When Macarthy Whyzel was just a kid, he and his brother, Riley, were so enthralled by the haunted house display their next door neighbour built every Halloween, they'd draw pictures of it and tape them to the front windows of their own house as their display.
Now a 23-year-old Douglas College student, Whyzel is bringing the horrors of his imagination to life with an elaborate collection of six frightening rooms that visitors will be able walk through beginning Sunday, Oct. 1.
His effort is a fundraiser for Backpack Buddies that provides meals for kids in School District 43 (SD43) who may be coping with food insecurity.
Whyzel said he started ramping up his Halloween decorations and turning the front yard of his family's home into a dystopian destination five years ago, adding new elements he puts together from off-season and moving sales as well as scraps he's able to collect like wooden pallets he's painted and transformed into walls and halls.
The work for planning and constructing the display begins in August and by the time Whyzel's flipped the switch for the lights and dozens of animatronic ghouls that bring it to life, he figures he’s invested more than 100 hours.
"It’s fun translating Halloween into donations to charity, which is the whole point," Whyzel said, adding last year's display collected just under $2,000 for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
Helping the community is a major motivator, Whyzel said. In fact, he's planning to go into policing after he's finished school.
"I have always felt a calling towards public service."
The six themed rooms that comprise this year’s display are:
- evil clowns
- creepy cabin
- demented dolls
- scary scarecrows
- medical malfeasance
The display runs every night from 6 to 9:30 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on weekends. But it really gets scary on Halloween night when Whyzel enlists family members and kids from the neighbourhood as live actors to raise the fear factor.
Whyzel admits he probably gets just as much enjoyment watching visitors react to the jump scares.
"It's really neat to see people enjoying it."
Whyzel's haunted yard is located at 2968 Forestridge Pl. in Coquitlam.
If you have decorated your home for Halloween, let us know about it. 🎃
Send us all the details — including times and location — and whether you're supporting a charitable cause so we can put together a map of all the frightening destinations in the Tri-Cities. Photos required (jpg preferred).