. Thevenot said they typically host a variety of age groups from kids to grandparents, but this year it’s mainly the younger crowd coming out.  

He thinks the fear of getting sick is keeping people away, despite the changes to make the event safer.

“A lot of people are scared to come out. We were getting zero kids,” said Thevenot.

Terror on 12, a haunted house just south of Anola, decided not to open at all this year. A post on their Facebook page states, “the safety and well-being of our guests and staff is always the top priority,” and “we don’t feel it’s the right time to open our type of high intensity- interactive entertainment.”

Thevenot said he and his wife contemplated not opening but ultimately decided Six Pines Haunted Attractions could be both safe and scary.

The changes to Six Pines Haunted Attractions go above and beyond provincial requirements, said Thevenot. Along with mandatory masks and distancing between groups, they’re providing gloves to guests and have a person taking everyone’s temperature before they can enter.     

Thevenot said they’ve also rebuilt their entire set-up. Instead of having three separate haunts, they’ve combined them into one big walk-through to prevent different groups from coming into contact.

With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, Thevenot said he hopes the new restrictions for the Winnipeg area won’t deter people further.